Recently, planning was underway to make changes in some of our homeschool studies. Science was one of the main areas that I desired to do a bit of tweaking for my “middle kiddos”; Caleb, 11 and Lydia, 9. After doing a few years of relaxed, informal science, I felt that they would benefit from a more focused, structured study.
A few years ago, my oldest girls used Exploring Creation with Astronomy: Young Explorers from Apologia Educational Ministries. I was debating using this course again when the opportunity to review Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology: Young Explorers was available. Perfect timing and the perfect course. I knew that studying one of God’s creations, the human body, would be fascinating for both Caleb and Lydia.
For the review, Apologia sent three items: Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology textbook, Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal and Anatomy and Physiology Audio MP3 CD. What a great box of goodies that was to open!
Anatomy and Physiology is very user friendly for parent and child. These elementary science books incorporate Charlotte Mason principles that make learning engaging and fun for the child, while imparting a wealth of knowledge. If you are unfamiliar with this method of teaching, the first few pages of the text are an excellent resource. It will help you to understand how the lessons are structured, what narration is and the other parts of the lessons. It also includes a link that will allow for deeper study if desired.
The Anatomy and Physiology text covers several different organ systems (skeletal, respiratory, muscular, etc.) after building a foundation of understanding the basics of cells and some early history of anatomy. Just in the first few pages, a plethora of information is presented. However, utilizing a Charlotte Mason style of writing and presentation, the student is not overwhelmed.
The layout and flow of lessons allow for flexibility in teaching and learning. While a suggested schedule is shared in the Anatomy Notebook Journal, breakpoints are provided throughout the text to allow for natural stopping points so your child doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much information. At these “break points” you will have a prompt for the child to share with someone about what he has learned. This practice of narration helps to encourage retention of what is learned.
Another break point you will find, are the Try This! activities. In the above picture, my son is prepping an apple for a Try This! session that helps with understanding of how Egyptians mummified bodies and showed their understanding of anatomy and physiology. The Try This sessions are not formal science experiments with the student formulating a hypothesis and such. However, it does provide a hands on opportunity to see the lesson in action. A favorite so far was a Try This that involved eggs and illustrated the protection offered by the fluid between the brain and the skull. A great visual to bring about understanding of the amazing way God has designed our bodies! If you desired to have formal science experiments, you could easily require your older students to add on to these hands on sessions. A lovely example of how easy it is to make this text work for your family.
At the end of each lesson is a project that helps to round out all that has been studied. As with the rest of the book, the instructions are clearly presented and easy to follow. I have found that most of the items needed are common items in our home which makes the projects low stress for me! Caleb and Lydia really enjoyed the first project of making an edible cell. I was very impressed with their retention of various cell parts and why they were important.
The Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal is an additional resource for this course. There are two different notebook journals available; the above for upper elementary students and then Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal. You can view samples online to see which would work best for your students. Since I am using this course with a 4th and 5th grader, I chose the Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal.
Below I will share how this course worked for our family but I must be upfront now. We were sent one notebooking journal for this review. I was planning to just have one child do the notebook and have the other child create her own. I was so impressed with this notebooking journal when it arrived, that I ordered a second one. The notebooking journal is spiral bound so it easily lies flat when your child is writing or drawing in it. It provides pages for the child to journal or draw about the lesson, colored mini-books and activities like crossword puzzles. Also included are scripture copy work pages in cursive and print. The Anatomy and Physiology book has your child creating a Personal Person Project where they slowly add organs to the body as they are studied. The notebooking journal provides colored overlays for this project. My children are looking forward to creating their personal persons.
In the notebooking journal, a suggested schedule is also given on how to break the lessons down each week. Included in that is the corresponding notebook pages to complete. If you follow the suggested schedule, the course will take 28 weeks to complete. Instructions and information on the different pages and activities in the notebook are included. My children have had no issues with completing the activities. It is always interesting to read what facts and information that they found important enough to record on their notebook pages and the drawings are always fun as well.
Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD was the third product we received. This CD is not compatible with your basic CD player. It must be played on a MP3-compatible CD player or on your computer. Jeannie Fulbright, co-author of Anatomy and Physiology, reads the text of Anatomy and Physiology. She does not read items such as the Try This! or end of lesson projects. She has a lovely reading voice that is enjoyable to listen to. When I first put in the CD, I had children come gather around expecting something very different than a science lesson.
This CD can be used in a variety of ways. If your child is doing the course independently but may need help with new vocabulary, reading along with Mrs. Fulbright or listening to it before reading it can help tackle and conquer new vocabulary. It is also great for those who might be schooling while traveling. The whole family could enjoy learning while on the road. The CD could also be useful as a “mom backup”. If mom is reading the course out loud but comes down with a sore throat or needs to deal with a fussy baby, the CD can step in and cover the lesson. If you have auditory learners that could definitely be a worthy investment!
How Did Anatomy and Physiology Work For Us?
I used this course with Lydia, 9, and Caleb, 11. While the schedule in the notebooking journal recommends 2 days a week to work on the lessons, I tweaked it a bit for our special circumstances. Caleb works with his dad throughout the week so we have to be a bit flexible with scheduling for him. When the book first arrived, there was a bit of moaning and groaning about not wanting to learn about the human body. Now Caleb and Lydia are thrilled when it is time for science. I grab the book, we find a spot to sit comfortably and I read a portion of the text. We discuss a bit and then they do a Try This! or work on their journals. I often find that I have to tell them to stop working and to move on to something else. They have really enjoyed this course.
While the Elementary Series from Apologia is directed at grades K-6, Anatomy and Physiology is perfect for grades 4-6. My 7 year old daughter joined in a bit at first, but she needed to take it in at a slower pace as there is a lot of information to digest. If you are planning to use this with early elementary, you might find that you need to stretch the lessons out a bit. It can definitely be done independently by upper elementary, but my children enjoy having me read it aloud. I am looking forward to using this course again with my upcoming students.
For our family, this course using Scripture and pointing to God as Creator is so crucial to our study of science. To study the human body and the amazing way that it works and giving praise to God for his amazing work is fabulous. What a wonderful addition to our studies to find a science program that is thorough, engaging, thought-provoking and honoring to our Creator.
Often times with anatomy and physiology courses, there can be concern over how the reproductive system is handled. The reproductive system is not formally covered in this course. The last lesson, Growth and Development, covers topics like genetics and fetal development in the womb. It does not discuss the details of reproduction. While this chapter would serve as a springboard for further discussion, that is left entirely up to parental discretion.
Want to Know More?
If you would like to know more about Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, Apologia has many samples available. You can preview the Table of Contents, List of Supplies for Try This, Chapter Sample, Notebooking sample and a sample of the MP3 Audio CD; click here to take a peek!
Human Anatomy & Physiology Textbook – $39.00
Human Anatomy & Physiology Notebooking Journal – $24.00 (consumable; one needed for each student)
Human Anatomy & Physiology MP3 Audio CD – $29.00
Human Anatomy & Physiology may not be the course for your homeschool this year. Apologia Educational Ministries has several books in their Young Explorers Series. From botany to astronomy to zoology there is a course that any child would love. You can check these courses out at www.apologia.com. Also, other Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed these other courses as well. Head on over to the Crew and see how these other coursed work for various families.
Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of the products mentioned above in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this review are my own.