Saturday, February 9, 2013

Exploring Creation with Zoology 3

If you have been reading my blog for any significant amount of time, then you are already aware of my love affair with Apologia Educational Ministries.  But I am begging you, please don't let my redundancy of praise stop you from reading on.  You are going to want to know about this resource...

First, a little background info.  From the Apologia website: "Apologia exists because a small group of parents wanted their children to have an academically strong education that would deepen their Christian faith." 

Apologia now offers:
       *a K-12 Creation-based science curriculum
       *worldview curriculum for ages six to fourteen
       *practical and inspirational books about homeschooling
        *refreshing retreats for moms
        *online classes from Apologia Academy

One of the products that we have used year after year with our children is Apologia's science curricula, particularly their Young Explorer Series written by Jeannie Fulbright.  This year however, we have teamed up with another homeschool family and are working through the same history and science curricula.  We meet once a week to do special projects and experiments having to do with those subjects.  At the beginning of the year we chose a different science text to work through.  When we came to a stopping point in that curriculum, we decided that we would like to spend the remainder of our school year using one of the Young Explorer Series from Apologia that neither of our families had used yet...and wouldn't you just know it?  It was about that time that I received an email from the TOS Homeschool Review Crew saying they were looking for reviewers to review one of the books from this series!  Um... yes, please!!  Pick me!!    

Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day arrived in the mail just in time for us to begin back to school lessons after Christmas break.  I would encourage you to check out all the nitty gritty details on the website including the full first chapter that you can read for free, but here are a few highlights of the program:

     ~14 Lessons, each focusing on different land animals.  Lessons can be spread out over a period of 2 weeks, though we have chosen to work at a faster pace, completing one lesson a week.  (We are currently on Lesson 5.)

     ~The text has beautiful, full color pictures!  I cannot possibly turn a page without being sure that every last child has seen each picture.  They all flock to the book when I announce I am holding it up for them to see during our read-aloud time. 

     ~This curriculum is perfect for elementary ages.  I am using it with my pre-K, K, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grader.  They are each enjoying it and being challenged by it which is the mark of a truly well-done multi-age curriculum.

     ~Your students will use both narration and notebooking as well as projects and experiments to complete this program.  You may also take advantage of a Course Website to dig a little deeper into each chapter's subjects.

Our family likes to read the lessons together which usually means I am reading aloud.  Generally I spread this out over two days as the chapters are so full of information and rather long.  However, we honestly don't mind that.  Jeannie Fulbright is a talented and delightful author.  She writes in a conversational tone which is especially engaging to our children.  Then we spend one day working on the Notebook, Map it!, and Track it! experiments as well as any projects or experiments.

In this photo, you can see one of our student's notebook binders as well as some Track it! examples.  She will put those animal prints behind the Track it! tab of her binder.
Our students also make a page for each family of animals, drawing or pasting pictures of those animals and including facts they have learned.  Obviously, these pages look different for each age level but the notebooking is great for reinforcing the material that we have read about.

I love the visual aid of the Map it! project that this curriculum suggests.  You can use any large map, but the lovely homeschool mom that I co-teach science with printed out this awesome, huge wall map.  Each week, the kids take turns placing pictures of the animals we learned about in the regions that they live in.
Above is a close-up of the stickers we are using.  These stickers do not come with the book, so you will need to print out your own pictures of the animals you are learning about.  However, if you purchase the accompanying Junior Notebooking Journal, these wonderful full-color stickers come with it!  I'll be talking more about the Notebooking Journal below, so stay tuned!

The projects and experiments are optional, but very fun and often using everyday household items.  Above is a picture of our kids enjoying 'The Cougar Eats the Deer' Experiment from Lesson 4.  Basically, they each took turns 'being the cougar' and tried to 'catch the deer' by throwing a cardstock photo of a cougar onto a taped off area full of photos of the deer.  If the deer were "caught", they died.  If the cougar didn't get enough to eat (land on the right amount of deer), he died.  As they recorded their findings, they also discovered how population increases or decreases of one species effected the other.

We also received the Junior Zoology 3 Notebooking Journal from Apologia recommended for beginning writers.  We had never used these journals which are offered with all of the Apologia Young Explorer Series before and I honestly had my doubts if we would enjoy it.  Since I only received one, I decided to assign it to H8, my second grader.  Not only did she fall into the recommended age range of the project (grades K-2), but I felt she was most likely to enjoy the extra work.  I was right!  She loves keeping this guided notebook, and quite frankly I will most definitely be buying these in the future because I prefer them over the traditional notebooking. 

Inside the Notebooking Journals you will find beautiful coloring pages that your kids can color while the lessons are being read aloud.  Actually, usually several of my children gather around this one journal to help H8 color during the read aloud time!

Each lesson includes lined pages for narration work to be completed and pictures to be drawn to go along with the lessons.
There are also cut and paste vocabulary activities to complete.

I loved these fun drawings that H8 drew to demonstrate what to do (and what NOT to do) if you come in contact with a bear.  She actually completed this without any instruction from me and both my husband and I got a good giggle out of her creative comic-like drawings!

In addition to my photos, you'll also find copywork pages (in both cursive and print), project/experiment pages, Explore More pages with additional activity, DVD, and book suggestions, and more!  If that doesn't sell you, I'm telling you those full color Map It! Stickers that I mentioned above are worth the price of the book!  Speaking of price, the Zoology 3 Junior Notebooking Journal sells for $24.

In conclusion, I am so happy that our family decided to conclude our science studies this year with Exploring Creation with Zoology 3!  I have and will continue to recommend this curriculum again and again.  You can purchase the Zoology 3 text for $39 at the Apologia website.  You may also enjoy reading reviews from the TOS Review Crew of this and other Young Explorer Series curriculum.
Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
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  1. What a fantastic review! Thank you so much for putting to much time and effort into it. I really like all the fun photos.

    Great work!



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