Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Noeo Biology I vs Apologia Exploring Creation Series

I'm rethinking science for next year. I've loved Noeo's Biology Curriculum and how it uses what are called living books as the curriculum rather than a "textbook" approach. The books have been hit and miss. We definitely have our favorites and not-so-favorites. I love the Usborne books with Internet Links. So far, we've only used the Pocket Nature book, but soon we'll be getting into the Usborne Internet-Linked First Encyclopedia of the Human Body. But we have not cared for the "One Small Square" series of books. They're not written toward young children, although they protest to be. They just aren't on the same level as the Usborne books.

Friends of ours are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with...Series and we're going to give it a try next year. I love that it's only one book, $25 for a year! I like that the experiments and activities (and there are lots) are done from things we normally have around the house. I like that it has a faith-based slant to it, not going into doctrine, but acknowledging that the earth and everything on it was created.

Just using a scale from 1-10, here's what I think of the books we've used up to this point in Noeo:
(1 being the very best)
DK Eye Wonder: Weather - 3
Usborne Pocket Nature with Internet Links - 1
One Small Square: Cactus Desert - 8
The Boy Who Drew Birds: John James Audubon - 2
Audubon's Birds of America Coloring Book - 2
One Small Square: Seashore - 8

Books we haven't used yet and what I anticipate regarding them:
One Small Square: Woods - Not looking forward to this one...same reasons as with the other "One Small Square" books
Pasteur's Fight Against Microbes - this book looks a bit too mature, but we'll give it a whirl and see what we get out of it
Usborne Science Activities: Science with Plants - I'm excited for this one and confident it will be enjoyed by the girls
Usborne's Internet-Linked First Encyclopedia of the Human Body- Again, excited and confident that it will be fun and they will learn a lot.

We did not purchase the Ein-O's Smart Box Weather Science Kit or the Young Scientist's Club Experiment Kits. When the lessons have called for experiments, we have supplemented with our own by searching online for something we can do homemade or looking at Janice VanCleave's Biology for Every Kid. I've been happy doing it this way. Happy that we didn't need to spend $60+ on experiments but that we could still have fun experiments that taught the same principles on a thriftier budget!

Pros with Noeo:
real books
notebook assignments where Autumn writes what she's learned, in her own words

Cons with Noeo:
some of the books are not that great...
having to come up with your own experiments if you don't buy the kits
the expense of the kits and overall program (too bad we weren't able to find ALL the books at the library...)

Things I think we'll like about Apologia:
although one textbook, geared toward kids and has a very "real" or "living book" feel to it
experiments included and made from mainly household items

So...we're going to give Apologia a whirl next year! I'll post periodically about how it goes.

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