August 24, 2013

Review: Science in the Beginning


When I heard Dr. Jay Wile was writing an elementary science curriculum I was thrilled. I loved his high school texts, so I knew the quality of the science would be great. However, I wasn’t sure he could pull off the same standard for a younger set. He did.

Think Apologia’s elementary science texts, but all in one book. Instead of spending a year on astronomy, a year on botany, and several years on zoology, you get an all in one comprehensive overview of each of them in one text.

Science in the Beginning is the first in a series. In this text, Dr. Wile has taken each of the days of creation and built a unit around them. For instance, the first unit is on light, the second on water, the third on land and sea, etc.  Each unit has fifteen lessons. Each lesson contains a fun science experiment for the children to do.

He’s provided a list at the beginning of the text for each unit listing all the supplies you’ll need to complete the experiments, most of which are common household items.  On the few experiments you’d need something special he gives you warning.

What do we think?

We’ve only had the text a short time, but we have loved it.  The explanations are simple enough for a kindergartener, but informative enough for a sixth grader. He’s divided the assignments into three levels:

  • Youngest:  I would put this in the K-1 age range.
  • Older: Children who can write several sentences independently.
  • Oldest: Best for 4-6th grade students.

This enables you to have several ages of children learning simultaneously.

The experiments have been valuable, fun, and not too time consuming. My first grader asks to do this subject first every day. He also begs to do more than one lesson, which he is rewarded with when the rest of his school is completed.

The planned series

This is the first in a series of five books Dr. Wile has planned for these grades. What will be most unique is each book has an historical framework and will go in chronological order. The next book will be based on the science of the ancient Greeks. Your children will learn not just the science of that time period, but will also get to learn about the scientists of that time.

It is important to note that your children will not learn any incorrect science. The books will focus on what they got right and demonstrate how science builds upon the work of those who came before. This is an exciting, new way of approaching this subject. I’m looking forward to going through the future books. 

The mormon controversy

As many of you know the Apologia publishing company came out with an anti-Mormon stance.  I’ve spoken with Dr. Wile and he does not agree with their view. In fact, he purposefully did not use Apologia publishing for this series as a result. He’s teamed up with a  brand new publishing company, who are respectful about the beliefs of others.

*Note: There will be a follow up review when my family has completed the text.

Annmarie Worthington is a single mother and freelance writer, who homeschools her four children. You can learn more about Annmarie on her blog  You can also follow her on Twitter.

4 comments - Add a comment below -:

Stephanie said...

I appreciate the thoughtfful review. Science curricula can be so tricky, with the issues of evolution and such. It sounds like a great, one-rom schoolhouse approach, and I might seriously consider using it. Thanks, again!

Birrd said...

I'm so glad you wrote this review, Annmarie! I was going to use Apologia science this fall and I was having a hard time deciding which book to use... feeling a little overwhelmed at how long it was going to take to go through the whole series. And I had no idea about the anti-Mormon thing. This looks like just what I need! Thanks for sharing.

Jamie said...

I am so thankful for this review; I just ordered a copy and am really looking forward to using it this year. I had procrastinated buying our science curriculum because nothing sounded quite right; when I read this, I knew it would be perfect for us. Thanks again!

Carrie said...

I am so glad you posted this! I never even knew that Apologia thought Mormons weren't Christians. I wish I had kiddos in that age range-its sounds like a great book!