Our Review of Apologia's General Science Course

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The summer is going by way too quickly in my opinion, but since we are year round homeschoolers, we've already gotten a start into our school year and we are loving it! As part of our curriculum choices for the year, I wanted to share an in depth look at our science curriculum for my 8th Grader who is using General Science from Apologia.  (Science courses are currently on sale!)

Course Overview

We have used Apologia for years. Not only for science, but also for BibleGovernment (best course, ever!) writing, and reading. So, by this point, we are quite familiar with this curriculum company.

Everything with Apologia is done well and is very thorough which is why we chose to use this curriculum company for our daughter's General Science course. We felt it would best prepare her for the high school sciences that she will be coming up on.

Who Is This Course For?

Apologia's General Science is designed to help middle school students facilitate independent learning but provides them with ample support no matter what their learning style is. There are several different ways to help your child successfully complete this course. 

For example, you can choose to use a textbook with a student notebook, the  streaming option, video instruction or the self-paced option. I'll be posting more about the self-paced option in a separate post.

Full color pages in Student Journal and Textbook

As a mom of many, I appreciate the various options that are available for my different children's learning styles as well as the ability to pretty much hand off their science instruction to Apologia's well-equipped teaching team and curriculum. I basically see myself as a overseer at this point for my children in their science because it's not necessary for me to be directly involved in their lessons which is a huge weight off of my shoulders. 

"Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition, is specifically designed to walk with your middle school student transitioning from homeschool elementary courses as he or she rises up to meet his or her greater abilities and developing maturity."

As the name implies, General Science is designed to give your child an excellent overview of numerous facets of science. The course starts off by teaching about many great scientists in past history who were inspired to study the world around them simply so they could know more about the God who created it. The course ends with introductions to modern-day scientists who encourage your child to study the world around them in order that they may better know their Creator.

Transitioning from elementary science to middle school science can seem daunting for a young student so in order to make the transition more smooth, Apologia focuses on teaching

  • Note taking skills 
  • Proper experimental processes and reporting results 
  • Abilities needed for appropriately analyzing and creating graphic materials 
  • How to logically think through and beyond the textbook materials 
  • Seeing evidence of God’s creation as students learn scientific principles

Throughout the course, middle school students are successfully set up for higher learning by gradual exposure to higher level concepts which creates a strong foundation for the upper-level courses that follow.

How We Use This Course

At this age, my daughter is able to handle the course on her own.  She has the textbook, student notebook, MP3 and thumb drive. While you will not need all of these, it is certainly helpful to have several of them. You can choose what would best work for your child.

If you have a visual learner, you would probably want the textbook, notebook and Thumb Drive. 

If you have an audible learner you would probably still want the textbook so the student can follow along but also the Thumb Drive so the text can be read out loud to your child. 

If you have a child that would benefit from an audible and visual perspective then you would consider the textbook, notebook and the Thumb Drive. The student notebook is an excellent way to record answers as well as to help prepare for tests. In my opinion, it really is a necessary component. It's also a great compilation of the course especially if you need to present course work in your state. We like having the MP3 Audio Book in addition to the textbook because if we are on the go, my daughter can take a small DVD player and the MP3 with her rather than carrying around a heavy textbook. 

The Video Instruction Thumb Drive is an excellent resource because it provides instructional videos for each module. It gives animated diagrams of difficult concepts and includes over 20 hours of instruction covering every experiment in the textbook. 

The video features a science instructor and will most definitely enhance your child's learning experience by providing a deeper and clearer understanding of the concepts taught in this course. I love that it provides on-location footage which virtually takes my child all over the globe allowing the course material to become more relevant.

With the Thumb Drive, the instructor teaches the lesson but it is not verbatim of the textbook like the MP3 Audio Book is. It's more of a classroom style. It also includes demonstrations of each science experiment included in the course.  

To break it all down, your course options are as follows:

  • Video Instruction Thumb Drive with Student Notebook
  • MP3 Audio Book with Student Notebook (You will be lacking experiment demonstrations. However, you would have step by step instructions in the notebook.)
  • Textbook with Student Notebook (you will need to follow step by step instructions for experiments in the book)

Of all of the above options, my daughter feels that if she had to choose the best scenario for her course it would be the textbook, student notebook and the Thumb Drive.

I know that many parents are suddenly faced with the decision to homeschool and I understand that it can feel overwhelming, especially if you have a child needing to complete higher level science courses. Truly, Apologia has made it possible to do but to also make sure that your child gets an excellent education, not a mediocre one. I also have a high schooler that uses Apologia for science so check back soon for our review of High School Chemistry!


From Now until August 6, Apologia has a Back to Homeschool SALE. Shop now to save up to 25% off on Apologia Science products including audio CDs, audio downloads, and Video Instruction materials featuring Sherri Seligson. Apologia Math is also on sale - up to 15% off and our FAVORITE biblical worldview set, the What We Believe series, is also on sale. Click HERE to save now.

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This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.

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