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Apologia Educational Ministries offers six (with another one in the making) different elementary texts in their Young Explorers series that use the "immersion approach" to engage students with the quality of topics, rather than quantity. The publisher recommends these texts for grades K-6. To enhance the learning experience, Apologia also offers two levels of complementing Notebooking Journals for each text - a Junior Notebooking Journal for the younger scientist, and a Notebooking Journal for the upper elementary explorers.
We were recently given the opportunity to use and review the Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day text and the corresponding regular Notebooking Journal so here's what we thought about it!
I really like the Charlotte Mason approach these books use. I've always thought that when I started homeschooling Mary that I would follow her approach because she lets children learn for themselves. Created for grades K-6, they incorporate a conversational writing style, beautiful illustrations, notebook and nature study activities, and hands-on projects and experiments. Zoology 1 has fourteen lessons focusing on the design and characteristics of flying creatures, including physical characteristics, nesting habits, flight patterns, and more. Besides birds and insects, bats, pterosaurs, and other flying creatures are also covered.
Here are the lessons:
- What is Zoology?
- What Makes a Bird a Bird?
- Birds of a Feather
- Flying Factuals
- Matching and Hatching
- Flying Reptiles
- A First Look at Insects
- Insect Life Cycles and Life Styles
- Social Insects
- Beetles, Flies, and True Bugs
- Interesting Insects
- Order Lepidoptera
In the notebooking journal, it has a schedule that you can keep for twice a week lessons, but we're doing a lesson everyday because it fits us better.
I've been using this set in our home-school everyday. Mary loves birds and since we have 9, we have an edge up on learning about them. Plus these books are very easy to use because there is minimal planning needed. The first week I do have to say was a little hard for Mary because classification is a little too in depth for a 5 year old but once we passed that, she's had fun. We're still waiting though to do our outdoor scavenger hunt because it's been cold and rainy all day every day but there's still plenty that we've learned together!
We actually were able to do the birdfeeder experiments on my backporch and we've been studying the birds that come to them as well. Mary loves this part because she loves to see the hungry birds come to eat.
The textbook has many different factoids in each section, plus they have experiments you can do with the kids to help them further understand. But I think the overall best part of this curriculum is that it's God centered so your kids will be learning the "real" way everything was made.
The set itself is very easy to use and user friendly. I don't have to do a lot of planning at all so this works perfectly for us. Plus all the experiments are pretty easy and don't include a lot of expensive items to buy.
If you're looking for a great science curriculum, the text retails for $39 and the notebook journal is $24 so it's well worth the price.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.