We had the chance to review Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics from Apologia Educational Ministries. We received one Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal for each of our older two children (ages 5 and 7) who are both doing First Grade work at this time.
Because we have previous experience with another subject in their homeschool science curriculum from our review earlier in the year, I already knew there were many things we enjoyed about it. We always lean more toward faith-based curriculum, and my goal is to not only have “Bible time” as a subject we cover during the day, but rather something that is intertwined into ALL of our day. So I always appreciate curriculum that is faith-based and includes scripture and is centered around God.
I was particularly excited about Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics because I have always enjoyed Chemistry and Physics. Knowing how our kids are tactile learnings and are very hands on, I knew they would, too! However, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a faith-based curriculum on this subject, and this one really delivered!
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for grades K-6th. The textbook starts at the very beginning – God created the world. It branched out then to explain how everything was created by God – including everything we would be learning in Chemistry and Physics! It starts with the very basics of Matter and progresses from there. As I mentioned, I appreciated the scripture and Biblical references, and even I saw things in a new way I never thought of before!
I was in awe of all the information in the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook and a little intimidated by all the experiments! After looking everything over to familiarize myself with the experiments ahead of time so I could make sure we had the materials, it really wasn’t that intimidating anymore. Many of the items used can be found around your home! The introduction in the textbook breaks down what to expect from this curriculum, how to get the most out of it, helpful resources, and how to use the book in a step-by-step guide. It does also provide a supply list at the end of the book, so if you really like to plan ahead, you have the whole list in front of you! I, personally, found planning two weeks at a time worked well for us, but that will definitely vary. One point that is often reiterated is to do what works best for your family – even if that means it’s a little different than what is recommended.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics has a lot of hands on experiments, which I found to be great for our younger kids with shorter attention spans. Although there is still a fair amount of narration on my part, reiterating it with a hands-on experiment really helped to make the lesson “stick.” In fact, they found the lessons to be quite fun! Our preschooler even insisted on joining in on some of our experiments with their particular favorite (so far) being loading treasure onto our pirate ship! There have been many other experiments that I, personally, thought were more exciting, but they really loved trying to guess how much treasure the ship would carry and challenging each other!
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics text book can be purchased for $39.00.
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal provides a recommended schedule at the beginning, which I tore out to have it on hand. It divides each Lesson into 4 days and recommends doing a lesson two days per week. Of course, it does mention that this is just the recommended schedule, and you can definitely tailor it to work on it more or less often as well if needed. We actually broke each lesson in half, and I would just find a spot in the lesson that had a “natural break” and mark that on the lesson sheet. We would then do four lessons per week, but we were still doing the same amount of work that is recommended in two lessons. Although we do love the hands on experiments I did find with our children’s special needs, it was a bit too much information and experiences to process at one time, so it is better for us to break it down a little more.
The Junior Notebooking Journal is an optional component, and you can make your own notebook, but I find it just fits so well with the lessons that it is something I would personally choose regardless. It also provides a few extra activities as well to compliment the lessons. The Junior Notebooking Journal not only adds to the educational experience of the lessons, but it also is a great way to help them remember what they have learned by documenting their favorite or most memorable parts of the lessons. They each have me write down something different and draw different pictures, which is so unique. Because they are still young and not yet reading, I would have them tell me what they wanted to say, and I would write it for them. There was also an exercise in the first lesson that asked for writing a story, but I had them draw a picture of it instead. I love how you can make it uniquely yours while still getting everything out of the lesson!
The kids have really enjoyed the lessons and working in the Junior Notebooking Journal. There have been no complaints! All of the extra activities in the Junior Notebooking Journal like the crossword puzzles, Miniature Flap Books, Match-Ups, and more have been well received.
A Regular Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal is also available for older children and those that have mastered writing. Both Notebooking Journals can be purchased for $24.00.
Overall, I am very grateful to have a Chemistry and Physics curriculum that is full of great information, hands-on projects, and centered on God.
