Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Apologia Science {A Review}

We are reviewing Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day textbook and the Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal by Apologia Educational Ministries.  The textbook is $39 and the Notebooking Journal is $24.  You can find more information about all Apologia's products at: www.apologia.com.

I was very impressed with this product from the time I opened the box.  The textbook is a hard bound book with text, color photos and illustrations.  The Notebooking Journal is a high quality spiral bound workbook.

Looking at the introduction pages of the textbook I was blown out of the the water with the thought that went into the curriculum. The book itself is a teacher's tool.  One of the very first things in the book is how to reach Apologia's curriculum support (there are 5 different ways). Then it goes to explain how to use the book.  There is a step-by-step guide, a chapter by chapter supply list, and a website that has even more information, extra blank notebooking pages, videos, and sound clips.  It made me feel like I knew exactly what I was doing right from the start. Organization makes me happy.

According to the Apologia website the books in the elementary science collection are designed for grades K-6.  Even though they are designed for younger students they do not skimp on in depth information.   It is written in a straightforward style with important vocabulary terms in bold face print.  Zippy is in 7th grade technically, but reading slightly below her grade level.  At no point did she feel that the content of the book was babyish, meant for younger children, but it was written in a way that she could understand.   At the end of each chapter there is a big experiment that allows student to follow the scientific method to find out information pertaining to the chapter.  In addition there are smaller "try this" hands on activities throughout the chapter.  The thing I liked best about these hands on activities is they are geared so older students can complete them with minimal parent help, and they use household items.  There is also a continuing/cumulative project.  For Zoology 2 it is an ocean box, a diorama that gets new pieces with each chapter.

The textbook has a strong narration and notebooking component to it.  Narration is where students, after reading a section, orally summarize the information.  Notebooking is where students write down their information and draw a picture or two.  This approach to learning works exceptionally well for us.  The book gives an either/or approach.  You can either do narration or you can do notebooking.  I chose to do both.  This allowed Zippy three chances to go over the information.  With her ADHD the ability to digest the information in many different ways (reading, speaking, writing, drawing) is huge.  She really retained the information, which made for some sparkling dinnertime conversations.

In addition to the textbook, we also reviewed the Zooology 2 Notebooking Journal.   While it is not necessary to have the Notebooking Journal I would highly, highly recommend it.  The beginning of the Journal is as enlightening as the beginning of the textbook.  It gives a suggested weekly/daily schedule.  All the notebooking pages are printed out in order. There are also additional layers of learning, with copywork, vocab crosswords, mini books, and dive deeper, where students are encouraged to explore further an aspect of the chapter, then gives activities and resources to help them accomplish their extra mini-project.

My favorite part of the Notebooking Journal was the suggested schedule.  Having a schedule really took the stress out of planning science for me.  The schedule suggests doing two days of science per week, we do four or five so I just cut each day in half.  Each day we did science Zippy would read, underline the important ideas, narrate and write down in her notebook.  When she reached the hands on activities, she would do them at that time cementing whatever concept she was studying in that section.  Generally she got the whole chapter read in the first week.  The second week she did the Notebooking review, further research, the big experiment and added to the ocean box.

Zippy had a wonderful time doing this science curriculum.  She wants to finish the book and is looking forward every two weeks to adding something new to her ocean box.  I was impressed by the program and intend to purchase the generally science book for Zippy's science studies next year.


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


  1. Wonderful review!! If I weren't already almost finished with this book, I'd run out and buy it after reading this review.

  2. An excellent review! Great photos and love the smile on your little one!


  3. Great review!!! I just started this today with my daughter, we are new to homeschooling. We are "easing" into homeschooling from public school by starting with this study this summer (and beyond!). We are enjoying it already :)


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