After researching several options, we decided to study astronomy for our first grade science curriculum using Exploring Creation with Astronomy textbook and Junior Notebooking Journal (2nd edition). We decided upon this course of study because we can build upon the material our children learn this year as they get older.
What is the course?
Exploring Creation with Astronomy is divided into 14 lessons. We have started our study with the definition of astronomy and explored basic definitions like gravity, satellites, and NASA and created our own representation of the solar system. Each lesson has a variety of activities, mini-books to create, a place for notes, copy work, and coloring pages in the junior notebooking journal.
- What is Astronomy?
- The Sun
- The Moon
- Space Rocks
- Kuiper Belt and the Dwarf Planets
- Stars, Galaxies, and Space Travel
(There are also two built-in reviews of the inner and outer planets.)
The appendix of the textbook contains a supply list for each lesson and a "What do you remember?" answer key. The notebooking journal contains a suggested daily schedule for each lesson breaking down the material into daily assignments. Personally, I love these schedules because they are detailed enough to provide information for what to do each day but allows parents to be flexible to fit the material into their own homeschooling day.
Access to the course website is included with the book (you will find your password in the front of your textbook). This provides you with links to third-party sites that will help supplement your course studies. For example, for Lesson 3 one of the links is to a photo journal of images of Mars from NASA.
How We Are Using Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Our first grader is completing the course and using the junior notebooking journal while our preschooler is participating in the readings and in some of the activities. During our children's lunch, I read from the textbook and we talk about the beautiful photographs and illustrations as well as review the bold vocabulary words. After lunch, our son works on completing a page or two in the notebooking journal.
We are following the suggested daily schedule slowly as it is still summer time for us and we are lightly homeschooling right now. And as this is our son's first 'formal' science course, we are also spreading out some of the copy work and writing over several days. For example, we completed the What is Astronomy Matchbook over three days instead of working on it in one sitting.
We are saving some of the activities for the weekend so that my husband can join in the hands-on learning aspect of the course. We completed two of the initial activities with his help:
- Create Your Own Mnemonic
- Build a Model Solar System
|Our model solar system using balloons|
What Do We Think?
Personally, I am really enjoying using Exploring Creation with Astronomy from Apologia. The author, Jeannie K. Fulbright, has done a great job of presenting a deep subject in a way that even young children can easily understand it but older elementary aged children will not be bored.
The textbook and notebooking journal are made of high quality materials. They are laid out in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-read font. I love that I can read the text aloud at lunch time and hold the book quite easily for our children to see the pictures.
Our first grader has enjoyed the different activities we have done so far and likes the variety of work in the notebooking journal. Flipping through the journal, he has found a number of activities and projects he is excited about doing soon.
There are a number of other products that can help you and your children study the stars, planets, and God's creation from Apologia. There is an elementary science kit that contains the 42 activities from the text and bonus activities. There is also an MP3 download/audiobook that is an audio recording of reading by the author.