As a member of the Crew, we’ve had the opportunity to try many different products from Apologia Educational Ministries. However, one product we hadn’t tried yet is the Young Explorers Science series. We recently had a chance to try Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition, and we loved it!
I choose to use this with the girls, who are in 1st and 2nd grade. We already had a science curriculum for the year, but after trying out Astronomy, the girls asked to finish this course and go back to our other science curriculum next year. I happily said yes.
What We Received
Apologia generously sent us many of the components of the Astronomy program including:
For our review, we primarily used the student text and the Jr. Notebooking Journal.
About Exploring Creation with Astronomy Textbook
As I mentioned, this is a newly revised edition and is written by Jeannie K. Fulbright with the contributions of Damian R. Ludwiczak, M.S., an engineer at NASA.
It contains the following lessons:
Lesson 1: What is Astronomy?
Lesson 2: The Sun
Lesson 3: Mercury
Lesson 4: Venus
Lesson 5: Earth
Lesson 6: The Moon
Lesson 7: Mars
Lesson 8: Space Rocks
Lesson 9: Jupiter
Lesson 10: Saturn
Lesson 11: Uranus
Lesson 12: Neptune
Lesson 13: Kuiper Belt and the Dwarf Planets
Lesson 14: Stars, Galaxies, and Space Travel
This revised edition includes beautiful color pictures and many headings as well as short text underneath. This book is easy on the eyes and packed with information in small bits, so it’s not overwhelming even to younger children. The tone of the writing is not like a typical (boring) science textbook. It’s written in a friendly, approachable tone, as if the author is sitting down talking to you.
This book, as with most Apologia items, is unabashedly Christian. There are relevant Bible verses in the text as well as “Think about This” sections and “Wisdom from Above” sections that tie in Biblical thoughts. For instance, in Chapter 2, when students are learning never to directly look at the sun because it can hurt their eyes, there is a “Think about This” section that says,
When Moses asked to see God, God said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live” Exodus 33:20. So Moses hid behind some rocks when God passed by. Even though he just got a glimpse of God’s glory, Moses’s face glowed for a long time. He had to wear a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not be afraid of him. The Bible describes angels and the transfigured Jesus as being very bright, just like a light. The sun is impressive, but we know God is even more magnificent. The sun gives us a small clue to the splendor of God.
While I appreciated most of these sections, if you prefer to focus less on religion during science, you could simply omit reading these sections. The remainder of the text is not overtly religious.
Activities and Experiments
There are 42 activities and experiments in the book. You certainly don’t need to do them all, but there are enough so that you’ll have plenty to pick and choose from.
You can also use the activities as a springboard. For instance, in Lesson 1, there is an activity to create the solar system out of balloons. I liked the idea, but I wanted something that would last longer. So we searched the web and found a different activity to make the solar system out of styrofoam balls glued to foam board. We worked on this for two weeks, off and on, and now the girls have a permanent keepsake, plus, it’s helping them learn the planets in order.
Astronomy 2nd Edition Science Kit
Apologia has recently released their Astronomy 2nd Edition Science Kit. We didn’t get to try this, but it looks great! The kit includes everything that you need to do the experiments in the book, plus it includes another 21 bonus activities that are not in the textbook and are unique to the science kit. Through September 9th, the science kit is on sale for $118.15, saving you 15%.
Field Trip Journal
Although it isn’t necessary for the course, Apologia recommends students also use the Field Trip Journal as a great way to keep track of the adventures you take when you venture out to learn more about the subjects you’re studying. (We’re going to the planetarium next week, and my kids will be documenting the adventure in their Field Trip Journal.)
About Exploring Creation with Astronomy Notebooking Journals
While you could teach this course using just the textbook, I wouldn’t recommend it. I would recommend also using the Notebooking Journal.
Apologia has two notebooking journals–the junior one for kids in K-2nd/3rd grade, and the regular one for kids from 3rd/4th to 6th grade. For this review, we used the junior notebooking journal.
In the Junior Notebooking Journal, my kids created mini books, wrote Bible verse copy work, colored pictures, and did crossword puzzles. They really enjoyed the Junior Notebooking Journal!
The Notebooking Journal for older kids includes many of the same activities, but at a more challenging level. One exception–there are no coloring pages.
The Audio CD
Apologia also has the Audio CD available. This is simply a woman with a pleasant and expressive voice reading the textbook. We did try it out a few times, but my kids preferred that I read.
I think this Audio CD would be great for audio learners, for older kids who may have challenges reading the text by themselves, and for times when you have to school in the car.
Our Experience Using Exploring Creation with Astronomy
We used this program 2 to 3 times a week. (The schedule recommends 2 times a week, making this a year long program). We were able to complete the first two lessons and start in the third lesson. Since the girls are still in the early stages of reading, I read to them. We followed the schedule given in the Junior Notebooking Journal, but sometimes, on days when there were several activities, we broke up our studies over two days.
In addition to using the books, we also took advantage of the Book Extras to learn when the next eclipse will be in our area and to view a solar eclipse from 1995.
What We Love About This Program
I love how easy it is to just open the book and go. Apologia has made this course very easy for parents from the conversational tone, to the schedule in the Notebooking Journals, to all of the fun activities to choose from.
PB & J Girl (7.5) liked learning about things that she hadn’t known about before like auroras, sun spots, and how light waves work. Cuddle Bug (6) liked the coloring pages, the mini books–basically all of the Junior Notebooking Pages activities.
We will continue using this program through the end of the year. The girls are really looking forward to it, as am I.
I was one of 99 reviewers. To read more reviews, click on the link below: