I’ve always been told that there are creative, artistic people (right-brained) and analytical, scientific people (left-brained). But, I’ve never really fit one of those descriptions. I can be quite analytical (I’m an accountant, after all), but I hate science. And I can be pretty creative in certain areas while not being very artistic. So, it was no surprise that my artistic and very creative daughter insisted that she study Biology in middle school. What did surprise me was how she used her artistic talents to learn a very scientific subject.
Through the years I’ve watched my kids grow, and I’ve learned what their talents and interests are. Back in middle school, I knew my oldest would excel at law. He adamantly disagreed, but six years later he is studying pre-law in college. My middle child is an exceptionally good artist. She always has been, and so I’ve always imagined her becoming an artist or designer. So, when she started begging for a more advanced science curriculum, I was a bit thrown off my game. I was expecting her to ask for more art or music classes. But, she insisted that she wanted a science curriculum that had experiments and used a microscope.
Choosing an Advanced Science Curriculum – Apologia Biology
Since I’m not all that much a fan of science, I thought I should leave the science curriculum deciding to her and her dad (who is a sciencey person). We made a plan to check out the science curriculum vendors at our local homeschool conference so she could see all the options. After much roaming of the vendor aisles (and her mother purchasing entirely too many products), she decided on Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology.
Her father (a Biology and Chemistry major) was the designated teacher of this course. This is his area of expertise, and I gladly gave up the reins. It’s not often that Dad gets to play a teaching role in our homeschool. So this was an excellent way for him to become a more significant part and to understand some of what happens on a day-to-day basis — even if it was only for one course.
What is Apologia Science?
Apologia is a Christian based curriculum company. Their science programs are for elementary through high school. We have used several of their science curriculums including Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures, Exploring Creation with Anatomy & Physiology and this course, Exploring Creation with Biology.
These courses are very detailed and thorough. For middle school and high school students, most of the work can be done independently with guidance from the parents. Each course comes with notebooking journals, audio CDs, and other resources depending on the topic.
Is Apologia for Your Student?
Honestly, this depends on what you are looking for in a science curriculum. So, let’s walk through a few essential areas.
Do you require a secular world-view?
If you are looking for a science curriculum with a secular world-view, then Apologia is not for you. It is a Christian curriculum with a strong focus on creation science. In the elementary curriculum, the copywork includes Bible verses, and all of the curricula references God and the Bible. However, it does not teach doctrine so that you can use this curriculum regardless of your Christian affiliation.
Does your student like to read?
My kids like to read, so they read the texts themselves. However, when they were younger, and I was reading aloud to them, I didn’t care for all the reading. Eventually, my throat gave out. Apologia has been introducing audio CDs to their curriculum, and I’m so excited. Now, those who don’t care to read can listen to the text instead.
Is your child artistic?
Like I said earlier, I was surprised when my daughter started using her artistic talents in her Biology course. One of her first assignments used the microscope and required her to draw what she saw. She was able to combine her favorite areas and learn a new subject.
Is your child a fan of science?
If you have a science-lover, then this curriculum is excellent. From the elementary curriculum on through high school, the texts are detailed and very informative. It doesn’t talk down to children but realizes that even young children can understand science topics. This is probably my favorite thing – I felt I was learning right along with the kids. It explains concepts thoroughly so kids can be inspired to want to learn more.
Do you need a lesson plan prepared for you?
A lesson plan for each course is laid out in the student work journal. I’ve found that I need to alter lesson plans in some ways to fit our schedule. This plan is laid out in a way that makes it easy to skip some things or to spread them out over a few days.
Are you looking for a college-prep science curriculum?
If you just want to fill high school requirements, then these high school courses may not be for you. These courses are college-prep classes (and according to my husband, rival his college classes). Each course takes a deep dive into the subject material, so the student has a thorough understanding of each topic.
Does your student like to do hands-on exploration?
As my youngest has been working through the Human Anatomy curriculum, she has discovered many interesting things about her body. She has built cells, performed experiments, and drawn her skeletal and muscular systems. Every lesson has a “Try This!” where she does a mini-experiment and at the end of the chapter, she performs a larger experiment. She really enjoys this hands-on learning, and though we don’t always get to do every experiment, there are plenty included.
Want to try out Apologia Science?
I, personally, never buy a curriculum without being able to see it beforehand. Apologia offers free previews of each of their texts. Just go to Apologia.com, choose the subject area, and then click on the VIEW SAMPLE tab. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…