Thursday, April 9, 2009
Apologia Science: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Review
I have heard about Apologia's Science books for a long time, and last year when a homeschooling mom offered me one of hers that she no longer needed, I snapped it up! That was Exploring Creation with Astronomy, and while we haven't actually used it as our "Science" yet, I've caught my kids looking though it several times because they think it's really great.
I was really excited that Apologia was one of the TOS Crew vendors, and we were thrilled to receive Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day to review.
Apologia was know for their upper level science books for a long time before adding Jeannie Fulbright's books that now make up the Young Explorer Series. All these books are titled "Exploring Creation with..." and then whatever specific discipline they cover like the Zoology book we received (which is one of three Zoology texts-the other two cover swimming creatures and land animals), or the Astronomy one my friend gave us, or Botany. Don't let the fact that these books aren't the "general science" approach most other curriculums offer scare you into thinking they might be too intense for elementary aged kids. These are written for K-6th graders, and while they do concentrated on a specific branch of science, they are definitely kid friendly and engaging.
There are lots of "Pros" to these books. First, see how gorgeous the cover is? The whole book is like that! Each pair of pages has at least one picture, and frequently two or three. And they are really nice pictures too. But those aren't the only pictures the book uses. Kids are encouraged to keep their own nature notebooks where they can draw pictures and record facts about what they have learned. And, like any science text, there are some experiments, but I found these were easy to do, and very effective in demonstrating the lesson to be learned. I wish my science had been this much fun! Also, the text is written as if someone is talking to the students, so it is full of questions to make them THINK about "why" things are the way they are.
But the biggest pro to me is the fact that these books are REAL science from a Christian perspective. God and His word are gently woven in to the text throughout the book. For example, when talking about feathers, it says, "Feathers are incredible works of God...God made them light enough to allow birds to fly but strong enough to keep them from breaking." Or in the discussion about Precocial birds, it talks about how they often gather their young under their wings, and then it quotes Matthew 23:37 where Jesus describes that same action.
I don't have any "cons" for this book, or the others I've seen. But I do want to share what I THOUGHT might be a con in case anyone else is thinking the same thing. I was a little concerned at first that this was going to be a whole book on birds. I thought it might be too specialized. My really limited perception of "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day" skipped immediately to birds, even though other things are featured on the cover. I guess I assumed the insects were there because the birds eat them! And honestly, I love birds. So do my kids. But a YEAR of birds sounded a bit daunting. Silly me! Flying Creatures does cover birds...and SO MUCH MORE!!! It covers every living thing that flies...or has every flown. Birds, bats, insects, and even flying reptiles like the Pterosaurs are all covered at length. Definitely not boring by any means.
The bottom line for me is that I want the WHOLE line of these books. They are so wonderfully written and the photography is first rate. The experiments are easy even to me, who generally avoids things like that. I have learn so much just reading though this book. Things I never learned as a child. And they are presented in a way that I know I and my children will remember them for a lifetime. I can't recommend these books highly enough!
To view all of Apologia's offerings, or to purchase these books, which are $39 each, go HERE. To see what other TOS Crew members said about this or or two of the higher level books they reviewed, go HERE.