We are HUGE fans of Apologia Educational Ministries. We have used a number of different materials from them and every time it’s been an amazing experience and a big hit with my kids. My two boys not long ago took a real interest in astronomy and we even located a local observatory! So needless to say when I saw that Apologia had a new edition specific to astronomy, we were more than eager and excited to get the chance to do a review for it. And from the time Exploring Creation With Astronomy, 2nd Edition arrived we have had so much fun!
For this review we received the following resources for use with this program:
They also have an Astronomy Science Kit available for purchase; we did not get this for our review but I do wish we had obtained one for ourselves. This kit contains 63 activities (42 are activities already in the textbook; there are 21 additional activities). There is a daily schedule included too; as a suggestion, to help you work through this course. It’s totally flexible and includes all of the activities in this program and the kit too.
Exploring Creation With Astronomy, 2nd Edition is a multi-age curriculum recommended for elementary students. The ry first lesson is an introduction to astronomy and then, and then each lesson after teaches on other planets, galaxies, the sun and stars, space travel and lots of other fun things.
The lessons are all filled with amazing images; lots of fascinating facts, scripture copywork, mini books and other activities meant to encourage and inspire our kids to reflect on what they are learning and even to go beyond.
I personally enjoyed the section “think about this” as it is a great exercise for everyone and my oldest son especially. We have really been working on critical thinking skills. It is so important for our children to know things for themselves and not just because they read it in a book or were told it by mom. That said, I do so appreciate how throughout these lessons our children are encouraged to “explain astronomy” in your own words or “define gravity and the solar system”. This is so much more than just science; rather this whole program helps our children to see everything as it was created to be.
Every lesson comes with a bit of Wisdom from Above. We always enjoy reading this section of the textbook! Isn’t it amazing to read the Word of God and then see it for yourself? As something tangible and real and true. It brings so much more life to His word for our kids, helping them to see how powerful and wonderful God truly is, for themselves.
I was so very grateful for this MP3 Audio Book because my oldest son really struggles when it comes to reading. He just doesn’t like to read. So this was a great alternative for him; he could follow along in the textbook or some days he could just turn it on and listen while he built with legos or sketched a bit. There were days he would listen and work on a page in his note booking journal even. This is a complete recording, read by the author herself!
My oldest son is very creative; he has really developed quite a love for journalling and so he was so happy to have one that was just for this class. He really appreciated too, having a place where he could write notes; jot down little things that he wanted to remember. Or even things to research later on. He loved the projects: making your own compass, studying volcanos on Venus (my younger son made his own volcano after that one!) and learning how radar is used. These are things that every boy, I think, gets excited about. We haven’t made it to these lessons yet (we just completed lessons 1 and 2; starting on lesson 3) but we were all excited to see the many things we would get to do! I cannot say I have come across anything the far, that is this simple to use, and yet as engaging for both of my boys. And the materials that are used are simple things that we all have laying about the house (may take some digging to find in some cases but they are there…aha).
We also received a Junior Notebooking Journal which my younger son (who just turned 7) used, lightly, to get a taste of journalling for himself. Being pretty new still to reading and writing we encouraged him to use this but some days it just wasn’t meant to be. There are also pages for making their own journey, like a scrapbook, for what they are learning in each lesson. My oldest loves to draw; my younger son liked to make collages using images he would find that related to his lesson for the day (or week).He is a very inquisitive one! He really enjoyed the minibooks; being able to learn all those scientific terms (orbit, sunspot, aurora, solar flare) and then be able to have both terms and their definitions in one place, all together, that makes him quite happy. I loved seeing him go back to those minibooks too so he could remember something; in some cases we would need to look up a video or two (he wanted to watch a solar eclipse and see solar flares!).
There was just so much to learn within this! I was surprised by some of the materials; for example we learned about clocks, calendars and seasons. This was just fascinating to my younger son to know that the sun, moon, planets and stars all help us to tell time. I admit we spent quite a bit of time learning all about how we can tell the times and the seasons in this manner. And who knew that you could see satellites in the night sky? My oldest son is insistent that we need to get a good telescope for our own backyard so he can use it at night to see what he can find in the sky. My husband is even on board with this idea. It’s always such a joy to see our children develop a love of learning; to see them follow those rabbit trails.
We didn’t quite build our own solar system model yet but we are definitely excited to do so. There are so many activities within this program. We have not done every one of these yet but we definitely do plan to. This is something we will definitely be continuing to use and in some cases there are lessons we will very likely repeat just because there is so much to learn and do on every page. And with my younger son I can definitely see him gaining a greater appreciation for the material in this as he gets older.
This really is an amazing program and one that has something for our kids no matter what their style of learning may be. This is such an in depth class; the fact that it works for both my younger son (7) and my older one too (1o) is a huge benefit! And of course, the scripture that is woven into every lesson, in so many ways, is a great blessing! My older son loves seeing how the Word of God lives all around us and my younger son is fascinated as it all comes together for him too. While we have only really completed two of the lessons within this program we have learned SO much more than I would have imagined possible. We are excited to continue in this program too! From creating our own mnemonic to help remember the order of the planets; to crossword puzzles, copywork and fun mini book making, each lesson is full of fun opportunities to expand on and reinforce what our children are learning. I definitely recommend Apologia if you are looking for something to bring science to life in your homeschool. Its definitely something that will bless your family and your children will have such a great time, it won’t feel like school at all!