Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day

Have you ever squished your toes between the sand on a beach, gazed out into the ocean and marveled at the wonder of its creation? 

Or maybe, if you are a landlubber like me, your gazing out into the ocean has been confined to summer vacations as a kid, PBS programming, or a ridiculous number of Finding Nemo Marathons. 

There is something just so marvelous and mysterious about life in the ocean. 

While I never dreamed as a child about life as an oceanographer (or in the worst of times Captain Ahab), the wonders of the sea have always fascinated me.

If I had been exposed to a curriculum like Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures on the 5th Day I might be at this very moment following in Jacques Cousteau illustrious footsteps. Okay. Probably not, but the study of the ocean is a fascinating and a splendid thing. 

I was sooo excited to get to review  Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 and the Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal.  In fact, the day we received it Josiah spent a good 30 minutes thumbing through the bright pages. In all fairness, this isn’t our first exposure to Apologia Science. I (heart) Apologia Ministries. Here's one of the reasons why (taken from their website).

“Apologia Ministries exists to give the home-schooled student an education that will help him or her make a reasoned defense of the Christian Faith.”

Exactly! Not only do they promote the worldview I long to instill into my son, but they make great products. We are proud owners of Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. It sits on our bookshelf; not only as a previous study, but a reference book and just some good plain reading.
I simple love the immersion method that Apologia uses in Zoology 2.  Instead of learning snippets of pertinent information the students are completely thrown into the subject matter. We get to dig in and explore. 

What I received:

The Zoology 2 Textbook is a hard copy.The textbook begins with an easy to follow teacher's guide. The text itself is written in an interesting, yet informative way.  The author, Jeannie Fulbright, breaks down the book into 13 lessons.

They include:
- Aquatic animals
- Whales
- Seals and Sea Cows
- Aquatic Herps
- Primeval Reptiles
- Fish
- Sharks and Rays
- Crustaceans
- Mollusks
- Cephalopods
- Echinoderms
- Cindarians

 The suggested length of study is 32 weeks, but is perfectly adaptable to any homeschooling needs.  The book itself is a beautiful book. Many of the pictures prompted Josiah to ask more questions and we would follow a little rabbit trail to see what was behind a particular photo.  In fact, after seeing a picture of a Strawberry Sponge Josiah was curious enough to do a little more research on his own.  I love it!

Just a peek at the Lesson 2: Whales.

There are prompts within the text that allows the teacher to ask questions. An appendix is located in the back of the book that answers the questions.  I found the appendix handy to help with summarizing the information as well.  

Along with reading  there are  notebook assignments and experiments. The style will appeal to any fans of Charlotte Mason (of which I am). The experiments were especially a hit in my house. We love all things “hands on.” 

An Ocean Box project is carried through the entire study. It has a hands-on project assigned every lesson. Our little Ocean is found in a shoebox (perfectly sized for Apartment dwellers). Josiah is looking forward to creating all the variety of ocean life as we progress.
You are able to purchase the Zoology 2 Textbook by itself, but I really enjoyed having the Notebook Journal. At the time of this review the cost of the Exploring Creatures with Zoology 2 is 39.00 and recommended for any elementary-aged student (though I think it would appeal to older students as well!)

The Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal is a gem. It contains all of the notebooking pages you will ever need. Each lesson has a variety of  interactive pages, a crossword puzzle, a Bible verse to copy (in manuscript or cursive), lapbooking components and more. There is even a list of activities that allow your student to “Dig Deeper.” I particularly love the list of Books and Videos. Very handy when heading out to the library.  

 The suggested dissection projects are probably not going to happen on my watch. I get all swoozy. But I have plenty of family members who are more than happy to assist in dissecting a squid if called upon.   The Notebooking Journal is well worth the 24.00. Apologia recommends using the notebook for grades 3-6.

How I Used It

Zoology 2 is text rich study. Those of us who have struggling readers might initially shy away from such a curriculum. Josiah is dyslexic. I understand completely. However, I really believe that this should not impede his education. I limit his oral or silent reading to Reading Instruction only. All history, science and literature learning are “Read Alouds.” Which means I read it to him or we find some sort of Audio alternative. This way his frustration level is non-existent and he enjoys the learning experience. I have on occasion taken excerpts from the book and used it as part of his reading instruction. 

This does make it more teacher intensive, but this is what I signed up for. I have learned so much myself as a result.   

I also modified the notebooking activities. We stop more frequently than recommended and I have Josiah record what he learned in his notebook. Because he also has issues with handwriting, I am happy with a few sentences at a time. He truly is absorbing the material and feels like he is creating a notebook he can be proud of. There is also a Junior Notebook available for younger children or older children with handwriting difficulties (or learning disabilities). I chose the regular Notebooking Journal because I felt that only minor modifications were necessary.

One of the suggested "Dig Deeper" activities is to make homemade clay and create an ocean floor in the Ocean Box.

 Both the Zoology 2 Textbook and the Notebooking Journal contain a Scientific Speculation Sheet. This allows the student record the experiment process and subsequent results.  What I also appreciate was that the materials for the experiments are items that I can find easily. I don’t have to send off for anything housed in a secret lab in Liechtenstein (completely random country). 

Josiah loved painting his Ocean Box.

Creation Science means something. Just because I believe in Intelligent Design does not excuse me from scientific learning and discovery. I feel that we were created to appreciate the beauty of the world and to explore and discover. I loved that between the scientific explanations and terminology in Zoology 2 wonders of God are proclaimed.

I feel that not only does Apologia Ministries address the science education of creation, but our relationship with the Creator.

I would recommend Exploring Creation Zoology 2 to any homeschooling family.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


  1. Great review! I love how you shared the way you used with with your son, making adjustments for dyslexia. :) Awesome.

  2. This is a wonderful review! I really love all the meaty details you provide and I love the photos!

    I really liked this because I totally identify with it!

    "If I had been exposed to a curriculum like Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures on the 5th Day I might be at this very moment following in Jacques Cousteau illustrious footsteps. Okay. Probably not, but the study of the ocean is a fascinating and a splendid thing."

    :) Thanks for a fantastic review.



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