I love Apologia Educational Ministries' Young Explorer Series. In our homeschool with my older boys we've done three of the books and I have the complete set for my littles to work through. These books are Charlotte Mason inspired and have lots of hands on activities. Kids learn through lecture/reading and then telling you what they remember.
For this review I received the new and completely updated Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Set.
- Student Text
- Notebooking Journal
- Jr. Notebooking Journal
- Audio CD
Old Versus New
I personally own both editions so I think it is helpful to learn about the differences and see some examples. This new text is brighter. The illustrations and pictures are all updated. It honestly is so much better. It is organized better and easier to read the text with the way they've shorten and broken up the reading.
|The new book is bright with clearer pictures of the activities|
I feel like this edition is a must have and the updates have taken this curriculum to a whole new level. The same goes for the notebooking journals - in fact they are better organized (no more searching in the back for corresponding activities). There is color and updates in them as well.
The biggest change is the schedule from the front of the notebooking journals:
THE old version (pictured above) was a little hard to navigate. I found myself highlighting so I knew what we had completed. You used to have to flip around to find all the flip books and lapbooking/type activities because they were in the back.
The new version is broken up by chapters and even has a checklist. This is very easy to navigate. Everything is together for each chapter. All of the cutout materials are right in the corresponding chapters.
How To Use This Curriculum & How We Used It:
You can use this curriculum a few ways. Parent's can read aloud the book to the child or listen to the audio cd. Another option is to have an older child read the book themselves. If using the notebooking journal then that child would take notes while listening to the lecture and complete some of the pages like coloring, crossword puzzle or hands on activity.
The notebooking journal come in two different levels for kids as well. The big differences is the amount of writing from the junior version to the bigger kids version. The Junior version had coloring pages as well...
We have been using this book with my kindergarten student for the sake of this review. He isn't really able to do much with the notebooking journal (even the junior version) at this point because he isn't reading/writing well enough yet. So for us I've had him listen as I've read the text and do some of the coloring pages in the journal. He has also drawn some of the things we've read about on blank paper. We did the planet activity with balloons which was fun big brother was kind enough to help with this (he had done it himself a few years ago with the older version).
We didn't have a place to really tape down the balloons so we taped them to my couch. Saturn has a ring with marker around it but it is hard to see in the pictures.
|J-Man telling us which planet we live on|
Speaking of activities there are 42 activities in the book. So you will need to provide some materials to do these. Apologia has recently released a new science kit for this course exclusive to their site.
The lab kit contains most of the things you need (not perishables) for the 42 text experiments plus 21 additional that are only found in the kit. Personally I think this is must have. We have bought science kits each year for Apologia because having everything on hand for us ensured we did the activities. I know some have commented on the price but I personally found it to be very reasonable. For the planet activity this kit wasn't available yet so I had to purchase balloons. To make sure I had enough variety of colors the pack had to be pretty big and it was $10. So put that into perspective with the overall kit and the 63 activities. I also think for any kid who likes hands-on science this will be a big hit!
I love this updated version. I'm so happy with the changes. For us with Jace being in kindergarten this was mostly over his head but I was pleasantly surprised by how much he did retain. We will probably pick this book up again next year when he is in first and really dive back in again. One thing I love is how I was able to modify for his age. He needed me to help him but I know if he was in 4th he would be able to read and do most of the work independently. I think the journals are a wonderful addition to the overall course as is the kit and I personally wouldn't like to do without either.
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