Homeschool Science Curriculum Review: Apologia
We have used Apologia Science for our homeschool science curriculum for our entire homeschooling journey, which is coming up on 20 years now. I have had 3 children go through the high school curriculum and all but my first one have gone through the elementary series.
When I first started homeschooling, Apologia was already on the scene and very entrenched into the homeschooling world. Almost everyone I knew had their kids in this homeschool science curriculum. Apologia has become the gold standard among homeschool science curricula.
While I definitely think this is a quality curriculum, there are other options now and Apologia may not be the best for everyone. I am starting to hear new homeschooling moms who aren’t loving this as much as we did back in the day.
It has been nice to have a new set of eyes on the homeschooling world and curriculum in general. Sometimes we just stick with what we’ve always known, even if there are better things out there.
Here is my review on this curriculum. I have used it extensively in many settings and would like to let you in on what I know so you can make the best decision for your family.
Also, Apologia offers much more than just science, however this review will focus on the science only.
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how it's laid out
There are 7 subject areas in the elementary series, which they call Young Explorers.
- Zoology, which is divided into 3 categories: land animals, ocean animals and birds.
There are chapters in the books and each chapter has several lessons, with comprehension checks and experiments scattered throughout. The comprehension check are usually in the form of a narration.
At the end of every lesson is a notebooking activity, as well as the experiment. There is a list at the beginning of the book of the items you will need, and the experiments use common household items.
All books in all levels come with a notebooking journal, which is sold separately.
You do not need to purchase this in order to complete the curriculum. Sometimes I use these and sometimes not.
I like them for the elementary kids, but my kids didn’t like them in highschool. I don’t really have a reason, it’s more preference.
I think the notebooks are well done and could be a good supplement to the books, as well as making your life easier, especially at the high school level. The elementary notebooks have other hands on activities, as well as mini books, puzzles and extra reading suggestions.
There are 10 subjects in the high school series.
The high school subjects include:
- Marine Biology
- Health and Nutrition
- The first three in this list also include an advanced version.
There are two middle school subjects:
- general science
The high school books have modules in them, which function like chapters. Each module is on a different concept related to the book’s theme.
Within each module are several lessons and experiments.
Within each lesson, there are questions in a section called, “On Your Own” to check comprehension. These are scattered throughout the modules and the answers are available in the back of each chapter. So you can check your child’s understanding as they go along, instead of on a test at the end when you realize they aren’t getting it.
There are experiments in almost every module. They are easy and simple to do and there is a list provided in the front of the book of all the materials you will need for the entire course.
They typically use very simple household ingredients or things you can find easily at the store.
At the end of each module is a study guide that prepares the child for the test.
There is a separate book for quizzes and test, as well as the answers to those.
Both elementary and high school levels offer links that you can use to supplement and enrich the lessons. These are updated and kept current, which is very nice!
The lessons are written to the child in all the books. I do like this feature as it helps keep the child accountable and assumes they will be responsible for their learning.
This is especially handy in high school when they don’t always want to have you as their teacher.
I usually read the elementary books to my children while they color a corresponding page that I download for them. We do the comprehension checks and experiments together, as well.
In high school, they are on their own, but I stay involved, helping them as needed.
We have looked up Youtube videos to help us understand concepts and if they can’t answer the comprehension checks, I’ll go back through it with them to help fill in any gaps.
The general science is meant for 7th grade, so I do stay very involved with at that level, as well.
things i like
I love how this curriculum teaches children how to defend their faith through science. Every single chapter talks about creation, how the concept they are learning proves there is a creator and gives the children language to use to talk about it. They even take on myths or concepts that the world has grabbed on to to disprove a creator and tackle it head on.
I do appreciate this and it has helped my children see concrete evidence that their faith is real. Especially in the high school years, where it is so important.
I love the elementary series of these books! My children enjoy them, they have just the right amount of hands on and book work, but nothing is twaddle and they learn every day.
The books don’t talk down to them and ask them to rise up to the high standard they set. I appreciate that and we have many special memories of this curriculum in our homeschool.
This curriculum is rigorous. It demands a lot of your child, especially at the highschool level.
They will walk away from this having learned some serious science. My adult children still remember concepts they learned from this homeschool science curriculum, even from the elementary levels!
While they don’t always enjoy it because of the rigor, they do learn. It is something to be prepared for, however and I wanted to be up front about that.
I don’t love the high school curriculum. It tends to be dry and boring. I keep wanting to like it because there is such good information in there.
None of my kids have really enjoyed it and thought science was fun because of it. I had 2 children do these books in a coop setting and it wasn’t much better for them there.
I don’t know what to change, necessarily, but the high school books are hard to get through.
If you can stay with it, you will not regret it. There are gems to pull out and they do learn a lot, but it has been difficult for all of my children to mentally attend to this curriculum. Now, none of them are scientifically minded, so there may be some of that coming into play, as well.
The same is not true of the elementary series. Those books are fun, fascinating and rigorous at the same time. I highly recommend the elementary series!
I always suggest this curriculum to parents who are asking for science help. There is really nothing better out there, in terms of quality.
Having said that, I am going to try a new curriculum for my 6th grader for the rest of jr high and into high school. I will do a review of that curriculum here, as well once I get to know it better.