Thursday, September 8, 2016

We Finally Get - First Hand- Why Apologia Science Is So Fabulous!

{This post contains affiliate links to a vendor we have come to appreciate for quality and ease of materials: Apologia Educational Ministries.}

Astronomy was not on my radar as a topic of study for the summer until we were offered a chance to review
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition by Apologia Educational Ministries.   I could not be happier that this opportunity came along, because, in all honesty, our summer did NOT turn our to be the summer we had planned, and, while most of the reasons why are not "good" ones, our change of plans to add Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition to our summer learning and adventures proved to be positive one.

What Comes with Exploring  Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition?

Why was our experience so positive? 

I think because
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is presented in a multi-sensory way that is easy to use and engages children.

For our review, we received a Student Text, a
Notebooking Journal, a Jr. Notebooking Journal, and an Audio CD. With these, we were able to easily and naturally fit Astronomy lessons in around the sickness, household issues, and car problems that struck our family this summer, and, while doing so, each of us - even me - learned new things.

In July, despite one child being diagnosed with Lyme's, we were still able to be out and about quite a lot, taking another child to camp daily for a week and participating in a number of other events, classes, workshops, etc. that required our family to pack into our minivan quite often.  Thus, our Astronomy lessons began by simply popping the
Audio CD into our minivan CD player and, then, pausing it occasionally to chat about what we were listening to

(For the record,
Apologia does not suggest using the Audio CD without the Student Text, but rather, to use the two resources together, so that developing readers and auditory learners can benefit from the visual images in the text in the fluency of the CDHowever, for our family, using the CD alone is what worked at first.)

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

After the first time we put the 
Astronomy Audio CD in on a ride, almost every time we rode in our minivan, one child or another asked, "Can we listen to Apologia?"  So, we ended up covering the entire Astronomy course (through audio) in just a few weeks while we were blessed to be still out and about going to camps, classes, stores, and whatnot.

Then, when sickness and other challenges struck our family, requiring us to stay home more often, the children dove into the other course materials.

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

My oldest claimed our Notebooking Journal as his own and was given free reign to do whichever activities in it he wished.  He surprised me by choosing to do print and cursive copywork. 

My oldest typically groans when asked to write anything, and I do not know what it was about the way the copywork in the journal was laid out that prompted him to do page after page of it, but I sure am delighted that he did so. 

One day, after completing some and showing it to me, he said, "Mom, I don't mind this copywork, and I know when I choose it, it makes you happy."  It sure does!  Thank you,
Apologia and thank you, Son.

My oldest has never really cared for crosswords, either, yet, I found him at our kitchen table one day happily intent on completing one, and, in the future, he says he wants to enjoy more of the activities in the Notebooking Journal at his own pace.  I am all for that. 

Notebooking Journal is truly a wonderful resource that invites children at a grades 3-6 level in and welcomes them to use:
  • a suggested lesson schedule
  • notebooking pages
  • lapbook-style activities
  • places to record date from experiments
  • places to display work
  • puzzles
  • and more!

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

My daughter and youngest son debated about who would get to claim our Jr. Notebooking Journal, which is much like the Notebooking Journal but designed for use by children at K-2 grade levels.  They were both enticed by its full-color pages, which include:

  • coloring pages
  • wide writing lines
  • easy vocabulary activities
  • lapbook-like activities
  • room to take notes and draw pictures
  • and more!

In the end, we decided it was best suited for my daughter, who was kind enough to let her little brother help her with a number of pages.

It was so sweet to see them coloring together without quarreling.  For, as every homeschool mama knows, sometimes the greatest lessons have nothing to do with the subject at hand and everything to do with virtues!  I appreciate how
Apologia weaves faith and virtue into their materials and how, when using Apologia materials, I witness virtues being lived by my kiddoes.

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

And, that left our Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Student Text , which my youngest (in fairness since his older siblings had claimed the journals) said was "his".  

