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Middle School Science for the Independent Homeschooler

Middle School Science for the Independent Homeschooler
I received a copy of this curriculum and compensation in exchange for an honest review. 

Middle school, a new adventure for this homeschooling mom. Transitioning kids to more independent learning while increasing the difficulty to an appropriate level plus preparing for high school and deciding what kinds of classes will best do that. It is a little daunting.

I had honestly overlooked Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition while looking at and trying to plan for middle school years. After all, I have a 6th grader this year! I was too used to the depth covered in the Apologia Elementary series that I didn't understand why a general science curriculum might be needed.

I was wrong. After looking through this curriculum it will definitely have a place in my kid's seventh grade school year. Especially since my oldest really hasn't shown a particular interest as far as science goes; I'm curious to see which part she loves the most!

What is General Science?

While Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition doesn't seem to be the most descriptive name, it actually is exactly how it sounds, a basic overview of many scientific fields. The curriculum begins with some history of science and teaching the scientific method and how to interpret results. This is followed by modules on astronomy, geology and paleontology, meteorology and oceanography, chemistry, physics, life science, biology, marine science, environmental science, and a short module looking at science and creation.

Like all Apologia texts, this curriculum is based on a Biblical, creationist worldview, and there are passages throughout the books to emphasize this.

Why would you use a General Science Curriculum?

Unlike the elementary courses or the high school courses, Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition does not dive deeply into each subject. There simply would not be enough time available to cover everything. Instead it gives a small taste of many fields to give a child base knowledge on each of these fields. It also gives them the knowledge they need to choose what areas they are most interested in when it comes to select high school course.

This course is intended to be a seventh grade science course to create a bridge between the elementary sciences and the more intense high school sciences.

Components of Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition

The basic components required for Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition curriculum are the textbook, student notebook, and tests/solutions manual. All of these are available in a packaged set for savings and ease of ordering.

Also available are an mp3 or CD of the textbook if your child is more of an auditory learner, or a thumb drive with video lessons if your child is more visual. These may be purchased separately or with a different package.

The text book is broken into 14 modules which are indicated by colored tabs on the side of the book. These are not actual tabs, just edge indexing; just want to clear that up since it has no variation in texture, only color.

Unlike the elementary curricula, the student notebook is a required. It provides a schedule for the kids to follow as well as space for note taking and for recording experiments.

It is also spiral bound, so it sits nicely for the kids to be able to take notes it. I do love that the notebook/ study guide is full color! The color just makes it a bit more engaging for the student using it.

The solutions manual not only includes answers to tests, but also to the study guide questions. It has the same edge indexing as the textbook.

There is a paper test booklet the kids can use for testing, but the tests are also included in the solutions manual. Tests involve matching, multiple choice

How Does Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition Differ from Previous Editions?

Like all sciences, advancements and discoveries have been made, and this newer version reflects those.

However, this 3rd Edition has also been updated to increase a student's ability to work independently with additional instruction for note taking and introducing exams with the first 2 being open book.

Along with being an nice introduction to upper level sciences, it also includes even more experiments and hands-on activities!

What I Like about Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition

This science curriculum is set up, so the student is in charge. It gives a full schedule for them to follow, and it is only a 4 days schedule, which I also love.  So this is curriculum is great as kids transition to more independent learning which is every homeschool parents goal!

But remember you are still responsible for grading your student's work, but luckily, Apologia has including not only a grading rubric for the experiments, but also a grading sheet.

In the back of the textbook a full list of experiment supplies is available, so you can be prepared. Most are general household supplies, but some preparation is required to find the appropriate piece and be sure it is clean and ready to go.

Like other courses from Apologia, Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition does have a section with resources for further exploration on the website.

Things to Be Aware Of!

I love that every module includes experiments. Hands-on learning is one of my favorite types to be sure, but I do want to let you know, that some of these experiments do require matches or other potentially dangerous substances. Always read through the entire experiment before allowing the student to perform it, so you can decide what sort of safety precautions are needed. 

Lab goggles and a nearby fire extinguisher are a must!

Things I would Change about Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition

I would really like it if the student notebook also had the same edge indexing as the textbook. It just makes everything a bit easier to locate. Honestly, a different color to indicate each module would be great, but that may be more of my OCD personality, and something I can achieve on my own with flags.

You can see there is not a whole lot that I don't like about Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition homeschool science curriculum. I definitely think it will be a great start to upper level sciences for my kids especially since it emphasizes independent learning.  Plus since it covers so many fields, my in decisive daughter may even find a path she likes before she heads into high school!

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