The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition (Hardback book) Review by Renee Knoblauch

Notebooking Journal
Junior Notebooking Journal
Jeannie K. Fulbright
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
1106 Meridian Plaza, Suite 220/340
Anderson, Indiana 46016

My kids and I get really excited when it comes to learning just about anything with science. I have to admit that it was more difficult than I imagined finding a science curriculum that met my requirements when I first started homeschooling. I wanted a full year science curriculum that was in-depth on the topics and not just scratching the surface of the subject. I wanted it to be Biblically centered with creation. I wanted science to show how amazing God is in all of His creation. What I found difficult with that equation was that several other science curriculums didn’t have quality experiments to go along with teaching about God’s creation with younger kids. It was the secular science curriculum that had the “real” experiments for younger kids. I wanted the hands on approach in a science curriculum that was centered on creation for my homeschool.  

Then one year at our local homeschool convention I discovered Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. and their Young Explorer Series by Jeannie Fulbright. I was pretty excited and couldn’t wait for the following school year to get started. I have been using Apologia Educational Ministries and their Young Explorer Series since then.

I am going to focus on these items for this review: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition-$39.00, Notebooking Journal-$27.00, and the Junior Notebooking Journal-$27.00.

To get the most out of Exploring Creation with Astronomy there are a few items that will enhance the curriculum. One is the Apologia Science Kit which makes it convenient having everything you need in one place. The Notebooking Journals, and access to an internet source to use the recommended Course Website. If you have a child that learns by hearing an Audio Book is available for the textbook. You will also need a few basic supplies that you probably already have in your home outside of the Science Kit.

Exploring Creation with Astronomy 2nd Edition is a Hardback book with 216 pages. This is intended for grades kindergarten through sixth grade. The Young Explorer Series uses the Charlotte Mason approach when teaching science. This has been updated for today’s scientific information. Another update in this edition is an amazing array of new full-colored photographs, and illustrations all throughout the textbook. The entire layout of the textbook has been completely redone. I was able to borrow the older edition to compare Exploring Creation with Astronomy against the new 2nd edition. I immediately noticed the updates as they really make it much more student and teacher friendly.

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is much more appealing to the eyes. The lessons are laid out a bit different. All the same material is covered with some additions to the text with updated scientific information. I also noticed that a few of the activities have been modified. Astronomy will teach your kids about space rocks, Saturn, the Moon, Kuiper Belt, Dwarf Planets, stars, galaxies, and so much more.

Scriptures are throughout the text when appropriate to the topic, “Wisdom from Above.” “Think About This” boxes which draw your attention to God as Creator.

There are 14 lessons in this curriculum. The chapter lessons are intended to be done over a two week period. You are looking at around 26 to 28 weeks of science in a school year. You could also draw this out easily into the standard 36-week school schedule. This gives you lots of freedom to dig into a certain subject more in-depth if your child wants to learn more about something they read in the textbook.

The Appendix has a complete Answer Key broken down by lessons. Also, a supply list for all the material needed for the experiments is broken down by lessons.

Notebooking Journal 3rd-6th grade and the Junior Notebooking Journal K-3rd grade have also been redesigned and have been updated to coordinate with the lessons in the textbook. This was not the case with the 1st edition notebooks. They both have a suggested daily schedule. The notebooks are a 3-ring comb binder. Everything you need to complete the assignments is in the notebook. There is ample space for assignments, and for recording your experiments results. There is a variety of hands on activities included in both notebook journals.

The Junior Notebooking Journal has a larger space for writing for younger children. The activities also require less writing. There are several fun coloring pages throughout the journal. The content is the same in both notebooking journals with the exception that the Junior Notebooking Journal is created with younger children in mind.

I honestly couldn’t have imagined Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. and their Young Explorer Series being better. The updates are amazing and make an already awesome science curriculum that much better, and from my kid’s mouth. “This is totally AWESOME MOM!” I always felt that the Young Explorer Series was very user friendly prior to the updates but, it’s so much better.

We have had so much fun learning about astronomy the last few weeks. My 10 year old son has been using the Notebooking Journal and my 13 year old daughter with Autism, and arthritis has been using the Junior Notebooking Journal. Both of my kids love doing there Notebooking Journals. They love exploring the night skies and sharing their knowledge with Dad at the dinner table.  

We have created a model solar system out of balloons. We have made a fun bookmark to keep their page in the notebook journals. That is just a few of the fun projects and experiments we have done so far.  I love that some of the activities include scripture copywork.

What is even better is that the schedule is all planned out for you. At the same time the schedule is flexible enough for me to go at our own pace on those weeks with a lot going on. The only preparation I have to do is to gather up everything for the day’s assignment. I love that I don’t have to plan out lessons!

I have enjoyed reading the textbook to my kids and we have lots of fun doing the experiments together. There are some days that I have my son read to his sister while I take care of other things that need my attention. My son could easily do this by himself if needed as he is an independent and self-motivating kid. My daughter needs a lot more help and isn’t able to read well enough to complete the assignments by herself.

I would highly recommend Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. It’s what I call and open and go curriculum. Which means all I have to do is gather the supplies from the Apologia Science Kit and open the textbook to read to my kids. It’s easy to use in my homeschool and at the same time it’s not a textbook teaching type that has all the boring dry reading. All of it is very hands on with the Notebooking Journals and experiments. It’s Biblically centered on God’s amazing creation.

I’m very impressed with Apologia and their Young Explorer Series. I look forward to using more in the future.

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016