(San Diego, CA)
Product: Apologia Astronomy
Levels Used: K-6 (my kids were PS, 1st & 3rd grades)
Dates Used: 2009 (currently)
I had never heard of Apologia until this year, but I think I am sold for the rest of our home-school years. My favorite thing about this curriculum is that it is written from a Biblical world-view. It is also scientifically sound. The book is written directly to the student at about a 4th grade reading level. It can be done completely by the student if their reading level is good, but we have chosen to do the science together.
You can complete the lessons doing only 2 per week, which has worked well for us, allowing us to do the projects and supplemental stuff. There is a notebook that is sold to go along with it, or you can make your own as you go through the book.
I also love that it can be used for multiple age levels. My pre-schooler does not always sit for the lesson, but my 1st and 3rd grade students are both learning things on their own level. It's nice to teach them all together.
We have only completed the first two weeks so far, but we learned about the planets and have made a very rough model of the planets using balloons that are now hanging from the ceiling in our school-room. The sun is not able to be to scale, but the other planets are at least generally the right size compared to each other. My boys are learning things that I never knew about the planets, and now about the sun. The book is interesting and reads like a story. The projects are fun, and also optional.
Today, while learning about the sun, we did an experiment outside with a magnifying glass that allowed us to see what happens when we concentrate the sun's rays into a small area. We melted a chocolate bar, and were able to see the difference in how fast it melted depending on how big the light circle from the sun was on the chocolate. So far, we are having fun and learning a lot at the same time.
There are kits that are sold so that everything you will need for the experiments are right where you need them, or you can make your own. It is nice to have everything collected ahead of time.
The price was more than I wanted to spend for a science book (I think it is $35 without the notebook or supplies), but I am realizing that I will have this now to use again. It is also a very sought after book, so if you keep it in nice condition, it could be sold easily for more than half the price new. And after having the book, I think it is worth the price.