Category Archives: Science

Apologia Biology

Exploring Creation with Biology {Review}

Recently, I realized that our proposed science plans for this year simply were not working and we decided to put the book down and look for something new.

Luckily, right about that same time, I received the awesome opportunity to review one of the Apologia highschool science programs, and since we LOVED all of Jeannie Fulbright’s Elementary Science books, I jumped at the chance!

I talked to Monkey to see which program appealed to her the most, and she surprised me by choosing Exploring Creation with Biology. Since she is a recent teenager, I decided that for the first part of the program, I would work with her to make sure that she was understanding the material. Secretly (well, maybe not so secret), I’m excited that she chose Biology because it means that maybe we will make it to Exploring Creation with Marine Biology – another good reason to start the higher sciences early.

When I got the materials, I immediately read the student notes, and I was very pleased with how well the layout (or pedagogy as the book says – I learned something new right away!) of the book was described. I was confident that we could do this.

There are 16 modules which breaks down nicely into 2 weeks per module to complete in a standard 36 week year. Each module has been broken up by “On Your Own” questions that are designed to be answered as you read through the text (We use these natural breaks to determine our reading for each day) as well as experiments (2-3 in most modules).

There are three different types of experiments: microscope labs, dissection labs, and household labs. They stress that all 3 are not required if you don’t have the funds (or the desire), but they recommend that you at least do the household labs. We have a microscope, but it was cost prohibitive to purchase the slides, so we decided to get the companion multimedia CD – at $19, it was a much better option for us to be able to see some of the organisms. Although, I was thrilled that the second experiment taught us how to use our National Geographic microscope she received as a gift many years ago which came with NO directions (which we may be able to use for some of the experiments even without the slide set so might as well give it a try).

At the end of the book, there are fill-in-the blank summaries for each module that we are using as we go through each module in order to cement the information. Then, at the end of each module, there is a study guide that is an overview of the module and prepares them for the test – which is conveniently included in the Solutions and Test book that is included in the 2 book set.

The writing is clear and interesting even given the tough subject matter, and although challenging for Monkey, she is understanding the material. We are both enjoying the conversational style of the writing that is written directly to the student. There is also plenty of built-in review to check comprehension along the way. I’m so thankful that we received this opportunity to return to our original plans (at least for Science) because we have been really happy with Exploring Science with Biology – and, now for some exciting news!

I have the pleasure to be able to give away a copy of Exploring Biology with Creation 2 book Set to one of my readers. How cool is that?!? So here are the rules: You must 18 years or older, have a US mailing address (including APO), and use the Rafflecopter below. (Full details in the Terms & Conditions of the widget.)

Ends: midnight, Thursday, May 24th. Winner will be announced on Friday, May 25th.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of Exploring Creation with Biology from Apologia for my unbiased and honest review. All opinions here are mine as a result of using the books. Apologia will also be providing a copy for the winner.


Giveaway Day

Homeschool Science Lesson Clouds

Cloud Watchin’

Spring is just around the corner and what could be better than taking some time out to watch the clouds?

Won’t you join me at The Homeschool Post today for a science lesson while you’re enjoying the clouds?


Rex jumping

Leaping for a Contest

Today, we’re Leaping for a Contest over at Apologia. And, for the record – taking a shot of a jump – in midair – is not an easy thing to do! Wow – I had no idea it would be so tough! With that in mind, I have to apologize for Rex looking like he is going to pass out any second – my camera did not want to cooperate and take photos in sports mode (like it is SUPPOSED to).

So, in case you can’t tell, Rex is holding Exploring Creation through Zoology: Land Animals of the Sixth Day – he is absolutely crazy about animals and regularly pulls this book as well as the Flying Animals and Swimming Animals just to read them. Our favorite project with this particular book was dissecting an owl pellet. I know, it sounds gross, right? Well, it was – but also pretty COOL to find the skeletons of what this particular owl had eaten…. so, we learned about owls AND the rodents it had eaten – double score!

The books are made with quality, glossy paper that rivals ANY coffee table book with beautiful hardbound covers.

We’ve also done Botany, Astronomy, and Anatomy, and we are eagerly waiting for Chemistry/Physics to be released. (Those are all from the Elementary side of the products, but I would dare say that even this mom finds them interesting, so they would be great reading books for any age even if the work is not high school level.)

Monkey has just moved into the world of the High School courses, and I can’t wait to tell you all about Exploring Creation through Biology. Stay tuned for that soon.

If you are in search of Science books, you absolutely can’t go wrong with Apologia – we’ve been using them since Monkey was in the 2nd grade and I’ve been looking forward to this time with the High School materials (Personally, I hope, hope, HOPE, she decides to do Marine Biology – how cool is that? Marine Biology in high school!)

We love Apologia for their other products too (more on those coming soon) but possibly MOST important, we LOVE apologia because they love the Lord and are such wonderful people to work with!

