Learning About Astronomy With the New Edition of Apologia's Exploring Creation With Astronomy (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)
We are long time users of science courses from Apologia Educational Ministries. From the time my oldest two children were little, we used the Exploring Creation series, and, as they've grown, my oldest children are continuing to use the high school science curricula. One of the books I went through with my oldest two years ago was the astronomy curriculum. Apologia has a brand new edition for that, and we've been excitedly reviewing Exploring Creation With Astronomy, 2nd Edition.
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The ResourcesWe received a set of the resources used with the astronomy curriculum.
There is also an Astronomy Science Kit available for purchase. We didn't receive the kit. The kit contains 63 total activities- 42 from the activities already in the textbook and 21 additional activities. The schedule references the activities in the science kit as well as the activities only in the book.
Another resources suggested in the front of the student text is Apologia's Field Trip Journal. We had the opportunity to review this last year, and it would be a fun way to record any astronomy related field trips that you took throughout the year.
About Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia is a popular curricula resource for many homeschool families. With science curricula that is written from a distinctly Christian worldview, along with Bible and worldview course, language arts resources, geography and history resources, preschool resources, and homeschool support resources, there are many things that Apologia offers. As I said before, we've loved their science curricula for years. We've used many of the elementary books, and my high school students have used several of the high school courses as well. We've also had the opportunity to review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia.
Exploring Creation With Astronomy
The Exploring Creation With Astronomy, 2nd Edition is a multi-age curriculum for elementary aged students. The book begins with an introduction to astronomy and then, beginning at the sun and moving outward, explores the sun, each planet, astroids, dwarf planets, and the stars and galaxies. The book is broken up into short segments with photos, illustrations, and activities included. Throughout the book there are "think about this" sections that make connections between the Bible and science and that give Scripture verses to read. Each chapter begins with a "wisdom from above" section that introduces the chapter and includes Scripture.
The student book could probably be read aloud fairly easily by older elementary students. I have been using the book with Ashlyne who is 12 and Rachel who is 11. I choose to read the sections aloud because we're doing it together (and because I love to read aloud.) If you have a student who can't read the book independently, you could also use the audiobook CD. This CD contains the entire book broken up into mp3 sections read aloud by the author. This is a nice resource to have, but, for my girls- who are older- the audiobook voice seems to be read in a style that seems to be directed to little people.
One thing that my girls have always enjoyed about the Apologia books are the notebooking journals. There is a notebooking journal for 3rd or 4th graders and up and a jr. notebooking journal for younger students. The notebooking journals are very similar. For the purpose of our review Ashlyne, my 12 year old, used the regular journal, and Rachel, who just turned 11, used the jr. journal. The journals are so similar that it really didn't matter that one was supposed to be "younger."
Both journals include a schedule in the front to let you know which book sections and activities- from the book, from the optional science kit, and from the journal- to complete for the day. We typically do science two-three times a week, so I would just follow the day's lesson each time. I like the flexibility of having what needs to be covered in a day without holding me to certain days of each week.
Both journals have sections for recording facts as we read. These sections are identical in the two different journals. Both have copywork with a choice for print or cursive. The jr. journal has bigger lines for copywork, including the dotted line in the middle.
Both journals have mini book activities that are completed and glued on to the appropriate pages in the journal.
Both journals have activities such as crossword puzzles. The activities are adapted in the jr. journal, such as this crossword that gave some letter clues in Rachel's jr. journal.
Both journals also have a place to record what happened when different activities were completed. Both have scrapbooking pages to use as each of the planets is studied. And the jr. journal has coloring pages.
When we very first began using Apologia years ago, we didn't have the notebooking journals. As soon as they began to be available- with the elementary curricula and then with the high school curricula, I began getting them. I think that having the notebook to record facts, to do reviews, to record activities...helps the kids to be more active learners. They aren't just passively listening to the lesson or reading the lesson for themselves. They're actually doing something with that information.
One thing I've always appreciated about the Apologia science books is all of the hands-on activities that are included. Throughout this book, there are activities. Many of them only need simple materials that you already have on hand.
One of the activities that we did was to make craters. We had been reading about how astroids make huge craters on Mercury because there is no atmosphere to protect the planet. We used a pan of flour and rocks to see how craters are formed. Even though my girls are getting older, they love these hands-on activities. And doing these helps them to make connections and retain information more than just reading through a book.
The Pros and Cons
Once again, I really enjoy using Apologia's science curricula. I love having the notebooking journals. I love the hands-on activities. I love that this curriculum is science from a distinctly Christian worldview. And I love that the kids are learning that science supports what the Bible says about God and His creation.
The girls have been enjoying this curriculum. Astronomy is a fun topic. They like the notebooking journals where they can take notes or do something active while I'm reading. They like the activities we've done because they enjoy the hands-on aspect of science.
My only negative has been this: I think that this edition has more of a textbook feel than some of the Apologia books. Often when using the Apologia books, I don't feel like I'm reading a textbook because the material is interesting and isn't written like facts just watered down and given to kids as in many textbooks. This book reads a little more like a textbook. It doesn't seem to bother the girls at all, so it hasn't been a big deal. I, personally, have just missed some of the language and sentence structure that I've enjoyed in other Apologia books.
All in all, we've once again been enjoying science with Apologia. We're continuing on with astronomy throughout the year.
Other Review Crew members have been using the astronomy curriculum as well. Click the banner to see what they've thought.
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Learning About Astronomy With the New Edition of Apologia's Exploring Creation With Astronomy (A Schoolhouse Crew Review) Reviewed by Leah Courtney on 8:19:00 AM Rating: