If you’re looking for a God-centered, creation-based science curriculum for your elementary students, Apologia’s Young Explorers series might be the perfect fit for your family. After several years of homeschooling and trying a few different science curriculums, our family decided to give Apologia a try and we will never look back. My only regret is that we didn’t try it sooner.
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.
Our family has used the Young Explorers Astronomy and Anatomy & Physiology texts in the past and 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.
As you and your child learn about God’s creations of the 5th day, you will explore things such as animal classification, identifying birds, bird behavior, bird anatomy, bats, flying reptiles, insect life cycles, and butterflies. You will study these topics and many others by reading the text, conducting experiments, completing notebooking activities, doing projects, and narration prompts.
The text incorporates Charlotte Mason methodology by scattering several narration prompts throughout each lesson. This feature is helpful in determining if your child is grasping the concepts and information being taught.
The Try This! sections throughout the lessons help to break up the reading and reinforce the material with a hands-on or interactive activity. This is nice if you have an antsy child or one with a short attention span that requires more focus. These activities are quite simple and not as involved as the projects or experiments.
I was a bit unsure about whether my eight and ten year old sons were going enjoy a whole science text about flying creatures, but they have proven me wrong. Besides, what young boy wouldn’t like a science book that starts right off the bat (no pun intended) with an activity where you get to spray your brother with water (okay, it doesn’t actually tell you to spray your brother, but that’s what ended up happening at our house) and an experiment that entails flying homemade gliders around the house? My boys say this curriculum is fun, interesting, and they love the experiments. There you have it.
We love Apologia Elementary. This year, we are using the anatomy and physiology book but plan to use zoology I next year. It is slightly more challenging as the birds that we see are different so I need to do some background work first but this will be worth the effort.
I think when the girls are a bit older i will definitely be looking into Apologia. I love the sound of this curriculum. Love that it is God centered, love the bit of Charlotte Mason, love the sound of the hands on. Thanks for the great review
We LOVE Apologia Science. We didn’t do the review as I already have them all! We are working through the Flying Creatures! (We have already completed Astronomy this year!) We use lap books and because my kids are older run though a lesson (chapter) a week.
Great review! I think we would love all of Apologia’s books!
This was the first book we used from the Apologia Elementary Series, and we loved it. We bought a bird field guide and had a great time identifying all of the birds that came to our bird feeder that year. I think by the end of the school year we identified more than 30 different birds! We used the notebooking templates available from the website.
Great review. Love the photos of your boys, with the water spray, and the glider. I think we’ll be trying this one, after we are finished with the land animals. 🙂
Bonnie Way says
Sounds totally cool! When I was growing up homeschooled, we also had a creationist science curriculum and I still appreciate the perspective that it gave me on science and faith. I’ll have to bookmark this for when my daughters start school in a year or two. If you’re looking for more creationist resources, I highly recommend John MacArthur’s book The Battle for the Beginning (for adults) or Sigmund Brouwer’s book Unrandom Universe (for teens).
We love all the elementary texts from Apologia. I am now on my second time around doing them, this time with my youngest son. I can’t wait for the new Chemistry and Physics books to come out! Great review!!
Flying Creatures was our second choice – we did Swimmers. After our experience with it, I can’t wait to try this one.
Hydrangeas and Harmony says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Apologia. We’re looking into using it next year. A quick question (and I know every family/student is different) but about how long did each science session take for you?
Sarah Avila says
Thanks for stopping by. I hope this review was helpful to you!
I schedule an hour (2 times per week) for science. It depends what is planned for that day, but sometime we are done in 30 minutes (if we just had reading and some notebooking to do) and sometimes we don’t even finish in the hour (maybe if we had an involved experiment). I try not to go over the hour though and if we didn’t finish everything, then we just pick up there next time.
So, on average, I’d say about an hour! Hope that helps!
We are SO thankful to have found Apologia as well! We are finishing up our first book, Astronomy, and the kids have chosen to do Zoology 1 next. Thank you for your review.
Sarah Avila says
Your so welcome! I’m glad the review was helpful! We love Apologia! Astronomy is a great book to start with in the series!
I was looking into this for next year! I am now sold! We will be starting with Astronomy next year! Thanks for the review.
Sarah Avila says
I’m so glad the review was helpful! You will love Astronomy; it is a great book to start the series with!!
Under the Sky says
What a great review! I love the experiment photos!
Thanks so much!
Briana Jeffers says
We also love these books. I only have two so far but have plans to buy the whole series.
Sarah Avila says
I think we have 4 of them, but I also plan on eventually buying them all. A really great curriculum!
Thank you for the great and thorough review- could you please tell me your opinion on which notebook I should have my daughter use. She will be in 2nd grade and needs/can handle a bit more of a challenge so I worry the JR Notebook would be a bit too young for her (if Kindergartners are able to use it- and i noticed in a preview photo it had quite a bit of coloring pages). However, I do not want to push for the other if its is going to be over her head. Can you share your opinion on which would be best?
Hi Gabrielle – Second grade is a tough one because depending on the child, it could really go either way. If it were me, I would choose the Junior Journal. The biggest difference I notice between the two is that the junior one doesn’t include the What Do You Remember review questions. However, these questions are in the textbook, so you can still go over the questions, you just won’t have a place in the notebook to record the answers. Other than that, the junior one seems to have most of the same stuff as the regular one.