After paging through it, "wow"ing at its pictures, he had his older brother read him parts and his sister browse the text, too.  In fact, we have all enjoyed reading and looking at parts of this well-designed text which includes:

  • an easy-on-the-eye full-color layout: This captured my children's attention!
  • 14 lessons updated with current scientific data: I have never seen the old edition of Apologia Astronomy, but hear that while it is wonderful, this one takes a great thing and makes it even better! 
  • Biblical wisdom: I just love how Scripture is woven into the lessons without being overbearing.
  • infographics:  These help children see information in an understandable format.
  • callout boxes:  Many of these give special attention to God as Creator.
  • a color-coordinated schedule for the textbook, notebooking journals, and lab kit:  This would be super handy for those that are less go-with-the-flow than us and prefer traditionally scheduled curriculum.
  • fresh layouts for activities:  Again, I have never used the prior version of this curriculum, but understand that in this second edition there are more activities woven throughout the text.
  • many full-color illustrations: My children enjoyed feasting on the illustrations after listening to the CD, and I enjoyed hearing them chat abut what they had learned and retained as they did so.

Our Thoughts on the Program
Anything we have explored with 
Apologia in the past has impressed us and, now that we have had a chance to dive into one of their famous their science programs, we are even more impressed!  Truly, Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition has been a blessing to us.  The children (and I!) learned so much already using the Student Text, Notebooking JournalJr. Notebooking Journal, and - our favorite part  - the Audio CD.  Better still, we did not have to work hard to find ways to fit this review into our already full life, since the variety and design of materials made learning so natural and easy for us. 

Slip a CD in, pick up a journal, cuddle up with a book, enjoy experiential learning...  That's our style and Apologia makes it easy for us to embrace that style. (They also make it easy for families that prefer structured lessons and/or hands-on experiments to feel 100% at home with the curriculum.)

I can happily recommend Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition as a well-written, faith-connected, interesting, and easy-to-use approach to learning about Astronomy at an elementary level.

My children have all told me they'd recommend it, too. 

Specifically, my six-year-old had this to say:

I liked it.  I liked everything.  I liked the music on the CDand the information.  I learned about the sun - that it is the colors of the rainbow.  I learned that there are black holes.  I also learned that shooting stars are actually not stars.  They are meteors.

The was big... I liked the pictures.

In the journal, I liked to color the pictures.

My nine-year-old (who loved he colors on the page of the Student Text pictures above) said:

I liked the whole CD.  I liked how they taught you.  I've always thought of space things as not the most fun topic, but I like how they put funny facts in, so it made it interesting. 

I also like the book.  The book itself has activities and I like the pictures.

The journals... I liked the coloring and the crafts.

I'd like to do more of the journal and, then, keep the program to review every few years.

My ten-year-old had this to say:

When we got Apologia, I asked to listen to it every day.  I really liked it.  I liked learning about the sun, the space rocks, and Mars. 

Did you know the sun is rainbow colored?  Did you know space rocks are not as close as movies make them look? There is a distance between them in the asteroid belt. And, did you know that if you stood on the equator of Mars, your feet would be warm and your head would be freezing?  I learned all this on the CD.

I really liked the workbook, too.  I don't always like copywork, but I liked this copywork, the crosswords, and drawing a cartoon of Neptune.  I like being able to do parts of the journal as I like.

I also like the pictures in the book, although I used the CD more than I did the book.

I want to keep using Apologia and to do the activities we have not done yet.

Yep, Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition proved to be a shining beacon of success during a summer of challenges.  We truly are grateful for the learning and fun the program has offered us.

Learn More


Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

You can find samples from the
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Student Text, Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal, and Audio CD at the Apologia Educational Ministries website.

Want Everything Labeled, Organized, and Ready-to-Go?

If you do not like collecting materials from here and there to do experiments and activities, you can also purchase a Science Kit which includes (almost) everything you need to enjoy
42 activities found in the textbook, plus 21 bonus activities noted in the textbook and found only in the Apologia Astronomy Science Kit (Food items are not included.)

Want to Get Out and About?

Listen to the
Audio CD while on the way to field trips, then, journal about your experience with the Field Trip Journal, which I reviewed previously.  (Just click through the image to see the review.)

Curious about other Apologia Educational Ministries products?
Apologia Educational Ministries offers a full line of faith-centered materials for students and parents, several of which we have been  blessed to review.  Click through the images below to see what we thought if you want to learn more.

Want to get social?

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

Apologia Educational Ministries at:

What do others think?
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

Ninety-nine Schoolhouse Review Crew families
were generously given Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition for review.  Click through the banner above to see how each used the program.

Have you checked out what the buzz about Apologia science curricula is about? I am glad we finally know, first-hand, how fabulous Exploring Creation Astronomy is!
Crew Disclaimer


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