Science - Apologia General help starting/transitioning/Mod 1

Issues specific to teaching 6th to 8th graders, including the transition to Saxon math, Apologia science, Progeny Press guides, and grammar lessons
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Science - Apologia General help starting/transitioning/Mod 1

Unread post by Lucy »

Each module is different and as you will see some modules have lots of experiments where as some do not have very many. It depends on the nature of what is being studied. Some things in science are simply more informational and others are more experimental.

A couple of suggestions here.

1. Make sure he is using the Multi-media CD to learn new words and see short movies that illustrate a point. Module 2 had 4 of these. I think that the experiments they demonstrate on there would be too difficult to create so that is why they are provided. My son loves these.

2. If you think it would help him to hear the text read while he follows along they do make audio MP3-CD's and they are very inexpensive. My daughter finds that it helps her to read it aloud to herself.

3. You can read it also so that you are able to discuss the concepts with him. I did this when my daughter first started this book but only have to do this occasionally when she does not get something now. She is finishing Physical Science.

As one my kids has struggled here and there, I have just tried to remember that as they move into high school and college, learning to use a more textbook approach is also a skill. I have found the information in Apologia to a very solid foundation in thinking, not just giving information.

Do you mean that he is not retaining it or is not learning anything new? I am just not sure how to address this problem.

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Unread post by courthart246 »

I don't have any children old enough for the general science yet, but I wanted to mention that LiveAndLearnPress has notebooking pages for the Apologia science line. I'm pretty sure they have a General Science one. And if you contact Live and Learn I think you might be able to get a bound version, if you need that.

The minibooks that we do in the elementary science help to get the info into ds's head in a fun way. You might check it out. It won't help with illustrations. However, it is something hands on since your son enjoys that.
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Unread post by kellybell »

Hmmm, I like Apologia General Science because it is thorough and it does a good job of teaching what science is, what science is not, and what the scientific method is. And, we're using Apologia quite successfully. My oldest is doing biology and my next oldest is doing Gen. Sci.

I'm guessing that the following are reasons why some of the experiments are, I admit, a bit dull:

1. Flashier experiments probably wouldn't get done, right? I mean, if an experiment calls for baking soda, vinegar, a pop bottle and a balloon, you're likely to do it. If it calls for specially ground lenses, a green laser, welding goggles, and an emergency electricity generator, then you're likely to NOT do it. Dr. Wile created experiments that won't break the bank and require things that are found at Walmart.

2. With less intense experiments, the students will spend more time reading and learning principles and less time doing complex activities. The experiments are just complex enough to demonstrate a point. I think the point would be lost in "flashy" experiments with lots of "wow factor."

3. Easier experiments are easier to describe in the book and are more likely to succeed.

Okay, so those might be his motives. And, it's okay to have a "boring" class.

And, in addition to the CD-ROM with the little videos and such, if your ds doesn't like the reading you might want to spend the $15 or so to purchase the "books on tape" CD. Perhaps he could listen to it while he rode in the car or did chores, killing two birds with one stone. And, sometimes kinesthetic learners aren't the fastest readers, so if they are bogged down by reading, this small investment might help.

Perhaps if your ds wants "flashier" science he can choose a field of science that interests him and research that in his spare time. Or, if you've got gobs of money, there are other science programs. We don't. However, I think middle school kids need Apologia General Sci or something like it by another company to give them that foundation for high school science. Plus Apologia is a solid science that is popular too -- meaning there's probably a nearby co-op available.

Just my opinion,
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by KimR »

Thank you ladies for your replies. I gives me some things to consider.

Lucy -I meant he's not retaining the information. I don't want it to be a case of memorizing facts, only to forget them by the next module (Although I did cut him some slack with all the scientists). I want him to know the scientific principles and how to apply them. I'm not very creative in finding a way to help him. He does use the companion CD. We've tried having him read out loud and me reading to him. I usually lose him when I read, even when I try to be very animated. We've tried note taking which is a struggle for him.

