Thursday, February 14, 2013

TOS Review - Apologia

What is Apologia?
Apologia is a science curriculum intended for home schools. This curriculum includes various topics such as zoology, anatomy, physics and much more. The writers of this curriculum use the mission of defending the Christian faith through its material. Apologia ranges from elementary age science to high school age science and includes the offer of online courses.
What We Received and How We Used It:
For this review we received the following:
Zoology One: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Textbook (Based for grades K-6)
Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Junior Notebook (Based for grades K-2)

We were also given access to a course website that gave us the opportunity to dig deeper into each lesson. Much of what was given on the site was beyond Kollin's comprehension, but it would definitely be beneficial to an older age group.
The beginning of the book offers a wonderful week by week plan on what to cover each day. This was a great guideline to help keep us on track.
Before beginning, I heard many homeschooling Moms rave about this curriculum and I was nothing short of excited when I was given the opportunity to complete a review for this material. Both items we received were of great quality. The textbook is filled with amazing pictures which immediately captured Kollin's attention and began to rattle his brain with questions. I allowed him some time to flip through the book before we began - this got him very excited about jumping in to science.
Each lesson is a lot of information to take in so it was necessary for me to highlight what I felt Kollin could benefit from at his age prior to starting the book. I was pleasantly surprised at the information that intrigued him most, like classification. We learned from Kingdom to Species in the first few days. I threw in a few extra activities like sorting these animals from the Animal Kingdom down to their individual species. This activity was not in the book, but helped us while learning this part of the text.

Much of the time I talked while he colored, which was a great way to keep his attention as opposed to me reading straight from the book.
I loved having the copy work available, I was able to mix in his writing lessons a few times within his science, Mommy bonus!
Our family really utilized the Try This! experiments throughout each lesson as reinforcement for what we were learning. Each lesson offered more than one hands on activity and allowed the boys to really see what they were learning. I have six little hands in the mix, so I had to make sure there was something for everyone to do.
Here we are doing the flight experiment from Lesson One.
Kollin was in charge of writing our results, Kolt threw the planes and Kruz helped measure our distances; something for everyone.
Lesson Two required a lot of bird watching and recommended we order a field guide for our area. Amazon had several to choose from and we were able to order two books for less than $10.00.
After building our two bird feeders and observing which feed the birds preferred (one of the Try This! experiments), the boys really got into becoming birders. Birds are now looking different to them and they are able to recognize their differences. They also enjoy listening to their different banter and/or songs. 
Each lesson took around two weeks to cover. During those weeks we covered the basics of what zoology is, classification, flight, habitats, extinction, the benefits of birds, field marks and other physical features to look for and the way birds communicate.
My Opinion:
If it is not obvious enough from how much we got out of this curriculum, I will just say it: our family has loved working with Apologia.
Although the information can seem to be complicated, there is something in each lesson that will benefit all ages, ranging from elementary to high school. I believe the lessons do take longer with younger children. Personally, we took around 2 weeks for each lesson.
Overall, the Junior Notebook did a wonderful job in reinforcing each lesson with several different activities. These included but are not limited to crosswords, scavenger hunts, areas to list what was learned and coloring pages. Kollin enjoyed the coloring portion of the Junior Notebook and I wish there had been more of those sheets. Perhaps a separate coloring book could be offered in addition to the notebooks for those who have younger children.
The Try This! experiments were obviously our favorite part. We were able to see first hand the way air pressure effects a bird's ability to fly and also how a bird is aerodynamically built. Like I said before, the images in the book were fantastic, but building bird feeders and actually watching the birds eat was even better! Most of the experiments required nothing more than houseold items.
Because there is so much more to be absorbed in the text, I plan to use this curriculum set again when the kids are a bit older. As much as they have learned now, I can only imagine what they will absorb in a few years. I believe some parents are opposed to having the same topic throughout the school year, but I like it. This curriculum is wonderful at keeping the subject interesting, especially with the Try This! experiments throughout each lesson. In my opinion, there is more than enough to keep science interesting for an entire school year in this particular set.
 Important Links:
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. This is a great review! I just love all the details you gave and the photos are outstanding. Thanks so much for putting your time into it!