We are studying Exploring Creation Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by Jeannie Fulbright this year for science with our ten-year-old and seven-year-old twin boys and we are loving the book so far.
This comes as no surprise to us because we have used Apologia for high-quality science material for years. I also have two children studying the high school level Chemistry course and one child studying General Science for her 7th grade course. Apologia remains the science curriculum of choice in our homeschool.
If you have been thinking about switching to one of the books from Apologia Educational Ministries for your homeschool science curriculum, or perhaps you are just starting out, here are some criteria we are looking for when we choose what to purchase.
Does the science curriculum you are using teach from a young-earth creation point of view?
As a family, we feel very strongly that the Bible is God’s inerrant WORD. We interpret the book of Genesis literally and firmly believe that the earth was created in seven literal days by God himself. One of the reasons we choose material from Apologia Educational Ministries over and over is because they not only hold to this view, but the materials they publish also do an excellent job defending this point of view with solid evidence and teaching our children to do the same.
In this book, you are going to discover the animals God made on the sixth day. Let’s find out exactly what the Bible says God created on the sixth day. Genesis 1:24-25 says:
And God said, “let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. [NIV] (p. 1, Land Animals of the Sixth Day)
Does the homeschool science curriculum of your choice teach the scientific method?
As adults who appreciate a solid education, we want to make sure our children have the skills they need to succeed in college and life. One of those skills is to be able to complete experiments using the scientific method. Not only will this help our children do their labs in college science courses, it also helps our children learn to think critically and analyze carefully. We love how Land Animals of the Sixth Day incorporates the scientific method into each unit with lab sheets to complete for each experiment.
Our very first experiment involved sorting candy and counting it by color. Then, we dropped all the candies into a laundry basket filled with construction papers the same colors as the candy. And we predicted how many we would find of each color during a specified timed period. Then we wrote it all up on a lab sheet once we finished. Would you like to guess what scientific knowledge was illustrated by this experiment?
Does your science curriculum engage your students?
Speaking of candy, we especially want to ensure that our children are listening to the science lessons we teach, excited about the material covered, and interested in learning more. If they don’t listen, they don’t catch the young-earth-creation worldview. So it is extra important that they are engaged in the process.
Boring information and fact memorization does not engage students. The beautiful pictures, conversational “living” text, hands-on projects and fun experiments in Land Animals of the Sixth Day are what keep our students engaged.
Does your homeschool science cover the important basics.
Land Animals of the Sixth Day covers everything your child needs to know about the animal kingdom and more. We talk about mammals and reptiles. We still talk about habitats and the food chain. It’s all in there and it’s all presented with a Christian narrative bringing God into the story of animal life.
“It might make you sad to learn about an animal and then learn that it gets eaten by other animals. Do you know why this bothers you? It’s because you were created in the image of God and have emotions that are similar to God’s emotions. The Bible says God notices when a single sparrow falls to the ground. He cares about the animals, just like you do. It is a sad thing to God that animals are now predators and prey.” (p. 4, Land Animals of the Sixth Day.)
Can you tell if your child is actually learning anything in science?
One of the things I personally love about Land Animals of the Sixth Day (and all of the other books published by Apologia for elementary science) is the variety of ways students are asked to regurgitate what they have learned. From notebooking pages to mini-books to crossword puzzles, narration, and even drawings – children are given the chance to show what they know in the Student Notebook available for each level.
This notebook takes all of the activities suggested in a chapter and makes them available in worksheet or colorful mini-book format that you work through as you go along. I also love that there is a Junior Notebook available – so I can expect less of my six-year-old than I might expect from my eleven-year-old who are both using the same book.
In addition to the curriculum, my children display all that they are learning during normal conversation and daily life. We enjoy walking in the woods behind our home and as we walk, all kinds of science knowledge learned from Land Animals of the Sixth Day and previous books pours out of their mouths.
On one particular day we had to stop and inspect every hole for critters who might be living inside. I think Joshua was expecting to find a colony of bats in this tree (something we studied last year in Flying Creatures) but it didn’t stop there. We were also on the lookout for skunks, raccoons, foxes, mice, snakes, and more.
Are the instructions in your science curriculum clear?
As a parent, nothing is more frustrating than incomplete information for the homeschool teacher. This is especially important for me because I have health issues that require frequent surgery and that means substitute teachers in the form of my mother-in-law and father-in-law. They need to be able to pick up with curriculum right where I left off and with clear instructions of how to move forward while I am healing.
I love how well laid out Land Animals of the Sixth Day is for moms and grandparents and whomever else you need to have teach science. The front of the book has a list of necessary supplies and instructions for working through the book. The front of the student notebook has a recommended week-by-week schedule for reading the text and completing the notebook pages. It is all laid out for you!
Every once in a while, I get the urge to go and look at new science curricula just to see what is out there. But each time we do, we end up asking ourselves “Why?” Why mess with something that works really well and meets all of our criteria so beautifully? We always end up coming right back to Apologia science as our science curriculum of choice because it really is the perfect solution for our homeschool science needs.