As part of the Review Crew, we received Apologia Educational Ministries‘ Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. We received the student text, notebooking journal, junior notebooking journal, and the text on audio cd.
The textbook is a hard cover book with amazing photographs of the universe. The text is written to the student and is very conversational in nature. It’s not dry at all and even has help with pronunciation of harder words. Explanations are clear and easy to understand. I can see this book easily holding up through multiple children and fascinating each one. It certainly has sparked an interest in Boobear!
The notebooking journals are thick, spiral-bound books. One is for younger students, about K-3, and the other is for older students, about 4-6. Each contains a daily schedule with a suggested list of assignments to do each day, so you can use this program as open and go. It’s very easy to speed it up or slow it down, so you could speed it up and squeeze it into a semester if you really wanted to, or simply follow the schedule and enjoy astronomy for the entire year. The journals contain pretty much the same material. It simply amps up in difficulty for the upper grades, providing just enough of a challenge in my opinion. The activities range from copywork to mini-books, to word searches and notebooking. There’s a very wide range of activities which helps avoid boredom.
Experiments are mentioned in the text and use things you are likely to have at home or can easily get. If you don’t want to have to worry about gathering everything and want it all in one place, you can find experiment kits designed to go with the program. Makes it even easier to teach.
Now, we are a secular family. Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is very much a Christian science program. It begins with Creation and uses Bible verses. You won’t find the Big Bang here!
But can a secular family use this program?
I think it depends entirely on your family, your kids, and your tolerance level for religion in science. I know some folks will see a Bible verse and run the other way. Personally, for us, we can use this as the science itself is good. We skip the religious aspects of it and instead focus on the science. I supplement with other books (such as about the Big Bang) and instead of handing Boobear the textbook to read, I teach from it. And while I don’t mind at all talking with him about differing views regarding how things came to be, I don’t feel an 8 year old’s science lesson is the right place for that. So we simply skip it. I think a secular family who teaches from the book while skirting around the religious aspects could use this but to cover some things you’d have to supplement as it simply won’t be found in these books.
Overall, I think it’s a pretty good program. I can see why it’s so popular among homeschoolers.
Make sure to check out the rest of the Crew’s reviews!
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