Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Review
Apologia provides quality K-12 creation-based homeschool science curriculum. The book I reviewed was Exploring Creations with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. This book is for the elementary level and contains 14 lessons about birds, bats, pterosaurs, and insects. These lessons can be divided into two segments to complete the book in 32 weeks. Some might wonder whether it's good to spend an entire year on zoology but Apologia believes that the benefits of the immersion approach far out weigh the spiral approach used in the the public school system.
There is a comprehensive list of materials needed for all lessons at the beginning of the book. As a parent who likes to be able to quickly find information, I appreciated this. If you don't want to take the time collecting these materials for each lesson, there is a kit you can purchase separately with all of these materials.
There are two methods of record keeping and evaluation used in this curriculum, which are different from the typical worksheets other curriculums use. Narration and notebooking are used instead to make learning information more meaningful and memorable. We are not a notebooking family here but many families are and if your children enjoy this method of recording information, this is a great way to do it. My son does not like to write and I often have to come up with alternative ways to show he has learned information. The suggestions in this curriculum for notebooking are mainly writing down what the student remembers from what he has learned and then illustrate it. I wish there would have been more creative suggestions for different ways to record this information for children who don't like to write. The narration part became one of the more important ways for him to show what he had learned. In addition to these two methods, there is a Scientific Speculation Sheet included at the beginning of the book, which can be used to record results of experiments done throughout the course.
The text contains a lot of information. Some (like the classification of animals) may be above your child depending on his age. But I am a firm believer in throwing the information our there and letting them pick up what they can. The text itself is written to the child and is a very easy and enjoyable read. Upper elementary students could easily read this on their own; however you the parent will enjoy it too!
"What do you remember?" questions are included in each chapter. This gives a nice way to review without having to come up with the questions on your own. Answers to all narrative questions are provided in the back of the book.
The projects and experiments were great! Some required more than household items but with a little extra time and preparation, they were worth doing. We really enjoyed this part of the book and it brought everything together. My son especially liked the glider experiment where he made two gliders with the only difference being wing size. They were then flown exactly the same way to see how this affected the distance of flight. The instructions for building the gliders were very simple and easy to follow.
This is a great science curriculum! We have learned a lot and really enjoyed using it. You will find yourself observing birds everywhere or looking for insects in a new light. There is also a course website where you can log on and your child can dig deeper into areas of interest. There are also lapbooks available that go along with this course.
The cost of the book retails for $35. To find out more about this book and the many other books they offer, please CLICK HERE.