Apologia: Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics {Review}

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Whether you are a veteran homeschooler, a newbie, or somewhere in between, you probably have noticed that there are a few "big name" curriculum companies that people usually rave about.  In my experience, it's almost a given that  Apologia Educational Ministries will be one of the companies mentioned. Apologia Educational Ministries offers Creation-based Science curriculum for homeschool families.
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Apologia Educational Ministries offers homeschool science resources for students in K-12 Grade.  As part of the SchoolHouse Review Crew, we had the wonderful opportunity to use the newly released Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics science curriculum textbook and corresponding Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal  with my 6 year old son.  Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is part of Apologia's Young Explorer Series.  Both resources can be purchased through Apologia's website; the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook is $39.00 and the Jr. Notebooking Journal we received is $24.00.
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The heart of Apologia's ministry is to provide homeschool science curriculum that honors God.  And, indeed it does.  God is mentioned on the very first page of the textbook and is woven throughout each chapter.  As an introduction to matter, we are directed to remember what God said in Genesis 1:1 (ESV), " In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth." That means God created matter in the very beginning"  (emphasis mine).  Matter matters-- and God created it all.  
Exploring Amorphous Solids
Having been able to use this science curriculum for the past several weeks, I can now understand why Apologia is highly esteemed in the homeschool community.  I am not naturally "science minded," and chemistry and physics are definitely not my thing-- so while I was excited to use this set, I was also a bit apprehensive.  However, Apologia has made this science resource very user friendly and easy to understand.  It also jived with my more Charlotte Mason approach to education;  I could definitely see the application of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy throughout the textbook-- short lessons, lively topics, and an abundance of Try This! activities to apply the concept we had just read about.

Although it is textbook-like, it is written to the reader as if author, Jeannie Fulbright, was sitting right with us.  You can sense her passion and enthusiasm for all things related to chemistry and physics while reading through each lesson.  She explained things in a very relateable way; for instance to explain the movement of atoms in solids, we were told atoms in a solid aren't very active-- like when we are sleeping; atoms in a liquid move a bit more-- like us moving around, yet confined to a certain space; and explains atoms in a gas like you being fully awake and being able to play outside where there is a lot of room to move around.
Exploring Density
There is a suggested schedule for you to use to plan out your studies, but Apologia notes that you should do what best fits your family.  For us, we took the readings very slowly and read maybe a paragraph or two at each sitting two to three times per week..  There is just so much information being shared and described that although had several "A-HA! moments, my son would get a bit lost.  
The book is broken up into 14 Lessons; some subjects covered are: Matter, Mixtures, Motion, Light, and Magnetism.  A supply list is given at the end of the text and uses items you likely already have on hand.  Each lesson ends with some "Final Thoughts," What Do You Remember" questions to ask, corresponding Notebooking Activities, and a Project or Experiment.   Our final project for Lesson 1 on Matter was to create a Lava Lamp! How fun!  I cannot say that it worked like the picture showed, but my son enjoyed gathering all the supplies and putting it together.  
Lava Lamp Project

Equally, my son loved all the Try This! activities we attempted and has flipped through the book exclaiming, "Wow! We have a lot of things to do!"  I love that this science curriculum has lit a spark in my son; I have enjoyed watching his enthusiasm and interest grow in this area of science that is totally out of my element. 
 Exploring Volume
Along with the textbook, we received the Jr. Notebooking Journal.  It is meant to be a place to showcase what your child has learned.  It is filled with coloring pages, fun activities like crossword puzzles, Scripture copywork, and templates to go along with the "What Do You Remember?" questions.  Although I liked having the opportunity to use this journal, my son definitely enjoyed doing the activities more than sharing what he learned; he's only 6, so I am okay with that.  Knowing our failed attempts to use notebooking journals with our other curriculum choices, it just seemed like more busywork and went by the way-side.  I could see the benefit if he were a couple years older and/ or using this alongside an older sibling, but the extra work wasn't necessary for us.  Actually, I would rather have just a coloring book with one sentence for copywork accompanying this curriculum for the  younger set and then take a few minutes after each reading to practice oral narration with the questions provided in the text.

Take a moment to check out what other Crew Members are saying!  It's the last review for 2013!!
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