Tuesday 2 June 2015

Apologia: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: One Year On

Last year, we used the Apologia Elementary book: Human anatomy and physiology and previously, we have used the astronomy book. 

The Apologia books are Christian and written from a clear six day Creation perspective. They are described as being suitable for children from six to thirteen. Each chapter includes a written section, questions for narration, experiments and projects. As the books are designed for home educators, they tend to use items which are readily available. The author of these books is Jeannie Fulbright. 

This year, we decided to use the Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day which covers birds, insects, flying reptiles and bats. We had purchased this book when we first started home educating but didn't complete the book as it was such a different style to school science. We changed to the more familiar feeling Singapore Science but then reverted to the Apologia Astronomy book when Middle Son requested something in more depth. 


  • Christian curriculum
  • Clearly laid out activities
  • Notebooking journal also available
  • Covers aspects of flight as well as the creatures.
  • The depth of these books is quite impressive. When we used the Human anatomy and physiology book, we realised that parts of this were in greater depth than the IGCSE curriculum although obviously, it isn't an IGCSE text and doesn't cover exactly the same areas.
  • The book was really too difficult for my six year old. I realised that I had added in activities for the human body books so that it was accessible to him. I found this more difficult to do for the flying creatures book.
  • We found the US origin of the book made it difficult for us to use. The children are used to bird watching here and know a fair few of the common UK birds but the US birds used as examples were not familiar to them. I tried to substitute names where possible but found that I was limited by my knowledge of birds. For example, the cowbird is described as a bird which lays eggs in other birds' nests. I substituted cuckoo but then it was unsure about whether cuckoos behave in the same way as cowbirds when meeting up with other cuckoos which rather ruined the rest of the example. Similarly, references to the robin were confusing, particularly, when it was used for sizing as the American robin is larger than the European robin.
Sadly, due to these problems we haven't completed the book. Currently, I am using the UK National curriculum themes to write my own programme for the children. This is more work and I think, it needs a fair amount of improvement but does mean that I can design something at the correct level of difficulty and that is culturally correct.

In many ways, I would like Apologia to produce a British edition of this book using British examples or being clear where they are not British. I have heard of British home educators who have used the book successfully but sadly, it just proved too difficult for us to adapt it to our needs.

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  1. Perhaps you would get on better with the Swimming Creatures book. We are just about to finish it, and although there were a few shore creatures that we don't get in the UK there were not too many that my children had never heard of - and it made it fun to find out about a few 'new' ones. Agreed that it's a bit tricky for the younger ones and even a bit for the older ones at times, but on the whole we've enjoyed it. We only do it once a week, so it's taken us almost 2 years to get through, especially as we lapbook it (using a bought kit from live'n'learn press), which means they have to re-read some of the information to make the booklets. But it helps it sink in better (I hope) and they have something lovely and colourful to read back through any time they like :D

    Here's the link to the Apologia lapbook kits we use & love. We've used the Elementary Astronomy, Swimming Creatures, (secondary) General Science & Biology) http://www.liveandlearnpress.com/viewItems.php?category=18

    1. Caroline, that is an interesting thought. My youngest would love learning about swimming creatures. Lap booking would probably help, too.

  2. You have shared some good points. I can see the challenge in adapting the book. I am currently using the astronomy one with Miss K. I have the Flying Creatures on the shelf and can't remember if I used that one with J or not. I have all of them except Botany which I had but sold.

    1. We enjoyed the astronomy and the children would enjoy the physics and chemistry but I think they will get more out of it when they are a year or two older.

  3. Your comments on the book are helpful to me, as I might have considered it for the future, but I think because our children are so keen on birdwatching (of UK birds, obviously), it would be more difficult for the reasons you've mentioned.

    1. Yes, my children like birdwatching and there has been excitement when we have seen a woodpecker or some other unusual bird in the garden so I had hoped it would work. A UK version would be great.

  4. We have loved all the Apologia books (my older three have completed them all) but I have not started with my younger two. I don't think either are ready for more formal science study yet. Children are all so different, aren't they?
    We used the flying animals book alongside a bird book for children I had during my childhood and that seemed to work well for us in adapting it to our more British needs!