For the past few years, Lauren and I haven't consistently done much science. It's not that I don't value science; it's just that science usually needed my help and my time was often limited after I finished working with her on math, reading, spelling, and so on.
I have used science materials from Apologia Educational Ministries before, and I was excited to use Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition with Lauren. Our package of science goodies included the hardcover textbook (216 pages), two softcover notebooking journals (each 336 pages), and a CD containing an audio version of the text. The regular notebooking journal is intended for upper elementary grades (3rd-6th) and the junior notebooking journal is for beginning writers.
The first thing I noticed was the daily assignments in the Notebooking Journal. The Exploring Creation with Astronomy textbook is organized into fourteen separate lessons, but each lesson is intended to be studied over the course of several days. The daily assignments helped me figure out logical stopping points in the materials and helped me divide the activities into reasonable sized chunks.
The textbook is written to the student, but it helped Lauren if I read it to her, slowing down to further explain concepts as needed. Some of the astronomy concepts were a little abstract, but I found that Apologia does a good job of explaining them. For instance, when talking about the enormous size of the sun, Lauren and I did a short activity showing that large objects far away (in our case, Pike's Peak) can appear as small as a nearby object (her thumb). When talking about the size of the sun in relation to the earth, we looked at a basketball and a peppercorn. On another day, we borrowed Tim when he was home for a lunch break and acted out the way that earth revolves on its axis while at the same time it rotates around the sun.
Our daily assignments usually include some reading from the textbook and some activities to complete in the notebook. Instead of just listening to the materials, Lauren records the information in ways that she can remember. I've noticed a crossword puzzle at the end of each lesson to review the new vocabulary, scripture pages for copywork, and coloring pages (in the junior notebooking journal). The new information in the lessons is reviewed in various ways with activities that Lauren cuts out and pastes into her notebooking journal (similar activities to those found in various lapbooks we've done in the past).
Lauren and I spend roughly thirty minutes each day working through the materials, and according to the daily assignments, these materials will take approximately 70 days to complete. This course could be used over the course of a semester by working four times per week. It looks like it'll work better for our family to do our science study roughly every third school day, spreading it out over the whole year. (It will rotate with two other mom-intensive subjects).
The Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition textbook costs $39, the Notebooking Journal (either level) $27, and the audio CD version of the textbook $29. Apologia also offers an Astronomy Science kit with materials to complete 63 hands-on activities.
If you'd like to read more reviews of Apologia Astronomy, simply click on the button below. If you are interested in other elementary science materials, I've previously reviewed Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology and Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.
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