2.09.2013

TOS Review - Apologia

What is it?

Apologia is a well known name around the homeschool community.  They offer a huge selection of great science curriculum.  Rather then jumping between different science topics, Apologia is an emersion type program where students spend an entire school year learning about one science topic.

For this review, we were sent the second book in the Zoology series, Swimming Creatures.

We were sent a hardcover textbook as well as the Junior Notebook that goes along with the textbook.  The text covers all types of ocean creatures, has tons of hands on experiments, and amazing pictures.  We were also given access to online audio files and videos to see the creatures we are learning about in the wild.

How we used it:

Coloring in her Junior Notebook

I was so excited to dive into (pun intended) this review!  I love science and love teaching science.  In fact, I love it so much that I tend to jump all over the place in what I'm teaching.  Apologia Swimming Creatures gave me a great focus that worked very well for us.

We did Apologia Swimming Creatures two days a week.  It was a lot of reading in each unit so I stretched the lessons out longer than the two weeks the book recommended.  Josie did the coloring pages while I read and I just made sure to ask a lot of questions to make sure she was still paying attention.


We took a weekend trip to the beach a couple of weeks after we started Swimming Creatures and Andrew was totally impressed as Josie rattled off why the tides changed and knew where to look for crabs.  I guess she was listening to me read!

A lot of the material in the book was just way over Josie's head.  She's not quite ready for the in depth investigation of the ocean and all it's creatures.  However, this doesn't mean we aren't learning a ton!  I just skimmed over the sections that she wasn't interested in and we will go back to them in future years. We are focusing on the animal facts and vocabulary and it is working great for us.

This curriculum is made to be used with one student or an entire family.  I think that we will use this book again in a few years when Gabe is ready and Josie can move up to the regular notebooking journal.

Try This! Ocean Currents

I had big hopes for the Junior Notebook, but it was still a little too much for Josie.

She is on the very young side for this curriculum.  If she had a little more independent writing under her belt I think we would have gotten more use out of the notebook.  She did love the coloring pages and was able to narrate a lot of facts for her notebook and I just did the writing.  I did love the experiment documentation pages and she enjoyed the pages where she had to draw the animals.

Try This! Salt Water vs. Fresh Water Freezing Expeiment

We've been doing the Try This! experiments for each unit and they are a huge hit.

Anytime we can get our hands on science, we have a great time.  The experiments have been easy to do and really awesome at giving a visual to what we are reading about.  So far they have only required basic home items.  Josie is retaining what we are reading and I attribute a huge part of that to the experiments we are doing.  These experiments were also a great incentive for Josie to finish her journaling and reading work.

So far we have covered currents, tides, whales and dolphins.  Next week we are jumping in to a new unit on seals and manatees!

Painting her Ocean Box that we will fill up over the year

My Opinion:

I really enjoy Apologia Swimming Creatures and the Junior Notebook.  We will for sure continue this program.  I love that I can break it up to go as slow or as quick as Josie's interest allows without feeling like we are getting off schedule.  I also love that we can learn about other creatures by using the other volumes that use the same format.

The book and notebook are a great quality.  The paper quality is great and the photos are awesome.

I have heard a few people say that their kids start to burn out on learning the same topic for a whole year so I'm already planning to sprinkle in some art and, of course, a trip or two to the beach to get some hands on learning.  We will use this in tandem with our other science program as well.  I know that we will continue to love this.

This program would easily last an entire year and can be used for multiple students, making the price very reasonable.  A few minor adjustments, along with the option for the more advanced notebooking journal make this a very family friendly science program.  

Product Details:
Apologia Swimming Creatures - $39.00
Apologia Swimming Creatures Junior Notebook - $24.00
Click Here To Purchase

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Disclaimer:  I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I love this review because it's so helpful! I've been working hard to put together our literature unit to go alongside Apologia Zoology Land Animals that I hope to start next month. I keep wondering though if it's too much for my kindergartner. I was planning to get her the jr. Notebook and my second and third graders the regular notbook. What do you think? Would the jr be better for them?

Under the Sky said...

Wonderful review with solid information and lots of gorgeous photos. Your daughter is just beautiful! Thanks SO much!

Warmly,
Kate