TOS Review: Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics

I have reviewed (and loved) many products from Apologia Educational Ministries in the past, so I jumped at the chance to review their Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics curriculum! Honestly, I had been eyeballing this particular book for quite some time, but due to budget constraints, I could not purchase anything. Receiving this book for my review was a huge blessing!!

Typically the Exploring Creation books from Apologia are aimed at grades K-6, but I am using this book for my 7th grade son’s science this year and I feel it is totally appropriate for him. First, I will say the book, like all offerings from Apologia, is beautiful. The full color text has amazing pictures, and Jeannie Fulbright writes in her usual conversational tone. Each chapter is chock full of information and experiments! I will admit, we do NOT do every experiment listed in the “try this” section of the text, but we do most of them, and they are great. The experiments usually consist of items you probably already have at home (plastic cups, corn starch, salt etc.) or things you can easily purchase at the dollar store. I love the fact that each chapter has several experiments to choose from, all of which reinforce the content. There are 14 chapters on topics ranging from matter, to thermal energy, to motion.

Water density

I have tried many science programs over the years, and I have to say that Apologia’s are the most practical we have done so far. In a lot of programs I have found the the experiments are so involved, or require so many specific items, that we just skip them. With this program, we can EASILY do the majority of the experiments, and they are fun!! Easy is important to me as a busy mom. If something looks too complicated, or is too expensive, I’m probably going to skip it, but that is not the case with Exploring Chemistry and Physics.

How many pennies can it hold?

Do-it-yourself lava lamps!

I also like how very thorough this curriculum is. If you complete the whole curriculum, your kids will have a lot of knowledge when you are done. In the past we have studied Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Zoology 2, and Anatomy and Physiology, and I am impressed with just how much my kids still remember. I feel like these courses are a great way to introduce these complicated topics to your kids, and give them a reference for when they study them more in-depth in high school!

As part of the curriculum, we also got to use the Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal. These journals are a nice addition to the curriculum. In the front there are lesson plans that break each chapter into assignments two days per week. Each notebook has different activities including space to take notes, review questions, crosswords, copywork, and mini-books. These activities really help reinforce what your child is learning in the text.

In addition, all of the Apologia books come with a code that gives you access to exclusive content related to that book on their website. This content includes links to websites related to the topic, videos and all kinds of other things.

Studying surface tension.

My son and I are thoroughly enjoying Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. I think this is going to be one of our best years for science yet. The lessons are meaty, but easy to complete, and he is learning so much from the experiments and activities. The Chemistry and Physics text costs $39.00, while the Notebooking Journal costs $24.00. There is even a Junior Notebooking Journal for younger kids that you can use if you are teaching multiple ages at once. I highly recommend Apologia’s science curriculum as an economical choice for a great science curriculum!

To see what other members of the crew thought of this book, click here:

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Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables

MMMM….veggies. I love them. My kids, not so much. So I am always in search of recipes that bring fresh vegetables to our table in new and exciting ways. This recipe for Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables was yummy and easy.

Ingredients:
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
2 squash
1 zucchini
3 cloves garlic
1 portobello mushroom
4 red potatoes
Sprinkle of paprika
Sprinkle of oregano
Sprinkle of garlic powder
1 cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Directions:
1. Wash the vegetables.
2. Chop the peppers, onion, zucchini, squash, mushroom, and potatoes into one inch chunks.
3. Mince the garlic
4. Place all vegetables in a large bowl.
5. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and season with the spices to taste. Toss vegetables to coat.
5. Place vegetables in pan coated with non-stick cooking spray or lined with foil.
6. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Essentially, you could add whatever vegetables you want to this recipe and just add the dressing and cook! Easy-peasy. 🙂

To see other recipes from this week’s Try a New Recipe Tuesday link up click here:

My Wiggly Boys

My silly boys.

Our topic for the blog cruise this week is “teaching the chatty, wiggly child”. Oh my, I definitely have two of those. My boys are, well, all boy in the sense that they are always moving-fidgeting-fiddling around kinds of kids. They can’t be still, they ALWAYS have something to say (and more often than not, it is off topic) and they seem to be in a constant state of movement. I have to be honest, to my orderly, organized “teacher-brain”, this is the kind of behavior we try to stop in the classroom. All that movement is distracting, and once one kid is off task, they all get off task! So, learning to deal with (and love) this chase-the-rabbit-trail kind of behavior has been a process for ME in our homeschooling. These are some of the things I do to try and accommodate my active boys while still making sure we get work done.

1. Allow frequent breaks.
Seriously, some days we take a short 5 minute break after each subject. This allows my boys to run outside for a minute, pet the dog, have a conversation, look up something online they just thought of, play guitar, or add a piece to their latest Lego creation. At first, this was really hard for me, because I am a “let’s dig in and get school done” kind of girl. However, I quickly realized that my sons did not have the same attitude, and the more I tried to push them to be like me, the more miserable school became for all of us. By working small breaks into our schedule, my boys know they will have a few minutes to move around and do what they want at the end of each subject. This helps them focus more on the work at hand when they are doing it. Yes, it extends our day a bit, and we finish school around two instead of at noon, but does that really matter? Not to me!

2. Stop and Listen
Although I hate to admit it, when I am “busy” doing something, and one of my kids tries to tell me something, I often only half-listen, giving a nod when they are done and sending them on their way. The thing is, my kids KNOW when I am not paying attention to them and usually, this only causes them to talk more. I have learned that when one of my kids is just bursting to say something (even if it doesn’t really relate to what we are doing at the moment) it is best to just stop what we are doing, let them talk, and pay attention to what they have to say. So if, in the middle of grammar, my youngest suddenly interrupts and asks me if I remember the story that we read last year, about the pirate who does all this cool stuff, instead of telling him to be quiet and get back to work, I answer his question. Oddly enough, just doing that seems to resolve the problem. After we have had our conversation, my son goes back to his assigned work and finishes up. In the past, when I have been more work-focused and would not make room for these interruptions, it often led to a LONG disruption that ended with tears, fighting, and declarations of “you never want to listen to me”.

3. Keep it in Perspective.
This is probably one of the biggest things I have learned about homeschooling and life in general. One of the reasons I wanted to homeschool is to spend time with my boys because I felt they were growing up too fast and I was missing most of it. I try to remind myself that childhood comes in seasons, and that these boys who drive me crazy with their constant movement and chatter won’t always be like this. There will come a time when their lives will be full of jobs and friends and I will miss these moments. When you’re in the middle of the craziness it is hard to see, but I know that these days (however hectic) won’t last forever. At some point I may even long for a random interruption to my day because it is far too quiet. So I strive to remember that when I am trying to teach a science lesson and my boy determines he just has to ask me about last week’s trip to the grocery store right at the minute. Or when a spontaneous light saber war erupts during reading time. Or when someone decides the dog needs to wear a blanket as a cape as I am trying to explain the difference between mixed numbers and improper fractions. God made these boys the way they are for a reason, and the joy they bring to my life is worth all the craziness!

Do you have a chatty, wiggly child at your house? To see what other members of the crew had to say on this topic, check out the blog cruise here:

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