If you can teach chemistry at home without wincing or you don't like Christ centered textbooks read no further, this course is not for you. If you want a curriculum to teach chemistry at home from a Christian perspective then read on. Exploring Creation with Chemistry: 2nd Edition (ECWC) follows Exploring Creation with Biology, or another high school biology course. A student must have completed Algebra 1 before beginning this course.
ECWC follows the module pattern of lower level Apologia courses. It consists of a hardback student book and soft back teacher/test book. The student book includes 16 modules, experiments, on your own questions, module review questions and practice problems, answers to the on your own questions, and more. The teacher/test book contains teacher notes, answers to the review questions, solutions to the practice problems, sample calculations for selected experiments, solutions to extra practice problems, module tests, quarterly tests, and test solutions. This is our 4th year using Apologia courses and this is the best course so far. In fact, I think that they get better and better. The second edition of ECWC includes some great features not included in previous courses. My favorite is the removable test section. This feature made copying tests very easy (which Apologia gives the purchaser permission to do).
I will admit my bias in this review now - this is the only chemistry course I considered using. I have used Exploring Creation with General Science, Physical Science, and Biology. They are Christ centered, they were easy to use, my students learned a lot, the books withstood the rigors of continual use over several years, and they are affordable. Based on these facts I would not consider switching companies. A great bonus for my children is that they have gotten comfortable with Dr. Wile's style of writing and teaching. I find that a child who is comfortable with their material learns better and easier than one who must spend time getting used to their instructor.
Students should expect to spend a minimum of 45 minutes per day, 5 days a week to complete this course in a typical school year. Many experiments will take longer than 45 minutes. I strongly recommend the multimedia companion CD to go along with this course. Students will also need safety goggles, a calculator, lab notebook and laboratory supplies. Lab materials are available through Apologia as well as other online resources. Students need to observe common safety procedures while performing the experiments in ECWC. Dr. Wile writes, "The experiments in this course are no more dangerous than most normal, household activity. Remember, however, that the vast majority of accidents do happen in the home. Chemicals used in the experiments should never be ingested; hot beakers and flames should be regarded with care; and all chemistry experiments should be performed while wearing eye protection such as safety glasses or goggles."
A student who puts forth the effort to score 80% or better on all their module tests, completes the experiments, and keeps a laboratory notebook will be very well prepared for college. This is not a watered down version of chemistry for homeschooled students. A student who is not college bound, or one who struggles with science will find this course difficult to complete in 9 months. I would recommend spreading the course over a year and a half to help these students study this material.
Last year I worried that I did not have the "best" science program for my children so I spent a day wandering through the vendor hall of the Georgia Home Educators Association curriculum fair. There were over 100 vendors, and many carried science courses. One thing I noticed repeatedly was that many textbook publishers don't write to homeschoolers, they just make their material available to home educators. I love the fact that Dr. Wile has written his courses FOR home educators! I also appreciate the high level of customer service I get from Apologia. Over the past 4 years I have written the help line on a monthly basis and every question gets a personal response, usually the same day. In my 10 years of homeschooling, this is the only company to provide this level of service. I give Exploring Creation with Chemistry 5 stars. This is a fantastic course!