For more reviews on Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics including some families that used the regular Notebooking Journal (or even both!) check out all the reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking on the button below!
Apologia Zoology 2 Review
I have heard so many positive reviews for Apologia Educational Ministries that I was extremely excited to have the chance to review Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. In fact, I’m not sure who was more excited: the kids or me! We also had the opportunity to document our experiences in the Junior Notebooking Journal, which is designed especially for the younger learners like our two first graders. The Junior Notebook is also recommended for older learners that may not have mastered writing skills or have developmental delays.
When I first received the text book I was amazed at the wealth of information provided. At first, it was almost overwhelming at the thought of all the information and knowing with our kids’ special needs they have a hard time focusing. Luckily, they provide a recommended schedule (which can be found in the beginning of the Junior Notebooking Journal) that divides each Lesson into 4 days. So by their recommended schedule we worked on the curriculum twice a week, which means you complete one lesson every two weeks. This is just the recommended schedule per the Junior Notebooking Journal, so you could definitely tailor it to work on it more often as well. This schedule worked out very well for us given our kids’ short attention spans. With their developmental delays (one is on the Autism Spectrum and the other has Sensory Processing Disorder) they take information much better in short spurts, and it helps them retain it better, so this break up of the material was perfect. There were still times when reading from the text that I had to paraphrase in order to keep their attention but because it was a subject they want to learn about it, it really helped to keep them attentive. They were really surprised at the things they were learning about the sea creatures, and how there is so much more than they imagined. I really appreciated the Biblical references for the creatures of the Fifth Day as well. There were also a wonderful amount of hands on activities to really enforce what we learned in the text. I love how we were able to us personal experiences to reinforce lessons as well such as when we go fishing! The kids really enjoyed making hypothesis and then discovering the results of our experiments. It was great that many of the hands on experiments use products you generally have at home anyway. Just in case, though, the beginning of the Text Book thoroughly covers what to expect from this curriculum, how to use the book in a step-by-step guide, and items needed to complete each lesson. They definitely didn’t leave anything out! They have gracious provided a sample of Lesson 2 so you can see a lesson before making a decision. The Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day can be purchased for $39.
The Junior Notebooking Journal complemented the lessons very well, and we used it regularly. You can make your own notebook, but I appreciated the layout and ease of this Notebooking Journal because it flows so well with the lessons. Because there are a lot of activities I opted to have our children share the notebook and divide the work evenly, which worked out really well! I found it was divided perfectly for this, and it really helped both of them to not feel overwhelmed. I loved when we would go to the Junior Notebooking Journal because that is where I would discover what they had been learning, and it was so neat to me that they would both soak in different things that would be their “favorite” part of the lessons. They would each draw different pictures and write about something different, though sometimes they chose the same thing. Because they cannot write on their own yet I would ask them what they would want to say to remember what they learned, which I would then write on a separate piece of paper and have them write it in the notebook. Certain lines were smaller, so I would fill in their answers myself on those lines because they do both have motor skill delays with writing, so writing in smaller spaces can be very difficult. In the Junior Notebooking Journal they answered questions about what they had learned, drew pictures about what they had learned, colored pictures, made puzzle pockets and mini books, and copied Bible Verses. The Bible Verses were offered in both print and cursive, but because they haven’t learned cursive they would both copy the print verse. It really was full of great activities. For more check out the Junior Notebooking Journal Sample. They also have a Regular Notebooking Journal for older children and those that have mastered writing. Here is a Notebooking Journal Sample. Both Notebooking Journals can be purchased for $24.
Overall, we really enjoy Apologia Zoology 2, and it has been a great addition to our homeschooling. It is well written, full of great information, and has a great guideline for teaching. It offers plenty of hands on activities to really help the lessons sink in. I also love that this curriculum can be used for the wide range of Elementary students: grades K-6! For more reviews on Zoology 2 as well as other great Apologia Elementary Science Programs check out all the Reviews from the Review Crew Below!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family and may be different than yours. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. Please refer to my Disclosure Policy for more information.