Please note that the newer versions have been adopted by Classical Conversations, so watch editions if trying to purchase used copies!
Parents often have a difficult time teaching their kids math and science, primarily because they either didn't have much themselves or because they haven't had to use it since high school or college. Apologia introduces general and specific science using a student-directed approach that doesn't require a lot from parents or teachers. It makes science fun and interesting, helping to remove the scariness from a commonly intimidating subject.
The Young Explorer Series for elementary kids deals with the natural world, astronomy, and human anatomy and is based on the days of creation. The Exploring Creation books are for junior high and high school students and cover general science, biology, physics, and other more specific disciplines. There are some differences of approach between the two series, though the routine of reading text, answering questions and doing experiments is pretty standard throughout. You can learn more about both levels of books by clicking on the series links for more in-depth reviews.
There's no groundbreaking approach to science instruction to be found here—which is very refreshing. Students read text, complete exercises, and conduct experiments. The hands-on activities aren't just present to keep kids busy, they're essential for understanding the ideas presented in the text. There is increasing video support available, but support via phone, fax, email, etc. is no longer available for students or teachers who get stuck.
Apologia Science for home schools is thorough, self-taught, and fun, but it isn't as comprehensive as some other options. Many have expressed concern over the lack of technical vocabulary, but that can also be seen as a benefit. Others argue that while it is nice that the experiments can be done without regular lab equipment, the purpose for lab science is that students learn to use those tools.
Perhaps of more concern is the time this program takes to cover ground—there are eight elementary subjects to cover in six years, and high school topics are divided into two full-year levels each. This makes it difficult to fully cover everything in the allotted timeframe, so we recommend completing two elementary books per year, and either going at a more rapid pace in high school or foregoing some of the advanced texts.
The last ten years have brought many changes to Apologia Science. Dr. Jay Wile left the company in 2010, and ever since they've been busy reissuing the middle and high school texts by new authors. While much of the content has remained the same, a lot of the depth and nuance provided in Wile's treatments has been jettisoned. As of 2020, Wile is no longer the primary author of the books—only Physics, Advanced Physics, and Advanced Chemistry still bear his name; this will likely change in the future.
Two new titles were released in 2021, one for elementary students and one for older students. For the Young Explorers series, Exploring Creation with Earth Science introduces geology and other earth sciences; for the Exploring Creation series, Exploring Creation with High School Astronomy provides a half-credit course for junior or senior students. All versions of the Jr/Sr high school texts (with the exception of the books that still bear Wile's name) are now softcover, ostensibly to prevent Apologia from having to raise the price of the texts.
While much of the content has remained the same between the older editions and the new revisions, there are significant changes. There are a lot more illustrations (and a lot prettier illustrations!) in the new books, as well as generally more engaging formats. However, there is also less text than the Wile-penned books featured—the new authors seem particularly eager to make the prose approachable rather than comprehensive, and in doing so they jettison a lot of the nuance found in the earlier books.
If you're looking for a student-directed science course that is solidly creationist and not too challenging, Apologia Science is a good option. If you prefer something similar but more challenging (or loved the old Wile versions of the Apologia texts), we suggest Wile's new series, Berean Builders Science. For those who prefer to take a more direct hand in their children's education but want to retain the creationist perspective, we recommend Bob Jones Science.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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