Ds likes science very much. In fact, he loved the CTG science last year, especially Genesis for Kids. He liked the humor in it. I personally like the Apologia Science. I like the way it teaches and the thoroughness of it. I also like how it is so biblically based. I just need a way to make it work with my hands-on, needs to be moving kid, especially all of the reading.

Kelly - The laser might be a good idea! LOL! And no, we don't have gobs of money to invest in other science programs.*sigh*

Courtney, I will look into the mini books, too.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Kim,

Just wanted to encourage you that this is a very new thing for most kids since they have to learn to really study the material. One thing that I have tried to do with my kids is really use the ON YOUR OWN questions as a daily study time. This is the check point to see if they need to reread to get the main concept. Again, I may just be giving you ideas you are already trying.

I also point out to them that anything that is bold is very important. Those are definitions that they will need to know (memorize) for their test. My daughter will sometimes go ahead and write those down when she comes to them but I do not require her to do so. Learning to read, retain, and study new information is a skill and that is one of the reasons for using a textbook at this time.

If you feel that it is really just too much for him at this time you can decide to wait a year. That is perfectly fine to do or you can wait until later in the year and try when you think he is more ready or you can take it at a slower pace and do it over say a year and half. That is what I did with Gen. Science for my daughter and now in 9th grade she is finishing up the 2nd half of Physical Science in her 1st semester.

I do not know if any of these ideas will be helpful or not. I would also encorage you to call the office to get their advice as well. They are always so helpful when I get stuck too.

Oh, and I think the notebook making pages could be helpful. I think my son would think it was just extra work and would complain, but if it is what he needs to learn to retain the info it may be a good investment at least for this first book.

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Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:25 pm

My 7th grader is doing the Apologia General Science. I am quite pleased with it. I have daily lesson plans (not MFW), and I would definately miss not having these. It is not overly time consuming, but I don't know exactly how long it takes him. He is a good, quick reader. The first chapter is harder than the rest we have done so far, so don't judge the whole book on the first chapter when you start.

Science - Apologia transition help

Unread post by cbollin »

hsmom3 wrote:My 12yo ds started general science 4 weeks ago and though he hasn't complained, it is a struggle. I have been sitting with him while he reads because the vocabulary is a little over his head. He does well with the experiments and writing his lab reports but the reading is tough. I really want science to be exciting for him but all this reading is on the boring side. And he didn't do well at all on his first test. He did the study questions but he still failed the test. In the past, my son has done well with science but I'm thinking maybe this curriculum isn't a match for him. Has anyone else experienced this? And for those of you who've gone through the book, does it get better?
That first test is really tough. Most of it is names of famous scientists. I decided to not really count that test for grading -- but rather to use it to help with studying and learning how to pick up things in the text. She did a lot better on the 2nd test. and yeah... she'd didn't get a passing score, but she didn't fret it. I had already decided that the score would probably not count since we were in the learning curve weeks :)

And that first module is harder to read through as it is an overview of the history of science. 2nd module is more about learning how to use and apply the scientific method and that you can draw wrong conclusions. It's a really good program.

Ideas for when the text is harder to use than your student is ready for (because after all, it's a transition to independent learning....)

*are you using the multimedia CD for help with the vocabulary? (that's the one that MFW sells) Not only the vocabulary, but there are other helps and hints and pictures and such.

*MFW doesn't sell it, but Apologia Science does --- would it help to get the audio recording of the textbook? It's about $15 for just the audio. Maybe that would help free up your time if you don't want to read it with him, or if he needs more of a text/lecture style for a little bit longer. Nothing wrong with that. Don't have him just listen, have him listen and read along with the book.

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Unread post by DS4home »

My daughter also failed that first test. It's not an easy one and I'm wondering too, if there is any way to make it easier for dd#2 this year. I will say that the book does get better. Once they start doing experiments it gets funner, and the book learning is more bearable :) Hang in there and do another module before giving up on it! I also agree with using the CD for vocabulary and extras, it really helped.

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Unread post by cbollin »

DS4home wrote:My daughter also failed that first test. It's not an easy one and I'm wondering too, if there is any way to make it easier for dd#2 this year.
How about making flashcards of all of the people as you go along or a little extra study time on the study day to play flashcard matching game or study it a bit?
donna young has a study sheet for that on her site-- ... sheets.htm

I know if I had looked ahead at the test and was a group school (or co-op) teacher, I would have told my students to be more prepared for knowing those names a bit more. My teachers use to do stuff like that so that we'd study the right stuff that we needed to learn from the chapter.

Also, in hindsight, I should have done the study day with my daughter the first module, but I didn't. I think I was too eager to try to make my kid be a hazell kid or what I probably think they did with their kids, but don't really know because I wasn't there <wink> like I said.... these are the transition to independent learning curve weeks for me as much as for my kid.

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Unread post by DS4home »

Thank you Crystal. I did print off the pages from Donna Young's site - I think it will help. I have also learned (the hard way) to do the study day with the student. My oldest is now in Chemistry and she still wants me to quiz her with the study notes after she looks at them a bit :) She feels more confident then, that she is ready for the test the next day.

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Unread post by hsmom3 »

Thanks for all the wonderful posts. It makes me feel so much better that other struggled through the first module as well. You know, I really should order the CD. That would probably help alot. Then maybe he could read/listen on his own and then narrate what he learned. I also realized after the first module that my ds doesn't really know how to study. For module 2, I've been having him read over the vocabulary words everyday before we read. For module 2, I'm going to help him study so he knows how to. I guess I thought if he answered all the study questions and then read over them a few times he would be fine but that didn't work. I did have him study the scientists from module 1 after the first test and he retook that part of the test. He got them all right the 2nd time!

Seventh grade is a whole new world!!!!
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

hsmom3 wrote:I also realized after the first module that my ds doesn't really know how to study.
Isn't it great that we'll all be working thru these skills *before* high school?! One step at a time. MFW really does work for real families!
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Unread post by mamaofredheads »

Just wanted to say thank you to all of you doing 7th grade & sharing your struggles & successes. We'll be there next year, and it's hard not to be anxious about it. I'm printing out all these helpful tips & putting them in a file for next year. Hugs to you all, and thanks for going before us. :)

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Unread post by sewardmom »

My dd started this week and I was surprised at how long it takes her to complete some of the days.

I just want to remind 'us' that in the parent guide somewhere it stated that this is a very challenging course and a college bound student will most likely get a 'C'.

Hopefully that will help us to keep it in perspective during this time of transition to independence!

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Jr. High Science...

Unread post by cbollin »

dascott wrote:My son is struggling with Apologia. I know one problem is all the reading. (My daughter is just the opposite and would read all the time if she could-not sure why my son doesn't enjoy it) If anyone has tried something else, could you please share your experience with me. Thanks so much.
You can use whatever you want of course.... before that, how about some out loud thinking to adjust how to use Apologia as long as you already have it?

*it is ok if he is not ready for 100% independent learning from a science text at this point. So you can begin to transition a bit.

*the text is available on audio CD (from Apologia's website, MFW doesn't sell it) Some children do better hearing a textbook and that is a $15 option instead of getting a whole new curriculum?

* is he taking notes as he is reading?

*would you be available to let him narrate information to you for 10 or so minutes? I let my oldest do that with the book. We have it on the table and talk together. I expect her to read it before hand though. But it's ok if I need to take a few quick minutes to read the information and study with her.

* Use the appendix B module summaries to help you help him study and retain. The answers to those fill in the blanks in the summaries are in the Solutions Manual.