So after you finish laughing at the photo, definitely check them out, and be sure to tell them that Gidget sent you  :)


A Boy and His Frog

Recently, Rex caught a bright green tree frog as it squeezed itself into the house.  He desperately wanted to keep it, but I really don’t want another animal in the house.  Trying to be an understanding mom, I tried to rationalize with him that we didn’t know what to feed him, etc…  Rex wasn’t to be dissauaded, so we allowed him to keep him overnight until we could figure it out the next day.

The next morning, he researched what they eat (small insects) and went out into the yard to hunt a grasshopper.  The grasshopper he brought back was bigger than the frog, and after we put it in the jar (just in case), he went back out to look again.  This time, he came back with another frog. Yikes! This was not the right direction.  After several hours, he accepted the fact that they wouldn’t be able to eat the grasshopper and decided that they needed a smaller insect.

So, out went my little hunter again to return very shortly with a small moth.  I thought “hey, this might work”, but unfortunately, the moth got squished during transport into the jar.  Rex just looked at the the jar for a few minutes, then decided that they probably only wanted live food, and with tears in his eyes said that he guessed he needed to let them go.

So, he took the bottle outside and very bravely let them all go….well, except for the moth (poor guy).  But, I noticed him sitting out in the yard on a stump holding his hand in an odd way.  When I went to investigate, I discovered that he was “spending a few more minutes with his frog.”  I felt SO BAD, but I offered to take a few pictures so that he would remember the little buddy that spent the night with him. 

It was heart wrenching to watch Rex go through the process, but he was able to learn through his own experiences and came to a judgement on his own based on the available facts. 

Projects and Experiments

So, lots of projects and activities going on over here in our schoolhouse.  Last week, we had an awesome project that we did for Bible.  We took the dates of Adam through Noah (directly from Scripture!) and charted it out. 

There were two things that we really discussed together after doing this project and that is the fact that Enoch who Enoch who “walked with God” only lived 300 yrs compared with everyone else being 700 – 900 years.  It looked like to us that God didn’t make him suffer the trials of this world for as long.  And, we learned from this that just because God takes someone earlier than you would think, it doesn’t mean something bad. The second thing was that, at first, we did our math wrong.  I knew it was wrong because we had the flood starting before
the death of Methuselah and we knew that wasn’t right.  Rex, the 10yo, told me that the flood actually started 4 days after Methuselah died – I haven’t confirmed that yet but it is certainly an interesting fact if it is correct.  So, I went back and luckily, it was only 2 back where the mistake had been made.  So, in the end, everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to.  The passage of scripture with the dates in it is Genesis 5.  Today we used math to convert cubits to feet in order to figure out how large the ark was – the kids’ mouths dropped open when I told them that 75 feet deep was larger than our property line width.   We’re still in our second week, but so far, I am loving this program!

My son also asked Dad about how to make a compass – and dad was amazing and dropped what he was doing to show Rex how to magnetize a needle (by rubbing it over a magnet) and then they found a piece of craft foam and floated it in some water.  It’s still pointing North several days later.  I’m thought that I had pictures of them creating it for you but alas it looks like the dryer gremlin has brought a friend to infect the camera and ate the pictures. However, to the left you will see the finished project – the Dragonfly Compass – not very portable but a lot of fun anyway!

Hmmm, let’s see – what am I forgetting? Oh, Yes – the most EXPLOSIVE project of all!  Well, actually Implosive, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

waiting…waiting…to see what’s going to happen

As previously discussed, we are using 2 books to learn about Chemistry and the Table of Elements for this unit.  Today we used an experiment out of Flash! Bang! Pop! Fizz! on Implosion using nothing but the stove burner, a bowl of ice water, and an aluminum can with 1TB of water in it.  The kids loved this project!  My favorite thing about this book is that it doesn’t tell you what is going to happen before you do the experiment – it just has you do the project step by step.  Then, basically the entire book is redone in the second half of the book explaining why everything happened the way it did.  Also, during the experiment phase, they usually have you come up with one element of your own to change.  Rex suggested cooling the can in the ice water and using a small amt of ice in place of the water – it was interesting watching them come up with the parameters of the new experiment. (And, learning to never change more than one part or it invalidates the test.)

Favorite “trophy” of the day
What happens when I do……this?

Oh yes, let’s not forget their self created “experiment” of dropping drops of water on the hot burner and watching it skitter across the surface. Yep, Monkey got a little toooo into that one.I have to be honest – today was not going so well – it was one of those “he’s touching me – she’s looking at me” kind of days. But, luckily a fun science experiment was able to change moods fairly quickly – and, as an added bonus, the rest of the day went pretty calmly as well – woohoo for science!

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What have been some of your favorite science experiments or any type of project that your family really enjoyed?