Thursday, April 9, 2009

Exploring Creaton with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

I never felt the need to spend much time during elementary years studying science. Maybe it was the amount of necessary time spent conquering the basics and not wanting to keep my little kids in school all day, but I always had a gap in their education in regards to science lessons for my oldest kids before 7th grade. Our homeschool evolved however a few years ago as Apologia Educational Ministries began to release their elementary science series of books. Already familiar with the quality Apologia offers homeschoolers in the upper grades, I was anxious to purchase a title to start filling a long existing gap for our homeschool.

Once only offering high school level sciences, Apologia currently has 5 different elementary volumes all written by Jeannie Fulbright with the Charlotte Mason methodology of teaching in mind. Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 was the third elementary science text we have used in our homeschool having previous experience with Exploring Creation with Botany and Exploring Creation with Astronomy. All five of the elementary texts are written for students in grades 3-8, but filled with enough hands-on activities, notebooking ideas and colorful photographs to engage sibling students in lower grades.

Known as the Young Explorer Series in the Apologia catalog the texts are described aptly as, “…..wonderful books” which “use the classical and Charlotte Mason methodology to give elementary students an introduction to astronomy, botany, and zoology.” (Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 2009 catalog)

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day consists of 14 lessons covering topics from defining zoology to birds to bats to insects and bugs. Each lesson consists of text with defined vocabulary sprinkled throughout. All new vocabulary is highlighted alerting students to the new word. Sub topics within each lesson are set apart in the text with titles to help with lesson planning and keeping lessons short. Notebook assignments are included with each lesson as well as experiments and a scientific speculation sheet (lab report) designed to aid young scientists in recording their findings during lab time. At the conclusion of each lesson a “What do you remember?” section consisting of comprehension questions written in paragraph form to be used by the teacher encourages student with narration. There are no tests included with the texts as the creation of the notebook, lab experiments and discussion all provide parents plenty of information regarding student ability.

The texts are sold for $35.00 each and provide a rich homeschooling experience on their own. Apologia also offers a notebooking journal for Astronomy for $24.00 with plans to release a Botany journal in the summer of 2009.

I tested Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 with my 7 year old, 1st grade daughter, Sierra. When asked for her opinion she said, “I liked doing the activities, I mean crafts. I liked learning about new things like habitats, extinct animals, how birds can fly. I want to keep reading this to the end.”

I have used Botany and Astronomy with her older sister for 4/5th grade and 6th grade and found she retained knowledge in a much deeper way than her first grade sister. Although I read the text of Zoology 1 to Sierra her writing and reading skill level prevented her from being able to take full advantage of recording science experiments and doing most notebooking activities as described in the book. The beauty of these texts, however is that with a few adjustments we were able to read aloud the text, complete experiments together and change some notebooking activities to drawing activities. This enabled Sierra to retain aspects of everything read. I have not found any other text book over the years that provides the same flexibility and quality teaching of the Young Explorer Series.

Apologia Science offers homeschoolers of all ages quality science instruction and outstanding customer service and support. You can visit their website to shop on-line, order a catalog or simply find answers to all your homeschool science dilemmas. Apologia’s creation based science curriculum will help your homeschool evolve into higher learning like never before.

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