The first negative for me has been the amount of reading. So much reading! Even I, the teacher/adult, began to hear the words, “Blah, blah, blah…” instead of what I was actually saying. I was prepared to do a lot of reading, but this is beyond anything I imagined.
I called my friend who uses Apologia books and complained to her and she explained that she thinks this anatomy book is probably the most advanced book that Apologia offers for the elementary years. She isn’t even going to use it with her kids until middle school.
I wish I had talked to her before I chose the most challenging of all the elementary books Apologia had to offer. Oops.
My friend suggested I cut down the amount of material each day and cover in four lessons what the book suggests I cover in two. I agreed that that would work, but realized that meant I would have to do science almost everyday in order to get the same amount of material done in one year.
I am not sure about doing science everyday. We do school work everyday, but science is a subject I prefer to do only once or twice a week.
Besides the loads and loads of reading, the notebooking pages had my daughter and I confused. They did not give the student directions on how to complete them or even offer suggestions or hints about what to draw or write on the pages. My daughter had to complete the page above labeled “Anatomy and Physiology,” but she was given no idea what she was supposed to draw in the two boxes or write on the lines under them. This was very stressful to us both for about ten minutes, until we decided together how to best fill the boxes and the lines with appropriate content.
My daughter ended up drawing the outside of a body and the inside of a body (as far as she understands what’s inside). I suggested she define the words “anatomy” and “physiology” but that ended up being the worst suggestion possible because the definitions are so long that the science class turned into a handwriting challenge and there wasn’t even enough room for the definitions on the page, so my daughter needed another page of lined paper just to finish her science work.
All this was very confusing to me and my daughter until my friend explained the obvious. This is a journal, not a workbook. That should have been obvious to me since the cover says “journal.” Kids are given spaces to fill with whatever they want, whatever was interesting to them, whatever they retained. There are no right or wrong answers, etc. The fact that there are two boxes on this page today does not mean there are two specific images the publisher has in mind for a child to draw today. There are just two boxes. The kid can fill one… or both… or neither.
I think we might have been less confused if we were just given a journal of blank pages to fill with whatever content we chose. The pictures and lines and boxes end up being less than helpful if what you are supposed to do is choose your own topic and create a page about something you are interested in.
So, after talking to my friend, I think I understand the Apologia program better, but I doubt this book will work for us. I really try to avoid making these kinds of mistakes. I wish I had known what kinds of questions to ask my friend before I made this purchase, because I think I will have to be looking for another science curriculum. We may also need to hold off on this one until my oldest is ready for something this rigorous.