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TOS Crew Review – Apologia General Science was made possible with a copy of the text book. We are affiliates with Apologia and use affiliate links that may result in a small commission for any purchases made through them. Thank you in advance.
For most Christian homeschool families, the name Apologia is rapidly recognized as a premier supplier of science books that acknowledge God as creator and present in all things. Before receiving a copy of General Science for review, we had completed a year study with the Exploring Creation with Astronomy from their elementary product line. I had already purchased all three zoology books for elementary grades as well and still plan to begin our studies with these later this spring.
General Science includes both a student text and a separate guide for parents with suggested answers to questions in the book. Instead of chapters, the book is organized by units with the idea that most students will spend approximately 2 weeks on a unit. The text is written in a more conversational style and has the On Your Own questions and experiments scattered throughout the unit. The On Your Own questions help them to focus on key points within each section of text. The experiments are spaced accordingly to reinforce certain points and include a discussion of what they should have found in the text after the experiment. The set (text plus the solutions and test manual) retails for $85.
Along with the suggestion to spend 2 weeks per unit, Apologia also encourages the student to maintain a separate lab notebook and discusses this in the introduction for the student. I remember doing lab reports in high school science, but did not have a separate notebook dedicated to science lab work until college. Personally, I find the introduction of this concept here to be a wonderful way to prepare any student for future study in the sciences.
For those who like to have a more packaged finished product to their studies, Apologia has authorized two different vendors to provide lapbooking options for their products. I won’t go into my own personal preferences, but rather suggest each family decide what will work best for them. Knowledge Box Central has created a combination product for the upper sciences that includes notebooking pages for the On Your Own questions, lapbooking booklets for the study guide questions at the end of each chapter, and lab reports (either with background filled in or all blank for the student to complete.) Some of the pages have color clip-art, but most is in black and white. Live and Learn Press has theirs strictly in mini-booklet format with the booklets covering all the On Your Own Questions and the Study Guide. Their booklets all have color included. Both companies offer a sample chapter on their website for you to download and test out.
Other ‘add-ons’ for General Science include the text read aloud (mp3 files on CD) and a multimedia CD. The multimedia CD includes videos to illustrate important concepts, animations of example problems, and pronunciations of words the student may find unfamiliar. Both of these extras cost $15 a piece. You can also receive the multimedia CD contents as part of the full course CD-ROM ($65 retail.) This has all the print materials (text and solution manual) on CD-ROM for the student to use while sitting at the computer.
As the first module is rather meaty as the student studies A Brief History of Science, I have allowed P to take closer to 3 weeks to complete. Along with the book, I have purchased the multimedia CD to help him visualize the concepts and problems. He also has been using the materials for this chapter from the Knowledge Box Central product. Another option to really expand their learning for each module are the book ‘extras’ page that Apologia maintains for each book. The website and password are inside the text and once there you will find links to interesting websites on the topics covered by module. By no means do you have to use this information to complete the course, but for some students it could add an extra bit of interest for the topics covered.
While the second and third modules continue on the idea of scientific inquiry and analyzing data, he is more excited about the later chapters on geology and the human body. As this was the text already under series consideration for P to use this next school year, I hope that he will continue to enjoy his learning adventures over the months to come. Science can be such a fascinating area of study and Apologia has done a great job trying to both prepare and excite students in their studies.