My oldest daughter LOVES birds. She has always loved studying birds. So when I got the chance to review the Apologia Educational Ministries with their Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day textbook and the Junior Notebooking Journal we were both thrilled.
The 240 page hardcover textbook retails for $39. It can be used for the elementary ages, adaptable for kindergarteners who will need help reading the text through 6th graders who will enjoy reading it independently. As the textbook name implies, this is a christian based textbook with biblical truths throughout.
This textbook contains 14 chapters teaching what zoology is to explaining what makes up the characteristics of birds and then moves onto learning about the insect kingdom. Each chapter contains sections to read and experiments to do with plenty of pictures to illustrate the points being made in the text.
If you need help with teaching from the textbook there is a page listing many places you can receive help from. Also included is a list of materials needed for each of the experiments with most of the material commonly found around the house and those that are not, examples of where to find them. The index in the back will help you locate a previous lesson concept or search for a future lesson.
The spiral bound softcover junior notebooking journal is priced at $24 and are for those who are beginning to write primarily the kindergarten to 2nd grade ages (There is a notebooking journal for the grades 3rd through 6th, those who already know how to write, that goes with the above textbook). With a note from the author explaining why notebooking will help your child retain the knowledge s/he learned from the textbook, to the table of contents that follows the textbook, a page of helpful information and then a chart breaking up the textbook and journal into a timely 28 week schedule. There are many learning opportunities with coloring pages, biblical copywork, and worksheets in all 224 pages plus the 59 notebooking pages in the back, there is plenty to reinforce what they have learned in the textbook.
Following the schedule as close as we could we read and narrated the text, worked on a few experiments and worked on the corresponding notebook journal pages. We learned what zoology was, how animals are classified with their Latin names-where we came up with our own mnemonic phrase to learn the classification system and by the end of figuring out our own phrase we were cracking up laughing, flight and air pressure using straws and water-kids were surprised by the result of that experiment. We also learned about habitats, the instincts of animals and the extinction of some animals like the dodo bird. We were able to go on a nature scavenger hunt at a local resource center which had specific bird watching stations.
With the notebooking journal they had coloring pages to do while I read them the sections in the textbook. They also did scripture copywork having to do with birds, a crossword puzzle on animal vocabulary, and wrote down fascinating facts they learned about birds. My 9 year old and 7 year old alternated on pages to do but I want to buy another journal so they each get to do the book and enjoy working on each of the pages instead of having to choosing what page they want to do.
We learned what makes a bird a bird, the benefits of birds, how to identify birds by their colorings, bird calls and we also observed birds in our backyard although in the wintertime there weren’t many birds out. Unfortunately with the flu we were unable to make the bird houses at the end of the chapter 2, which my daughter had been excitedly waiting for.
I also found out that there was a Facebook group specifically for this textbook and that they help you out also besides all the authors resources and there just had been mentioned on the group a Netflix video for my kids to watch that complemented the text from chapter one.
I love that there is so much support in using the textbook that allows my children to learn about a favorite subject. I love that the textbook and notebook has biblical truths throughout it-a very important point in considering what curriculum to go with. I love that there is a few different scientific experiments to do in each chapter and that the notebook journal has a variety of activity pages to do.
The few downsides I can see is the fact that you have to buy more then one notebooking journal if you have more then one child working on the textbook, which can get expensive but I see why you should-for making the notebooks and I am likely to purchase separate ones for my children soon. The other downside was it was harder to observe birds and insects in the wintertime when most have migrated or hibernating though we were able to go to an observatory that had bird watching stations.
All in all I would choose to go with this curriculum again and would even consider the rest of the curriculum from Apologia Creation science series based on my experience with just this textbook and notebooking journal.