Saturday, February 9, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Apologia Science - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

I was so grateful to begin the new year with our latest curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Gess has spent much of her life at the doctor's office and those visits have sparked an interest in how her body works.  She asks lots of question and understands quite a bit but we had never really studied the entire human body at once.  Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology is turning out to be a great way to do just that. For the purpose of our review we received the following:

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Textbook

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD


Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology is an elementary level science program.  It has a lot of information in it so I would say it certainly is geared more toward upper elementary (grades 4-6) but the Junior Notebooking Journal allows you to use it with younger students as well as those who have special needs, like my daughter, so it could technically work with grades 1-6.  This way your older students get a thorough study while the younger students, who may not absorb all the information, will still get a solid foundation to build on.

As the title implies the curriculum is based upon the biblical concept of creation and the entire textbook emphasizes that concept.  Each fascinating element of our human body is pointed out as examples of the awesome precision and beauty of God's design.  In the first chapter there are sections titled Creation Confirmation that show how science is not only compatible with Christianity but how it confirms creation to be true.  Looking ahead I can see it also points out some of the fallacies of evolution and debunks a few of the lies used to support that theory.  While this is not an apologetics curriculum I like that it does take a little time to discuss the issue.

How it Works

Each chapter studies a different system of the human body.  The first chapter began by introducing you to the cell and it's structure.  Throughout the chapters there are several Try This segments that have the student stop and do a short activity that focuses on the particular concept they are learning.  They are not too involved but always enhance the lesson.  Gess has mummified an apple, made a clay figure, ran around with eggs, and slapped a counter top among many other things.  All of these activities really helped her to remember the key points of the lesson.  There is nothing like getting hands on to help a child remember things.

You also are given various Notebooking Activities throughout each chapter.  Unlike the Try This segments these are activities you place in your journal and usually include writing, definitions, logging facts, coloring, copy work and more.  While the textbook mentions that the Notebooking Journal isn't necessary to purchase because you can make your own, I believe it is a wonderful companion especially for special students like my Gess who need some guidance.  Instead of just having to write on plain paper in your own notebook, they offer a great visual way to start so the child knows what to do.  They also include mini books that you can make to keep a record of the interesting facts that you have learned during each chapter.

At the end of each chapter there are projects or experiments to do that are much more detailed than the Try This segments which are also lots of fun.  Gess loves doing experiments and so far she has loved these projects as well.  Here she is making an edible cell.

First we gathered all our materials.


Can you tell which parts of the cell these will be?

Then we made the jello.

We then placed each part into the cytoplasm (jello).

Here is what our cells looked like at first.

When we dumped them out they looked like this, probably because I didn't let it set long enough.  I also had trouble getting the jello to mix well to begin with. Still, you can kind of see it all.

Then it was snack time! I don't think Gess was fond of the lemony cytoplasm.

My daughter has special needs and yet because of these fun activities within each lesson she knows the parts of a cell better than I do.  When we were working on our cell mini book Gess had to define or draw each part of the cell.  Well, she did it ALL from memory.  In fact I could not quite remember what the golgi body looked like myself and so I looked it up, but by the time I found it Gess had already drawn it correctly. She certainly put me to shame!

They also have a Personal Person Project that you do as you go through your book.  At the end of chapter 1 you make a paper outline of a human body.  The Junior Notebooking Journal has one made for you that you can cut out.  I am not sure if the regular one does, but I expect that it would.  You then cut out your child's face and glue it to the top.  At the end of each chapter you place the body system you just learned about on top of your personal person cut out. At the end of the book you will have made and labeled all of the important body systems.  In the Notebooking Journal they have beautiful overlays to cut out and use.  So far we just have the body and the skeletal system.

The MP3 Audio CD basically reads the textbook material to you audibly.  While it doesn't necessarily go word for word it is handy to be able to have it available.  I would read a lesson with Gess and later have her follow along with the CD to help her review the information.  I found one segment that was missing though.  It was there but it was silent while it was supposed to be reading.  It's also good to play while the child does their coloring pages.  During chapter two the book mentions the bones song and on the CD they sing it.  Gess really enjoyed that. In fact she got up and started singing it too.  We did that segment quite a bit.

