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I really like the Christian homeschool science materials Apologia creates. My kids have used a variety of their books and CDs over the past few years. But, they’d never worked through Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology before, so I was eager to review it.
What Was Included?
I received four different items to review. They were the:
- Junior Notebooking Journal
- Notebooking Journal
- MP3 Audio CD
Here’s a more in-depth look at each, and how we utilized it in our homeschool.
The heart of the program, the hard covered textbook is written in student friendly language. I’d say it’s written at around a fourth grade reading level.
Since my elementary kids aren’t quite at that reading level, I used it as a read aloud. I had my third grader, second grader, and kindergartener sit together to listen to the lessons.
The text is broken up fourteen lessons. Each lesson is broken into multiple sections. I typically read a section or two each day.
If you take two weeks for each lesson, there is enough material here to cover the majority of the school year (28 weeks). Some lessons can definitely be extended even more, to bump this up to 30 or 32 weeks of material.
In the textbook, you’ll find plenty of hands-on projects.
There are several sections titled “Try This” throughout the text, that have a quick activity or experiment.
Here are examples of three that my kids enjoyed:
In lesson 3, when students are learning about muscles pushing food through the intestines, students are asked to put a ball of clay in a nylon stocking. Then they experiment with different motions to get the clay moving through the stocking.
In lesson 2, students use a measuring tape or yardstick to see if their arms spread wide is the same length as their height. My kids each made a prediction about whether they would be or not, and it was fun to see them work together to measure.
In lesson 1, the kids did an experiment to try and mummify apple slices. They measured out Epsom salt, table salt, and baking soda into different cups as directed by the book. Then, they placed one apple slice in each. We let the apples sit for a week and then pulled them out to see what worked the best.
Baking soda didn’t work. The combination of table salt and Epsom salt worked the best for us.
The Personal Person Project
Adding organs and systems to a picture of the human body is an ongoing project throughout the text. In lesson 1, students prepare their model. If you have the Notebooking Journal, there is a template you can use to trace. Then students add a picture of their heads to personalize it.
As you study each system, there are reminders to add pieces to this person project. Students can either draw, or cut out the beautiful colored pictures from the appendix of the notebook.
I had my kids draw their own people, using the size of the one in the journal for reference. I also opted to have them draw their own organs and bones and things, as I think it better helps the memory when they are more actively engaged instead of just cutting and gluing.
Each chapter has a larger project or experiment. These are longer activities that summarize the learning from the lesson. They are very hands-on, and many are creative. For instance, lesson four asks students to design a digestion theme park. We aren’t quite to the end of this lesson yet, but I can’t wait to see what my kids come up with when it’s time!
The Notebooking Journals
When I first received the notebooking journals, my plan was for my third grader to use the regular one, and my second grader to use the Junior one.
But, this didn’t work out. The regular one was too advanced for either of my students. Since each journal is for one student, I had my third grader do some of the activities from the Junior one as an extension to our learning. He really enjoyed the hands-on activities.
Each version of the journal has the appendix with the colorful body parts to cut out and glue on the personal person project. They also each contain activities for studying vocabulary, copywork activities, and colorful pages at the end used throughout the studies to create mini-books, learning wheels, and more.
If you enjoy the concept of completing lapbooks with your kids, but dread the work you have to put into them, these journals are a huge perk. They come with the material you need so there’s no printing extra stuff. Or trying to keep track of all those pieces!
At the end of each lesson’s material, there’s also a “More to Explore” page in both books. These include recommendations for a Bible study on the topic, and other resources to learn mored.
The journals are spiral bound and lay flat when kids are using them, which is nice.
I also appreciate how the copywork in both books has a cursive and a printing option.
Junior Notebooking Journal
The junior notebooking journal has coloring pages throughout to help students remember what they learned about. These have Bible verses at the bottom, connecting to the image. For instance, on the page where students color a mummy, it has Numbers 15:41 printed at the bottom.
The vocabulary pages included a variety of activities. Sometimes students had to create a puzzle, other times they cut out the words and matched them to the definitions in a lift-the-flap creation.
Though too hard for my students currently, I’m hanging onto this because when we cycle back through anatomy and physiology when my kids are in middle school, it’ll be a great fit!
This book used crossword puzzles for the vocabulary review, which I know my kids will love.
This version of the journal had much more space for students to write down what they remembered from the lessons. It also Q&A style what do you remember page for each lesson.
The MP3 Audio CD
In the past, I’ve used the MP3 audio cd in the car to reinforce our learning while out and about. It reads each section of the text, refers students to certain pages to complete the activities, and really reads at a good pace for my young learners.
But, the CD player in my car stopped working. And the CD player we have inside doesn’t play MP3s. So our only option this time was to use a computer to read the CDs. That wasn’t too convenient, so we didn’t use it much this time around.
I do think the audio version is a good tool for students who are struggling readers, when moms don’t have the time to sit and read the text aloud. It also works well for reviewing purposes, so you don’t have to reread the same section over and over again.
What I Thought of These Products
I definitely enjoyed using these products in my homeschool. And, I recommend any of Apologia’s science materials. We’ve used them for elementary kids, middle school kids, and even high school now. Each text is thorough, and is written in a manner to help students remember what they’ve learned.
The hands-on projects make learning come to life.
I really enjoyed learning about the human body with my elementary school kids. We’ll keep working through the text as we wrap up this school year.
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