We have been using Apologia as our main Science curriculum for around 8 years now. I consider it to be the cream of the crop for homeschooling Science. I put together a video to show you how we use the curriculum from Elementary age all the way through High School. You can see that video here:
Now, I know some of you are not video people, so let me also walk you through our curriculum and how we use it in words and photos.
Apologia Elementary Science
Once my children have finished their Phonics program and have spent about a year reading consistently and progressively, I add the Apologia Elementary Science books into their school day.
When we first started with these books, I read them aloud to the kids, but since they are written to the child, I decided to make them a part of my children’s transition to more independence in their school work by making sure they were ready for that level of reading and then letting them read on their own.
I start by giving them my expectations of how much they should read in a setting, but eventually let them go at their own pace. The sections are short (as shown in the photo below), so you can easily choose an amount of reading that is in line with how much your child can handle.
There are sections with quick “experiments” called Try This! and at the end of each section are notebooking activities, bigger experiments and a review. There are NO TESTS. I love this about Apologia! Science at this age is all about exploration and learning to love the world God has created. Tests are not needed.
All of the Elementary Science books are extremely well written and give an amazing foundation that will have your children blurting out little scientific factoids you didn’t even know!
*A quick word on Notebooking with Apologia –> Apologia sells notebooking journals that are complete and ready to be filled out. We have chosen not to do these because I am so haphazard about our notebooking. Also, because I have my children do the reading independently, I did not want to add anything else to their day. HOWEVER, notebooking is an excellent way to retain information and I still recommend the notebooking journal if you feel up to it. And by the way, if you ever have a chance to go to one of Jeannie Fulbright’s sessions on Notebooking at a homeschool conference, do it! You will learn so much!
Apologia Junior High Science
In Jr. High, we hit a new transition…TESTS! While some homeschooling parents choose not to administer the tests in General Science and Physical Science, I see these as opportunities to ease your child into the world of test taking.
Each “Module” of the curriculum has a Study Guide at the end for your child to answer. This Study Guide gives them a good basis for taking the test. I have my children check their own study guides using the key in the accompanying booklet.
Be aware -the Study Guide IS NOT a word for word copy of the test. Your student will have to translate what they have learned in the Module and Study Guide into a practical application for the test. Some children find this difficult and will need a little extra encouragement. In the end, it is best not to spoon-feed children information so they gain the ability to logically apply what they learn to a wide variety of situations.
Apologia High School Science
There is no reason to fear High School Science because Apologia makes it easy! My children work through their Science books at a good pace. They come to me when they are ready for a test. They take the test and turn it back in to me to grade at my convenience. The textbooks are engaging and relevant and still written to the child in a way that makes the information easy to digest.
How We Choose What Science to Teach
Prior to High School, you can give your children any of the Apologia texts in any order. All of them create a solid foundation in Science. Once in High School, you have 3 options for choosing curriculum:
- Use state graduation requirements as your guideline.
- Use college entrance requirements as your guideline.
- Use your child’s interests as your guideline.
We use a mix of these to determine what path to take. My 15 year old sophomore will be taking Biology with the Lab, then Chemistry, then Advanced Biology.
*A word about Labs –> Most states require a lab science. I prefer this to be Biology because I am a firm believer in dissecting things. We buy a dissection and slide kit from another source to supplement the text. If our kids get stuck on what to do, we use YouTube videos to help them along. For chemistry, we use YouTube to find the corresponding experiments so the children can see what the experiment would look like. Be aware, if you have an older edition of one of the texts, the labs may not line up and you will have to tweak a bit.
I hope this helps you see how Apologia Science can be a wonderful addition to YOUR homeschool! (I’m planning to add more posts like this to give you an in-depth look at our 2016-17 curriculum.)