The Junior Notebooking Journal also has a suggested schedule to follow though they say it is only a guide and assure you that isn't necessary to complete every activity.  Their plan has you do a lesson 2 days a week taking 2 weeks to complete a chapter.  We did it a bit differently.  We did a lesson every day but still took two weeks to complete a chapter.  That made the lessons shorter each day.  We also do the projects and experiments over the weekend or in the evenings rather than during our regular school day.  That not only keeps us from using up too much time during the school day but it's a fun way to include daddy in the lesson too.

My Thoughts

I absolutely love this curriculum and Gess is really learning and grasping it well.  It has something for every learning style; reading, writing, listening, memorizing, physical activities, and hands on projects. While science is already Gess' favorite subject I believe this material really presents it in a way that not only makes it easy for her to learn but also to retain the information.  The other day we were driving down the road and she was chewing on her fingers, a habit we have been trying to break. When I told her to stop chewing on her fingers she informed me that those were her phalanges.  I then joked with her and said, "I hope you aren't chewing them down to the bones!"  While it was funny, I was impressed that she remembered what the finger bones were called!

The Junior Notebooking Journal was incredible and I would highly recommend it.  There were a few pages where I wasn't sure what was supposed to go on them.  They were probably left without instruction so you could add some of your own thoughts or ideas. You know, be creative, however for me that was hard because I am not creative.  I wanted to know exactly what went where.  It really did have everything you could need and so much more.  The personal person inserts alone make this book worthwhile to me. It will be a wonderful resource when it's complete.  Gess will love thumbing through it remembering her favorite studies and activities.

So far we have only noticed one mistake in the Textbook though it wasn't really a mistake.  It actually made me smile.  While you are learning about your cell structure the book says, "Just like the information in an encyclopedia is packaged into different books, DNA is packaged into units called chromosomes.  Each of your cells has 46 of these packages of DNA."

While that should be the case, my daughter happens to have 47 chromosomes!  Gess has Down syndrome which is also called Trisomy 21 because her twenty first pair of chromosomes has 3 rather than the usual two.  So I told Gess while that is usually the case, in her instance she has more than 46.  I always tell her that is because God blessed her with an extra one because she is extra special.  I am certain the author never really thought about the fact that not every child who read it would actually have 46 and of course that is certainly what they are supposed to have.  Let me assure you that I took no offense.  I just love the fact that my daughter who has that extra chromosome is reading, understanding, comprehending and learning this material so well! 

As you can see, overall I am very pleased and truly recommend this curriculum. We are having tons of fun and most importantly learning a great deal of information.  While I wish they had a package price with a small discount if you ordered everything, I do think that each of these items are worth the price except for maybe the MP3 CD.  It had a few flaws.  As I mentioned earlier the one segment was missing and a few things didn't follow the textbook correctly but I think that was due to recent changes in the textbook.  Still I found it to be very beneficial for my daughter who has special needs.  It really helped her review more independently which makes it worth the price to me.

How to Purchase

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum can be purchased from the Apologia Educational Ministries website.
The Textbook is $39.00
The Junior Notebooking Journal is $24.00
(the Regular Notebooking Journal is also $24.00)
The MP3 Audio CD is $29.00.

To learn more visit the Apologia Educational Ministries website or see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about it by clicking on the banner below.  Other members received the Regular Notebooking Journal and some got to review the Apologia Exploring Creation Science Zoology curriculum.  I am sure you will want to see what they had to say about those too.


Apologia Educational Ministries has many other great resources as well, some of which I have had the pleasure of reviewing.  You can read my past reviews on Who Is My Neighbor, Who Am I, and  I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist to learn more about those.

Disclaimer in accordance with FTC Regulations: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Textbook, Junior Notebooking Journal, and MP3 Audio CD for giving my honest opinion and assessment of these products in my review. It was not required to be a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Note: All pricing is current at the time of posting and is subject to change


Stefanie said...

Wonderful review. Anatomy was hands down our favorite book of all.

Under the Sky said...

This is such an excellent review! All the photos of your daughter are just wonderful. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into your review - it really shows!


Erin Wright said...

Thanks so much for your review. You've sold me on the Junior Notebooking Journal! We've been using Apologia Science for three years, but we hadn't found the journals as useful as this one seems to be. Thanks again!!


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