*consider not letting him do the "Own On Yours" on his own just yet. (that makes no sense in writing, does it?) Instead, it's ok to carve in a couple of minutes with you to go over it. The solutions/answers are in the book and you can see if his answer makes sense. You could even use the previous day's On Your Own, to start off the day for a quick review to help remember what you studied yesterday. For example, use the On Your Own questions from "Thursday"'s lesson together on Friday morning to review so that everyone remembers where you left off.

I realize that not all of the modules have a lot of experiments (module 8 had just one).

anyway... just a quick list there of stuff we are doing over here with 7th grader.

Postby cbollin » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:30 am

1. We decided to do the On Your Own questions as out loud together work - i.e. narration after the day's reading. It was a way for me to know if my daughter was really doing her work and I didn't want to read all of that as written answers. She was getting plenty of writing in other subjects that year. So, out loud on those was a better use of 5 minutes. Those questions are in the textbook.

2. the end of module (chapter) study guides -- again, we decided not to require written answers to this. The study guides are designed to help prep for the next day's test. So, I remember when I was in jr. high and studied out loud with my friends.

3. lab reports. Well, the template is nice. We used donna young's site and then just had my daughter type her labs in Word. But you can use that free sample template from many places. Apologia does have samples on their site too. there's a password in the textbook for that.

4. There are benefits of taking notes. there are different ways to do that -- notebook paper
or even on donnayoung site --- she provides a 7 page study sheet to help take notes on that very long 1st module on all of those famous science people.

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Jr. High Science...

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

We have successfully used General, Physical, and Biology with Apologia. General and Physical went very well, but I must admit, my son is a voracious reader.

Physical was done with a co-op, so we just had to pace his reading and give him any written assignments and tests we desired.

He did General at home. He did the experiments with Dad in the evening.

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Unread post by Teresa in TX »

We are in Physical Science, right now, and dd loves it. Dd used General last year, and that went really well also.

I can remember at the beginning of last year that dd had a hard time getting the hang of all of the studying and just handling the step up in what was expected of her. Could that be part of it for your son? I like the idea of getting it on cd.

One other thing is when dd was struggling last year, I started helping her take notes, outlining, etc. She wound up learning how to use a highlighter. ;) Now her highlighter is her friend and she has learned to key in on the important things for the tests.
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Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by gressman9 »

tiffany wrote:I need more help. My daughter is on mod. 8 of Gen Science. I must say she liked this course pretty well, until she started failing all the tests. I've heard all the standard suggestions, even spoke to David at conference, and I must say she is still really struggling with the material.

Here's what we've done. First, I waited 'til 8th grade, because I anticipated this being an issue. She's more of an art, reading and writing sort of girl. For the first 2 tests, I let her take them as open book after completing the study guides, so she could see what level of work would be expected. When the definitions became an issue, I had her write them out at the beginning of the Unit, so she could study them daily. Also, by the 2nd unit I had her start listening on mp3 while following along. She wanted to do this, because she thought she retained difficult info. better when I read to her. As she continued to struggle on each and every test, I enlisted Dad's help with the studying. She would prepare the guides, and he would quiz her.

After Dad got involved, he also expressed concerns about the amount of memorizing rather than feeling she was understanding the material. I looked briefly into finding another science program for her, but didn't see much.

For now, I plan to write in her lesson plans reminders about studying her vocab words and have her start the study guides a couple of days earlier. I am sure she is listening to the readings and following along in her text. I don't know maybe that is hurting her. How could I figure out if this is a problem? Maybe she should be reading the text out loud.

The other thing I wonder about is next year. I talked to David H. about which course she should take Freshman year, and he said to continue on with Phys. Science because of all the memorizing in Biology. I get what he means by that, but I'm thinking the subject matter in Biology might be easier for her to relate to. I know subject matter makes a big difference in how well she learns something.

Any suggestions would be helpful!
First of all, if she is already struggling with general science, I would not put her into Biology next year. My dd in 9th is doing biology and there are TONS of vocab to memorize in each chapter. Also, she was so excited to do biology, so we skipped physical science. She is doing good now, but it takes her 3 weeks to do a module instead of two, and she really struggled through the first 6 modules as they were all about the cell...she thought biology would be more about plants and animals!

