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For us, science in the elementary years was literature rich, so I was surprised when our Lit based curriculum creators transitioned to Apologia Educational Ministries for high school course work. We’ve now used Apologia for the last few years, and I would like to share our review of Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set to share how it helped solve some specific needs for our graduating class last year.
Apologia is a long trusted name in the homeschooling community. I have been blessed to hear the heart of their ministry at several homeschool conventions. They are a family business that has grown right with the homeschool community, but the heart and vision to honor Christ has remained their central focus the whole time.
They have extremely high teaching standards and are deeply invested in making sure our young homeschool populations excel in the class room as on standardized tests when they need them. I have seen the results myself with each of my students testing above proficiency in Science yearly. Last year my sons were scored College ready in the 10th and 11th grade.
First off, I initially hated the idea of using a text book. I remember them being terrible, dry, boring and choppy. I hated just getting a taste of a subject and as soon as I was interested the course work moved on to a new subject altogether. It seemed like I never got the whole story or the depth I desired to maintain interest. I was worried that my kids would react the same way.
I wanted my kids to get a deeper, richer, learning experience. When we searched all of the curriculum choices out there I eventually chose a literature based program. They have loved it. I have loved it. So, you can imagine my surprise when we hit the eighth grade and my program, that loved reading books, threw a text book into the mix. They recommended Apologia for high school science. I read their reasons and trusted their wisdom, but still, I was not totally sure.
Over the last four years I have become a believer in using Apologia Science as my source text for science learning in the upper grades.
Elementary science is a time for introducing concepts and subjects. Often we experienced broad coverage over a large range of topics with some units digging deeper into studies. High school, however, is very different. To get the continuity we needed I wanted a more organized approach. Text books offer a systematic coverage into the full spectrum of study.
Deeper Learning with Experiments and Observations
Marine Biology begins with learning about the oceans of our planet. The continuing Units cover subjects like: sea life, Kingdoms within the ocean, deep breakdowns of specific Class groupings and ocean environments and ecological systems. The learning at this level is in depth with two weeks spent in each unit. Typically there is a Module guide sheet to prepare your student for the test, experiments to observe the concepts covered and a very clear and helpful Study Guide.
Textbook Designed for Readability
These text books were created with your students in mind. They are made for reading. Paragraphs are shorter to reflect modern reading styles and even the print is larger to reduce that dreaded overwhelm students can get from looking a a huge selection of reading.
Alternatives and Aides for Reading Success
If you are immediately turned off by the thought of a text book, like I was, it is great to know that Apologia offers support for every type of learner. We were able to download the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD in MP3 format so my auditory student can listen while reading, or review from anywhere.
I know this will be great when my younger son takes Marine Biology in a few years. He struggles with reading and I can see the scientific words being a stumbling block for him. The Audio component removes that obstacle so he can focus on learning. Science is NOT his reading class. The purpose is to expose him to scientific concepts and ideas. If reading is a stumbling block for your student, don’t hesitate to use the Audio CD to support them.
Here are all of the ways they are helping All types of learners.
Schooling with a group that was a little further apart than the recommended age span has given us a few unique situations to try to work around. When my oldest son entered his last year of high school he had already taken Apologia Chemistry. His younger high school siblings felt that they were not ready for that Chemistry because they were both struggling to get through Algebra. I needed a course that they could all take together.
Combining Different Age and Ability Groups
I came across Apologia Marine Biology at a homeschool convention over the summer and knew it would be a perfect fit for our family. Everyone would get a high school science credit and they would be taking an upper level science that had high demand. Since they had already taken Apologia Biology, my Freshman, Junior and Senior were able to work together, saving me teaching time and finances.
Keeping Track of Individual Work
The Advantage Set makes it easy for multiple kids to do their own course work because of the individual Student Notebooks and test booklets. You can order as many as you need. They can make notes as they read and fill in all of the information in the prepared locations while they complete Labs and Experiments.
Providing For Every Type of Learner
Families like mine with kids who can work together have an advantage of studying as a group to prepare for tests by working as a group, but the Audio CD or Apologia Video Instructional DVD are also ways you can make sure you student really get the most out of the course. These are vital if you feel like your student needs more support because of factors that make learning difficult.
In high school, mastery is the object over introduction. Apologia makes assessing your students mastery easy. As a new to high school Mom, one of the things I found difficult was the exact way to grade my kids work. In elementary we worked until we mastered the concept. There were no failing grades because we worked until the subject was mastered.
Getting Familiar with Grading
I had never worked with letter grades and unsure how to proceed. Apologia makes it very easy to learn how to work within the letter grade system. The Student Notebook is invaluable as a grading tool. There is a breakdown of how the grading is done so you and your student can be on the same page. It is important for your student to have a hand in learning how grading works if they have not been earning a letter grade before this.
High school is the time for college bound students to start learning within the confines and parameters of the public system. Give them the advantage by helping them be successful when earning letter grades. It took my kids a few week to learn the effect a bad test score could do to a good grade. I would rather them experience this now, where we can correct the behavior, than when they are away at a college where they are going to pay for the class no matter what grade they earn.
Creating Documentation of Their Work in Labs
Last year when my three oldest used Apologia Marine Biology, the Student Guide was not yet available. I would not do this course again without it. I am usually very thrifty with our budget, but this is well worth the expense. So many times we had to hunt down a test that did not get entered into the notebook or copy a new lab sheet because we could not find the one they had last week. Then there was so much paper. Experiment sheets, notes, labs. Trust me; get the Notebook.
Dissections and Experiments to Go Deeper
Labs and experiments in Marine Biology are created with deep learning reinforcements in mind. As with any high school science course our students preformed several dissections throughout the year. It might make you or your student squeamish, but dissections are a rich learning experience. When done with care and respect, students learn to work with accuracy and use keen observation skills. The kids were able to work with a Dog Shark this year and were able to learn a great deal from it. Getting to see all of the systems they had been learning about all year was a skill builder and cemented their learning.
Keeping Notes for Reference
The kids got to compare their binders to the Student Notebook and each of them said they wished that they had had one last year. Everything they needed for the year is held neatly in the strong spiral binding. The note area actually taught a popular note taking method my kids have learned to use. Lab sheets were clearly marked with prompts and observation notation areas.
Confidence to Face a College Work Load
After three years of Apologia Science my daughter graduated from our homeschool; having earned all of her necessary credits for College entry at fifteen. She was not ready to attend college classes and wanted to stay within her peer age group with AP Courses through the local high school. We are confident that she will do well because we used Apologia for the last three years of Science course work.
Seeing the Fruit of Our Labors
Attending the local public school for the first time my daughter is enjoying an advanced Anatomy Class and feels well prepared. She has always known she would attend college and I know she is college ready. This is one of the greatest things any homeschool parent can say. With Apologia Science, I helped my child be prepared for her future and I can’t wait to see where she takes it.