From time to time I will review the curriculum we are using or host reviews of other curriculum to help those that are looking for the right fit. I truly believe that there are many great programs out there and that not every program will work for every family. In writing these reviews I hope to give you more information in which to make informed decisions about what may or may not work for your family.
In our first year of homeschooling I tried out several different science programs that just were not working for our family. My son is very interested in science and the programs we tried were too basic to meet his interest level. So I started finding various resources and piecing things together. This can be a very effective method but it does take more time and planning on the part of the parent. During this process we were studying the solar system and a family member mentioned the Apologia Exploring Creation With Astronomy book and offered to let us borrow her copy. I was very hesitant about the overall concept of one subject per year but more than willing to use it as a resource during what I planned as a one month study of the solar system.
Instead of a month we spent the rest of our school year (we started in January so basically a semester) using the Apologia book to study the solar system. I couldn’t believe how much they were learning and how well it worked to dig so deep into the same subject rather than covering many different subjects. We did not finish the entire book (that is a lot of material for a first grader to cover in a semester) but my son knew more than planned about the solar system and even the four year old picked up information from listening to us read.
That experience changed our course for science. After a bit more research and prayer and a long talk with my husband we switched our science over to Apologia. Each year after that we have taken one of the elementary level books from that series and covered it together as a family. We have done botany, all three zoology books, and are currently working through Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. The series is based on the days of creation and goes through and studies each topic in-depth. It is a creation based approach to science and ties everything back to the Creator which was a big positive in our experience. I also really appreciated that while it gave credit to God it didn’t short change the amount of science and information that was provided. It was very in-depth and thorough.
Each lesson includes “try this” activities which are like small quick hands on activities or experiments. There is also a larger experiment or two at the end of each lesson. A lesson equates to a chapter and takes our family about two weeks to complete. There are narration questions and breaks which tie-in nicely with our Charlotte Mason leanings. It is written in a much more living book style than a regular text book.
In addition to the text book they offer Notebooking Journals and Junior Notebooking Journals. These give the students some questions, copywork, lapbook style activities, and other potential hands on activities to go with each lesson. They also have templates for taking notes which helps them develop that skill (especially in the Notebooking Journal). In addition, there is a list of additional books, videos and other resources to accompany each chapter. I love that it is easy to adapt. My daughter loves the lapbooking style projects but my son does not. However, since the information is in their in several ways I just assign them the pages that work best for them. When they were younger we even shared a journal with each of them doing half the pages.
We are just finishing up lesson two in our current book but are already enjoying the experiments. Chemistry and physics do lend themselves to even more hands-on activities than some of the other topics. We have done experiments involving freezing various liquids, making a “lava lamp” with oil and vinegar, trying to separate and rejoin water droplets, and several others. They made a terrarium last week with a plant to demonstrate the water cycle. I’ve included a few pictures from some of the activities we have done over the past couple of years.
Overall, we really love the Christ focused nature of the curriculum, the in depth study, and the variety of hands on activities. We also enjoy being able to do science together as a family and not a different curriculum for each child and my children frequently ask the question from the title of this post. It isn’t something the “have to do” but rather something they enjoy.
I know that not every family wants to delve so deeply into science in the early years. Maybe you have students who are not as interested or maybe you just want to supplement what you are already learning about. You might even use Apologia but want to add some other things to go with it. I have been looking over the science classes offered by Schoolhouse Teachers and I’m amazed at the variety of things that are offered. There are several that I think my children might like to do on their own as electives just for fun.
While my youngest loves our science experiment most of the information in our current curriculum is above his comprehension (he is only 3) but he loves to learn. So I’m looking at adding this course to our calendar in January as something fun for me to do with him. Small World Sensory Science sounds like just the fun and hands on type of program that he would enjoy. I have done some things with him, but I find that we are better about getting it done when it is all laid out and ready to go. Sensory bins and objects are a big hit with that age and should be great fun. They also work well to keep him occupied while I work with the older children on schoolwork.
A World of Animals is one of the ones that I want to show my older children. They have loved our studies of animals (including three Apologia zoology books) and are always wanted to learn more. I particularly like that this program includes sections on taking care of those animals which are potential pets. While we have all the animals I can handle at the moment (bees, chickens, ducks, turkeys, a cat, and a fish) they are always on the lookout for new pet ideas.
I would love to hear what science program is working for your family and why you love it! I’m also happy to answer questions you might have about what we do for science.
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
Our study of Sally Clarkson’s new book The Lifegiving Table started this week and we would love to have you join us.
Not Consumed is having a great sale on their hymn studies. These are great ways to includes holidays and seasons into your studies while also focusing on God. We have used them in the past and really enjoyed them. Her missionary study (which we are using this year) is also on sale right now.
There is also a sale going on over at You Are an Artist. Everything is 25% off for Columbus Day through October 15th.
This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.
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