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Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Anatomy Notebooking Journal and Anatomy Junior Notebooking Journal Review by Heather Jackowitz

By Jeannie Fulbright and Brooke Ryan, M.D.
Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie Fulbright and pediatrician Brooke Ryan, M.D. is a one-year curriculum for students between the ages of 6 and 13. Fourteen lessons cover many subjects: the history of anatomy and physiology, cells, the skeletal system, the muscular system, the digestive and renal systems, health and nutrition, the respiratory system, blood, the cardiovascular system, the nervous and endocrine systems, the senses, the integumentary system, the lymphatic and immune systems, and growth and development. But the very best thing about this program is that it gives all the glory to God the Creator. Children will learn what makes them unique creations and how to be good stewards of their bodies.

The textbook is profusely illustrated with full-color photographs and illustrations, and the layout is clean and attractive. The authors write directly to students in an engaging, conversational tone. Older students can read the lessons themselves, but younger ones will need someone to read aloud to them. Each of the 14 lessons will take at least two weeks; a suggested schedule is included in the student notebooking journal. Throughout each lesson are various "Try This!" activities that are fun and easy to do and that reinforce what you are reading. At the end of each section within a lesson is a narration prompt, such as, "Take some time to tell someone what you learned about bone growth, remodeling, and healing." At the end of every lesson are various suggested notebook activities and a project or experiment. Most of these projects use items that you probably have lying around your house or can find easily. A couple of the experiments require more specialized equipment, such as a blood typing kit or a bacteria testing kit with agar and Petri dishes. A complete list of supplies you will need can be found on the Apologia website:

Apologia sells a finger-prick blood typing kit that is recommended for use during lesson 7 of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, "Life in the Blood." This kit includes materials for a single test: one Eldon card, four Eldon sticks, one automatic lancet, one alcohol swab, one sheet of Eldon foil, one cotton ball, one plastic pipette, and instructions. A five-minute video demonstration of the procedure is available at A warning in the instructions states: "Never use the result of this test as the sole basis for any medical treatment." For obvious reasons, this item cannot be returned once you have opened it. I highly recommend this kit if you are using Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, because hands-on activities always make science more interesting and memorable.

The Anatomy Notebooking Journal and Anatomy Junior Notebooking Journal are complements to Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. These notebooks are designed to correspond to every assignment in the textbook. They help students retain what they've learned and create a keepsake of their learning. They also provide a great tool for review. Each journal includes a daily schedule that suggests working on science two days per week for a total of twenty-eight weeks. I found this schedule to be a bit ambitious and decided we needed three or four days a week to complete one lesson every two weeks. It just depends on how long you want to spend doing science in one sitting.

The Anatomy Notebooking Journal contains the following components:

  • Personal person template--every organ system in full-color to cut and fasten to model
  • Fascinating facts templates--students write and illustrate narrations about interesting things they have learned
  • Crossword puzzles for reviewing each lesson's vocabulary
  • Review questions for discussion
  • Scripture copywork--both manuscript and cursive models provided
  • Project pages and scientific speculation sheets for recording projects and experiments
  • Full-color mini-books to assemble and fill with written narrations
  • More ideas to explore--suggestions for further study
  • Field trip record sheets
  • Final review--fifty questions to answer orally or in writing

The Anatomy Junior Notebooking Journal is designed for younger students or those with limited writing skills. This journal uses primary writing lines (a dashed line between two solid lines), and there is far less writing required than in the original journal. According to Apologia, you should not use student age to determine which journal to use; decide on the basis of writing ability. If your child is comfortable writing paragraphs, choose the regular notebooking journal. The Anatomy Junior Notebooking Journal includes the following components (with notes in parentheses to illustrate how this journal might be more appropriate for your younger and/or struggling learner):

  • Coloring pages to color while listening to the lesson
  • Personal person template--every organ system in full-color to cut and fasten to model (same as original)
  • Templates to label (pointers provided, correct number of spaces for each word, first letter of the word filled in) and spaces for short narrations (one or two sentences)
  • Vocabulary activities for key words in each lesson (mostly cut-and-paste activities instead of the lengthy crossword puzzle in the regular notebook)
  • Scripture copywork with both manuscript and cursive models (shorter verses and larger font than original)
  • Project pages and scientific speculation sheets for recording projects and experiments
  • Full-color miniature books to assemble and record short narrations (same as original, but with primary lines)
  • More ideas to explore--suggestions for further study
  • Field trip record sheets

Be advised that the Junior Notebooking Journal does look like a younger child's journal. My 12-year-old reluctant writer would have balked at the look of it, particularly the primary writing lines and coloring pages. I would only use the Junior Notebooking Journal for a very young child, but you know your child best. Just remember that no matter which notebooking journal you choose, you shouldn't make your child complete every activity. The author gives many gentle reminders to make learning an enjoyable experience for your children: "Every child is different, learns differently and will respond differently to the array of activities provided here. Use discernment in how many of the activities and assignments you use with your child. Your goal is not to complete every activity but to make learning a joy."

My two youngest children and I are learning a lot and having fun using Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. Jeannie Fulbright and Brooke Ryan have done a fabulous job explaining complicated material in an interesting manner. Although the program is recommended for children as young as age 6, I'm happy I waited until my sons were a little older--10 and 12 years old, to be exact. They seem to have pretty typical abilities for their ages, and this curriculum is absolutely perfect for them. They are able to grasp the material and explain it back to me, and the notebooking journals provide just the right amount of reinforcement. I do not think that would have been the case if we had used this four years ago when they were 6 and 8. But every child and every family is different, so be sure to check out the sample lesson at

My prayer for my sons as we continue to learn about our bodies using this fascinating and God-honoring curriculum is that they will join with David in saying, "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2011