Friday, June 7, 2013

Homeschooling With Apologia: Why it's taking us so long to work our way through the curriculum this year . . .

*affiliate links present in this post -see disclosure page

We love LOVE our Apologia - Swimming Creatures - of the 5th Day  (Young Explorer Series)  written by Jeannie Fulbright. We also use the Notebooking Journal along with it. 

We have been taking our time working our way through it and we may or may not be finished with it by the end of the summer. Living near the beach provides the perfect back drop for this study, and we are fortunate enough to get to witness much of the facts, information, and creatures - right up close and personal.  It's been wonderful for our boys to be able to learn more about the wildlife in the ocean - many of which are living right in our own back yard, well, our waterway. It has given them a different perspective about the world around them, a deep appreciation for the animals who live here, and a rich understanding of how they live.
We love the creatures of the sea and it's been fun learning more about them. It's been a favorite at our home for sure. 

We have enjoyed weekly studies in the Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day book and have enriched our studies with field trips to the beach, to the Tampa Aquarium, to Mote Marine Laboratory and more. It made the regular read aloud sessions from our curriculum, all that much more relevant for them to be able to see the creatures in their own environment or live at the aquarium. One of my favorite parts of accompanying our studies with the many field trips and outings, was the opportunity to discover how much information the boys have retained from our reading. You know what? They've retained a lot! On our visits, they've been able to answer questions posed by me and also by the various docents or guides at the aquariums. It's that much more exciting for them when they are able to share valuable information with others. They surprised more than one of the spokespeople at the Florida Aquarium as they explained the difference between benthic and necktonic creatures and as even the youngest of my boys correctly identified species and answered questions intended to educate the audience. It made for some great opportunities to respond to "how smart they are" comments and smile and say, "Yes,  We homeschool!"  (you know you love it when that happens - it can't be just me!!! Right?) 

We've studied fish, sharks, sea horses, sea turtles, manatees, sea lions, and dolphins - Our favorite! Of course, the boys love the sponges, the sea stars and even the mollusks.  Maybe the sea turtles are our favorites. Of course, the manatee are very sweet. Dolphins sure are smart. It's so hard to pick a favorite. 

From dolphin watching to sea lion shows - we've fully enjoyed studying the wildlife of the sea with Apologia as our guide. The boys listen attentively as we read aloud from our Swimming Creatures book and learn details we've never known about our little wildlife neighbors.

As tough as it may be, we have stayed the course. We have faithfully tracked down the manatees - cow of the sea . . . . . and studied it in it's natural habitat. THIS was an interesting day - right in the middle of mating season. She forgot to mention that in the book - and I walked right in to that trap! But, seriously, it didn't seem to phase the boys and they will now recognize bugs, butterflies and other various species and announce that they are wrestling or mating. We shall fill in the rest of the details at a later date. 

It's such hard work, reading . . . and exploring . . . tracking down the wild sea creatures . . . like blue crabs and even taking on the tough task of fishing  searching for further specimens. 

I'm sure you must be feeling quite sorry for us at this point, as you realize how dedicated we are to our studies. You are probably beginning to understand why it is taking us so long to work our way through the Apologia Swimming Creatures Science curriculum. I assure you, it is not the text. It's all this intense research.

 By the way - we are also working our way through the Who is God? series. We use it as our bible study and plan to continue on through Who am I?  

Dedicated as we are to the beach wildlife studies, 
we do actually do some book work while we are at it. The Apologia Zoology Notebooking Journal is a fantastic resource for recording what we  the boys are learning.  But, the value of the first hand experience they are getting as we are out  for a swim  in the field doing intense research . . . . is invaluable to their education and it makes for happy, smart mommy  little boys. 

And now you know, why we choose to study on through the summer. . . .  . As tough as it is . . . . . We are willing to make the sacrifice. After all  . . . . somebody's GOT to do it! 

I do hope you enjoy your summer. You can be sure we will be here . . . slaving away on our research! 

*also linking with Blogging Through the Alphabet:
"Mm" is for Moving at our own pace! 
and Heart for Home 

We will be participating again this next year: 

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