This curriculum was given to me for review purposes. I recieved no compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
First of all, as the name clearly states Exploring Creation with Astronomy is a Christian-based curriculum. If you don’t want something Christian, this is not the science curriculum for you.
Don’t Be Intimidated by Homeschool Science
Homeschooling science (like math) seems to be one of those subjects that worries homeschooling parents. I know I was nervous when my first bunch of homeschooling students moved on to the upper grades. In a fit of inspiration, I ordered a shark for dissection (at the request of my children). By the time it arrived, I found out I was pregnant. Morning sickness kept me bound to the couch for so long, I finally just let the kids go at it for fun. They still remember this fondly.
Exploring Creation with Astronomy Curriculum Overview
Exploring Creation with Astronomy is published by Apologia. A few years back we use the Land Animals curriculum and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would give this a try with my reluctant learner, Apollo (age 10).
As with many curricula, Exploring Creation with Astronomy gives you the option of buying just the textbook or also purchasing the notebooking journal that goes along with it. If you are harried, and short on time, buy both.
Exploring Creation with Astronomy Textbook
The Exploring Creation with Astronomy textbook is hardback, full of bright, beautiful pictures with the reading section broken down into small chunks (much like the ever-popular DK books). This makes the book unintimidating and inviting for students, even reluctant ones. This is not a textbook they are going to look at with fear or dread. This textbook costs $39, which is a great price for a solid textbook. The great news? You will only need one, no matter how many students you are teaching.
The textbook contains 14 Lessons which I find strange. Yes, the fourteen lessons cover fourteen topics, but it seems like an odd way to break it down, considering the average school year lasts 180 days or around 40 weeks. It doesn’t tell you anywhere in the textbook how to break down the lessons. The Parent Guide in the front of the notebooking journal says, “The schedule is flexible and should be adjusted to fit your family’s goals”. For me, this works just fine, but may not be ideal for Type A personalities. I personally think this would be a great full-year curriculum, especially if you decided to dive even deeper into topics that really spark your child’s interest.
Please Note: The notebooking journal does contain suggested daily lesson plans. I don’t know why this isn’t included in the actual textbook.
Exploring Astronomy with Creation Notebooking Journal
This is a customizable minibook to be made and placed in the notebooking journal.
The Exploring Astronomy With Creation notebooking journal is created to go along with the textbooks. The notebooking journal is an extra, and not required to use the textbook. The journal spiral bound and has a beautiful glossy cover with space for the child to write their name. In the front, it has the lesson plans broken down in a clear and concise manner. It tells you what to read, what assignments to do, and has optional projects as well.
The notebooking journal has quite a few pages that are lined like this. On one hand, I like being able to keep all of Apollo’s writing in the journal. On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed about how many pages were like this, because it just doesn’t feel very inspiring. Maybe because I make my own curriculum on the side.
Note: They also offer a JUNIOR Astronomy Notebooking Journal for kids ages 6-8. This is a brilliant solution for those families homeschooling multiple children in multiple grades.
I would definitely recommend getting the notebooking journal, one for each child. A few years ago when I used Exploring Creation with Land Animals I invested in a notebooking journal for each child and felt it was worth the money.
Science Kit Overview
The Exploring Creation with Astronomy Science Kit is priced at $49. It includes most of the items you need to do the projects from the book. If you are looking to be extra thrifty, you may be able to assemble this for less, but honestly, it would be very time consuming and I’m not even sure it would be cheaper when it includes specific items like Styrofoam ball, 2″ diameter, and 2 Alkeseltzer Tablets (since you can’t just buy two at a time). If you are planning to do the experiments, I think it is well worth the $49 to just have the items on hand.
The Problem with the Experiments in Exploring Creation Lab Kit
I ran into a problem with the science experiments in lesson one. Listed in the notebooking journal, (color-coded in brown, meaning it is an optional experiment meant to be used with the lab kit) there were no instructions whatsoever. I spent way more time than I care to admit looking in the textbook, the notebooking journal, the box the kit came in. I looked on the Apologia website and finally asked on Facebook. The answer? No one seemed to know what I was talking about and I never did get an answer. This makes me wonder if it was left out of the science kit I received.
I finally found this review on the curriculum and saw how the experiment was to be done, but this still didn’t answer my question about where to find the information. If I get an answer, I will absolutely come back and update this review.
The second science activity is Make a Sundial…which we will do, but once again I do not have the information about how to make a sundial.
Conclusion: Is Exploring Creation with Astronomy Worth the Price?
The truth? I really love the Exploring Creation series. The textbooks are beautiful and give me a solid foundation for digging deep into our favorite subjects. I personally recommend buying both the notebooking journal (one for each child) and the science kit. And while this particular book was sent to me to review, I have used other Exploring Creation textbooks in the past and been equally happy with them. When I finished our Land Animals book, I passed it on to a homeschooling friend who was able to use it with her children.
If you have any specific questions (or the answer to my question) please leave them in the comments.