Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Apologia Educational Ministries Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

The set of Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition curriculum.

My family had the privilege of trying the Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. This post contains affiliate links that will benefit the blog.

Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. is the #1 publisher of creation-based science and Bible curriculum. They focus on Christian based homeschool curriculum. Their products are all taught from a biblical worldview. They have creation-based science, apologetics, language arts, Constitutional Literacy, and resources and books to help homeschooling families succeed.

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is a creation-based astronomy curriculum that is part of the Young Explorer Series consisting of a Student Text, Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal, and Audio CD. It is geared towards grades K-6. Here students will explore the most distant reaches of God's creation and His incredible universe. This is the newest and most revised edition, now in full color and with even more activities. Students will explore our solar system, including our sun, the planets, the asteroid belt, dwarf planets, and the Kuiper belt, then stars and other galaxies far far away in our night sky.

We Received The Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Which Included:
  • Student Text
  • Notebooking Journal
  • Jr. Notebooking Journal
  • Audio CD

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Student Text is a hardbound textbook. This textbook has a total of 14 lessons that explain astronomy and its many wonders. The book starts out with Apologia's Young Explorer Series Instructional Support that explains the curriculum parts. It then has a table of contents and Introduction To Astronomy which tells you about the textbook, activities, course website, notebooking journals, and Apologia science kit. Each lesson has colored boxes that contain scripture and things to contemplate, activities to do, vocabulary words in bold, color pictures and charts, questions and writing prompts in orange text, cautions in red text, and questions at the end of each lesson to summarize what was learned. At the end of the textbook there is an Appendix with a supply list for the activities in each lesson, Answer Key for the questions at the end of each lesson, Index to help find things in the book, and Photo Credits.

There are two slightly different notebooking journals. They are both spiral bound. The regular Notebooking Journal is for older elementary students (meant for grades 3/4 and older) and the Jr. Notebooking Journal is for younger elementary students (meant for grades K to 2nd/3rd). These are both consumable books and each is intended to be used by a single student. The main differences between the Jr. Notebooking Journal and the Notebooking Journal is that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has handwriting lines for copywork and writing assignments, beginning letter clues for the crossword puzzles, and coloring pages where open-ended questions are in the Notebooking Journal. Both versions have both manuscript and cursive copywork. The junior version also gives a lot more guidance and less writing. At the beginning of the journals there is a suggested daily schedule that outlines four to seven assignments per lesson. There are three different types of assignments: textbook reading assignments are designated in green, notebook section assignments are designated in blue, additional activities found exclusively in the Apologia Science Kit are designated in brown, and the additional bonus activities only found in the kit are designated by a symbol.

The Audio CD contains the complete audio recording of the course Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. It is read by Jeannie Fulbright (the textbook and journals' author). This is great for auditory learners, slow readers, or students with other learning disabilities that make reading difficult. This is an MP3CD so you have to play it in a MP3-compatable CD player or a computer.

I also want to mention that Apologia Educational Ministries has an Astronomy 2nd Edition Science Kit as well. We did not receive this, but I really wish we did. It has all the materials needed to complete 63 total activities: 42 activities found in the textbook and 21 bonus activities noted in the textbook and found only in the Apologia Astronomy Science Kit. These bonus activities are marked with a symbol in the textbook. Since we did not have this kit we could not do the bonus activities and for some of the activities we needed to go purchase the things we were missing because we did not have all of the required materials at home. This kit looks like it would be a great addition to the rest of the set because it would give you everything you would need to complete all the activities.

Also listed in the textbook as one of the recommended resources for the Astronomy course is the Field Trip Journal that I reviewed previously. This is great to record up to ten field trips from planning stage to memories. Great to take textbook lessons to the next level with real-life adventures.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

I used this curriculum with my daughter Teela who is 8 years old and in 3rd grade. I used the Jr. Notebooking Journal with her because she needs a little help with her handwriting. She also tires of writing too much. We did an average of two daily assignments per week, and starting at the beginning of the book, which got us through Lesson 1 (What is Astronomy?) and Lesson 2 (The Sun) during the review period.

Teela reading the Exploring Creation with Astronomy Textbook.

Both the textbook and journals have a lot of  wonderful full color pictures and charts that make the learning a lot more fascinating. We also made spelling lists with the vocabulary words from each chapter too. I loved the wonderful lesson by lesson supply list located in the back for knowing what to have on hand for the activities from each lesson. Having an answer key for the "What Do You Remember?" pages also was a tremendous help to me.

We loved using the link to the course website that is referenced in the textbook. It had a lot of fun third party websites that contributed more information to the study of different things. We loved the Planet Size Comparison website that lets you compare the size of two planets, NASA on The Commons Flickr page with lots of pictures to look at, discussion of What was the Star of Bethlehem?, The Sun website which provided information about the sun and the Total Solar Eclipse that will be happening August 21st, 2017 and a movie from NASA of 3 years of the sun in 3 minutes. There was a lot more too, but I did run into a few links that no longer worked as well and need updating.

Teela doing the minibooks and coloring in the Jr. Notebooking Journal.

Both the regular Notebooking Journal and the Jr. Notebooking Journal has some pages (for example the minibooks) to cut out and glue to other pages. This reminded me a lot of a lapbook in this regard. I like that they also have copywork and activities that included science experiments and observations from what was taught in the textbook. These were lots of fun and were hands-on way of learning the material. Teela especially loved the crosswords and making mnemonic devices to remember the planets in order.

Teela working on the writing portion of the Jr. Notebooking Journal.

The Audio CD is very useful when Teela got bored of reading the textbook on her own. She liked listening and following along a whole lot better and the lady that reads has a nice voice that makes it more interesting. I liked that I was given the option of listening too because I could hear what she was learning about without reading the text myself and my younger daughter, Zari, who is in Kindergarten and does not read yet could listen as well and glean information from it too.
    I love the Apologia Educational Ministries Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. I would recommend this highly to anyone searching for a creation-based astronomy course for their homeschool. Apologia also has other great homeschool curriculum for science as well that I would love to check out.

    BUY IT
    Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Student Text is $39. The Notebooking Journal and Jr. Notebooking Journal are $27 each. The Audio CD is $29.

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