Another idea for can email Apologia on their website and ask for alternative tests for each module. They are multiple choice and short answer. Some children handle these better.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by Wendy B. »

My suggestion was to have her outline the text and write a narration of what she remembers. Draw and label all diagrams. Since you mentioned that she likes art she might retain more if she actually draws that diagram.

Have her complete the study guides with her written narration, review it with her , then let her add information if needed from the text. This will help her learn to find the important information. Have her re-read her outline and written narration daily. She will easily memorize the information without cramming. Learning to study is an important skill especially if she plans to go to college since not every class she needs to take in college will interest her.

If you decide to stick with Apologia I recommend staying with their sequence. Their Chemistry course is not easy and she will want to be solid with her math before attempting.

Best of luck mama!
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by tiffany »

Thanks Wendy for repeating your suggestions.

Carylee, thanks for the heads up on the test. I emailed Apologia today to look into that. Also, it's good to hear first hand about the Biology course. Sounds like we should just follow the sequence. I guess that clears that point up.

I'm assuming my daughter will only do 3 years of science in high school. So I'll guess we'll have all four years to spread it out, which will help.
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by mommywings2006 »

We used a lapbook that we bought. It's by a company called Live and Learn Press and it is the notebook supplement to Apologia's General Science. Apologia approved them to make it, but Apologia does not sell it. Please do a search under Live and Learn Press and you should be able to locate it.

Some people use Apologia as an open book test in the General Science to prep a student for this type of work for high school. By the way, some companies sell General Science as a 9th grade text, it is advanced for some 7th and 8th graders.

Thanks, Bev
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by TracyLee01026 »

I emailed Apologia due to this post as my 14yo dd is progressing very slowly through General Science. Dr. Jay said he would send one test at a time, as they are supposed to be used as re-tests and not for initial testing. My dd did poorly on the module 2 test and today she did great on the module 2 retest. However, we are still limping along and she is only at the module 4 study questions. SIGH.
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by tiffany »

Glad to know we're not the only ones struggling.

I emailed about the tests too. They told me the tests should not be used in place of the ones in the book. They are for retesting. I thought it was to offer a different format, but I guess that is not the intended purpose. Not that they couldn't be used that way. I guess I'm going to try to get her used to the original format. I'm sure the testing format will be the same throughout Apologia. It might be worthwhile to try a couple of the others, so she has experience with multiple choice.

I did look at those live and learn scrapbooks. They look really good, and I think my daughter would like it. She is halfway through now though, so I think we are going to wait until Phys. Science and see if she wants to do it then.

Dh and I plan to tweak a few things here and there to help her study as she goes along, so that she won't dread test prep so much. Then I think we are just going to go with it for the rest of the course. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
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Amy in NC
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Re: Need Apologia help!!

Unread post by Amy in NC »

I guess it would be too labor intensive to write your own multiple choice test based on the short answer test? If you were able to teach her solid mult choice skills, that would be a good skill in and of itself. There are a lot of professional tests that are mult choice where the answers are almost right or not the best answer. I have no personal experience with the Apologia tests, just feeling chatty this morning.

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Re: Is it difficult to start Aplogia?

Unread post by ManyXsBlessed »

Heart4Home wrote:Hello! My oldest is a 6th grader with average at best science experience. Is beginning the Apologia
science program as suggested in MFW for 7th grade a difficult thing to do with no prior serious lab work etc??? Im really starting to think ahead about high school/college etc and wanting to give a good start in these more difficult subjects.
Any knowledge in this area would be appreciated!

Karen in WA
It hasn't been difficult for my son. He is enjoying it. I just gave him the MFW schedule and he has been completing it on his own. The first test was tough, I'll admit, but after that things got easier. I think it is because he learned on that first test that he will need to study to get a good grade. He got a 92% on the next one. It is his favorite subject this year.
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