As a mom of now college age children (young adults!) I just wanted to review one of our favorite home school subjects.
My older kids started with the Apologia Botany book many years ago (K, 2nd, 4th grades). We were hooked on the notebooking (before it became so popular) and the multi-age level ability to use the text. I believe it was the one thing that made my children not only better artists, but lovers of observing nature. We then went through each of the Zoology books, and Astronomy. I then repeated this process with my younger child. We have been through the series twice. All four of my kids loved it!
Only more recently have I gone through the newer books in the series (Chem/Physics and Anatomy & Physiology) book with my younger son. I must say that these last two in the Young Explorer series are definitely geared more to a 5th-8th level. That being said, it is a great next step before they enter the upper level of sciences (which were always a giant step for my older children around 7/8th grade). We have had a blast doing the activities and gently becoming familiar with advanced terms and ideas. I believe this will be very beneficial to my younger child and the leap into upper science will not be such a daunting task.
I would say to moms who find this curriculum a challenge to remember that narration and making the activities fun will be remembered long after other details may be forgotten. Enjoy!
My son, who is in the 5th grade, and I just recently purchased this curriculum and we really love it. It is very informative, has interesting pictures, and great projects. We recently made a model of a cell out of jello and candy. He had fun with it! I love how it ties in biblical facts into the lessons. I also purchased the journal to go with it and it has been very helpful to use with the lessons.
I really wanted to love this curriculum. After all, it was a look in my friend's Apologia Botany notebook that clinched my decision to homeschool my three kids this year! (Ages 13, 11, and 6) It looked so much more interesting and hands-on than any of the science texts I had growing up. Now that we've been through a few units of Human Anatomy and Physiology (the topic chosen by my kids this year), I feel like I can write a proper review.
First off, this curriculum was slow to get going. Instead of jumping right into anatomy, it goes through the history of anatomy studies. Then it goes through cells and their organelles. I thought the history bit was kind of boring (even though I generally like history), and the cell stuff was definitely over my kids' heads. I doubt they'll remember any of it, despite doing all the notebooking and the (admittedly fun) edible cell project. We have just finished the skeletal system, and frankly, it is just too in-depth for kids. I never even learned about osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and I took Biology up to grade 12 level in a good school! I don't think my 6 year old grasped much of it at all (other than the fact that we have bones). I really have to disagree with reviewers who say it's age-appropriate. I do NOT believe in dumbing stuff down for kids, and all of my kids are quite smart, but this stuff is really geared for high school in my opinion. I frequently have to skip sections or re-word things, and that was not what I wanted to do in my first year of homeschooling! We also don't have time to do science every day, and there is SO much material to go through that I don't think we'll finish it this year, and we won't want to finish it next year.
I do like that this book is written from a Christian viewpoint, and I like the somewhat "conversational" tone of the writing. I want to be clear that "conversational" does not mean pandering or belittling. It is also not a super-expensive curriculum, so I think it's good value. The "Personal Person" project is neat, and we are also doing full-sized traced bodies for each of my kids.
I chose this curriculum based on the MANY positive reviews here, and frankly I'm disappointed. I regret this curriculum purchase, and I don't think I'll chose Apologia again next year. I might try the Botany stuff eventually, since that's what caught my attention, but my kids aren't terribly interested in Botany. The notebooks are quite good, but the text is just too in-depth for any kids younger than 10. And even though two of my three kids are older than 10, they are often confused by the plethora of information presented.
I like all of Apologia material. It's modern yet gives grade/age appropriate material. My 10 1/2 yo has enjoyed working through this book; she's doing the labs/experiments w/ out local co-op. I appreciate how the material points to God and His creation. Each book Apologia allows for tailoring to your childs needs.