Inside: If you are looking for a well-rounded Earth Science curriculum written for homeschoolers, look no further. Apologia will take your kids on a discovery tour around our home planet Earth and help them develop an awareness of the universe at large…
Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. As always, I’m honestly sharing my opinions and experiences.
Science is my absolute favorite subject to explore with my children, but I often run into an all-too-common problem. So many science curricula, so little time! What’s a homeschooler to do?
Part of the fun of being a homeschool blogger, though, is that I often get a chance to test out awesome educational materials before I need to decide if we should commit to it. This is a task I embrace enthusiastically because I love evaluating curriculum materials and finding gems that support my kids’ best learning experiences.
When it comes to picking a curriculum, I toss preconceived notions out the window, preferring to expose my children to a wide range of views, ideas, and standpoints. Even though I might be leaning towards one take on science, I would never say no to well-thought-out textbooks written from a different perspective.
I encourage my children to draw their own conclusions and insist only that they stay committed to reason as they broaden their understanding of the world and search for meaning.
Speaking of understanding the world, let’s get back to science.
Apologia Earth Science
Earth Science is one of the titles in the widely successful Young Explorers series published by Apologia, an award-winning homeschool curriculum provider. The main textbook is filled with spectacular photographs and graphics. And what’s more, it’s packed with hands-on activities and science experiments.
Check out our video below for a full scoop!
A recent survey showed that even though 71% of Americans say they are somewhat interested in science, only 30% seek it out.
With the right resources, we can help our children fall in love with science, learn how to use scientific thinking in everyday life, discover just how mistaken “conventional wisdom” can be, and tap into the world of evidence-based research to enhance our lives.
What makes day and night?
Why does ice float?
Is there really an invisible shield around planet Earth?
With fourteen clear, coherent, and colorful lessons, Apologia Earth Science takes our kids on a trip around our wonderful planet Earth. From the definition of the observable universe (chapter 1) to the unique places on Earth (chapter 14), kids walk away from this curriculum with a clear understanding of their place in the physical universe.
More than a Textbook
Earth Science is fun, engaging, and informative. It’s written specifically for homeschoolers by a former university professor and veteran homeschool mom Rachel Yanis. Yep, not only does Mrs. Yanis hold advanced degrees in molecular genetics and developmental biology, but she also homeschooled her three children.
In keeping with scientific impartiality, religious references are kept to a minimum, so you can choose to take this curriculum in from an academic rather than a devotional standpoint.
However, Apologia Earth Science is more than a textbook.
Each chapter includes hands-on experiments that can easily be done at home. For example, in chapter 1, we made an expanding-universe putty and created a galaxy mobile. In chapter 5, we made a mountain out of paper to understand convergence and played with chicken eggshells to understand tectonic plate movement.
Studies on learning show that actively engaging with the topic helps kids better understand and remember the lessons. The regular and junior Notebooking Journals were specifically designed to enhance your child’s learning and encourage active engagement.
The more senses are involved in our experiences, the better we learn and remember. Whether your kids are cutting and pasting, coloring, summarizing, doing a word search, jotting down fascinating facts, or assembling a mini-book, they are actively involved in the learning process (and having fun along the way).
Your textbook comes with a super-secret password that gives you access to the additional resources on the Apologia website. Those additional resources link you to outside materials that relate to Earth science. It’s a great tool to help you remember that knowledge is not only in a single textbook, it’s all around you in many different forms.
For example, in our latest chapter, there were links to cool kids facts, a video, a game on the American Museum of Natural History website, and a whole bunch of links to reputable organizations like the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Kids Earth Science page.
Since Earth Science is a completely new curriculum, it doesn’t have an audiobook yet. But we seriously dig the audio versions of the older Apologia courses we’ve tried (you can choose from Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Physical Science, Human Anatomy…) Having a complete text of the book in audio format gives you so much more flexibility about your learning!
Your kids can listen while you do the dishes, and then you can go over discussion questions together. I also love that kids can listen to the course while following along in their textbooks. For all the audio learners out there, it’s a fantastic resource.
The Inside Scoop on Using Apologia Earth Science
– Our Schedule: The Sprint Strategy
Each lesson is designed to last 2+ weeks, with the goal of finishing the whole curriculum in a school year. But of course, as homeschoolers, we are free to adapt this schedule to our needs.
In my family, I find that we waste too much time (i.e., where’s the book, where is my notebook, where did we stop, where did my pencils go, what was that experiment again,…), when we take a long break between the lessons.
So my favorite strategy is to start the textbook and do it at every opportunity (every day, or perhaps even a couple of times on the same day broken into smaller manageable time slots). And keep going until the textbook is done!
And then we make a special dessert to celebrate and bask in the triumph of completing the whole textbook. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but this strategy makes the textbook routine feel, well, less routine, and more like an exciting challenge with a great finish line.
– Ages: Not Quite As Expected
The curriculum is designed for elementary grades, but it didn’t exactly work out that way for my family. My 8-year-old jumped off the wagon shortly after chapter 1. Only my precocious 10-year-old (she has a couple of college classes under her belt) and my teenager stuck around for the ride. I don’t think our experience is unique. In my opinion, the abundance of abstract ideas, comprehensive vocabulary, the amount of text per page, and the detailed experiment descriptions make it more suitable for middle grades and above.
– My Favorite Part
One of my favorite parts is the review questions for each chapter. The material in this book is interesting but at times pretty abstract and advanced. Review questions allow me to discover the areas that my kids didn’t completely grasp.
The questions also seem to be perfectly designed to highlight the most important aspect of the lesson, so my kids walk away from it with a clear understanding of the bigger picture.
The guided questions are also indispensable when I am just plain tired and don’t feel like racking my brain for quality topics to start our discussion.
2 winners (the USA or Canada only) will get an Exploring Creation with Earth Science set. Winner’s choice of Regular or Junior.
If you feel a tad confused about finding the right Earth Science curriculum for your homeschooler, worry not, we found the answer you’ve been looking for. In this post, we take a look at the main components of Apologia Earth Science. Click above and watch a video to help you decide if it’s the right fit for your family.