Skip to main content

The Shame

I can't even believe the following words are getting ready to come out of my mouth be written in this post. I feel like a traitor, like I have no business homeschooling with this attitude. I know that many will just not even believe I feel this way.


Are you ready.

Here goes.

Dawson and I hate Apologia!

I know! The shame!

I have heard nothing but good things about it, so we purchased Exploring Creation with Biology, with the companion cd and slide set.

I poured over other blogs, read suggestions, came up with a doable schedule.

We started with Module 14 so that we would actually have leaves to do the leaf study. Dawson trudged through the reading and assignments and experiments. He even attempted to have a good attitude about it.

Then I had him do the Study Guide to prepare for the test. And I told him he could take this first test as an open-book so that he could see how the Study Guide related to the test.

And then when I looked at the test this morning and saw that the test really had nothing to do with the Study Guide, I busted. And he busted. He said, "That study guide was a waste of time!" Now, I know it wasn't. It was an intense review. But he didn't get anything out of it. He was looking for answers to put on a piece of paper to prepare for a test. (Isn't that one of my biggest complaints about public school?)

I realized what has been bothering me these past couple of weeks. It's a big, 'ol boring textbook with lots of complicated language and lots of impossible-to-answer On Your Own questions and a Study Guide that is basically worthless (unless just used as a review) and a test that Dawson was going to not do well at, because he was preparing for the test by answering the questions on the Study Guide. He was bored and frustrated and could care less about doing those lessons everyday. That's why he put it off until the very last thing of the day and then was teary-eyed the entire time he was working on it.

I mean no disrespect to the geniuses at Apologia. I get the reasons behind why it's set up the way it is. But for Dawson, it doesn't work. He is not science and math bent. He is a Language Arts, History, Fine Arts buff. If I just sat back and let him learn science this way, he would eventually implode.

Now, some kids may do great with this type of curriculum. But the reasons above are the reasons Dawson didn't do well in school. These are the reasons he didn't enjoy learning. All the Apologia curriculum is, is a Creation-based textbook. And if I was satisfied with him doing textbook science, I would have just left him in public school. He needs to learn it in a way that he can feel it, smell it, touch it, draw it, and not all of that after he's done everything required in an ordinary textbook.

Yes, I am being controversial here. Sorry if I am stepping on anyone's toes.

So, I did what I do in these circumstances. I researched a good "Living" curriculum that someone else has already developed (for probably the same reasons I wanted to), with a couple of base books (that have excellent reviews), Living books, videos, experiments, etc. She has done it, prepared it, and provided it at no cost.

I got on our school's website and printed off the PASS objectives for Biology in High School in the State of Oklahoma and saw that this curriculum I am choosing teaches TONS more than the PASS objectives require.

So, I have hope.

And so Biology has been put on the back-burner until our main book comes in at the library. Then we'll get started.

Dawson was really excited about this new way of learning Biology (and completely relieved). That knot in my stomach instantly disintegrated.

I'll let you know how it goes!


  1. Hmmm...So what are you using now? Link? Jake used Apologia General Science last year and did fine with it, but he specifically wanted a change this year and we're doing Prentice Hall Earth Science. I was hoping we'd switch back to Apologia Biology next year. He goes-with-the-flow so everything "works" for him and he doesn't complain, but I of course am always on the look out for the "perfect". Sorry it didn't work out for you and Dawson, but you know, it's AWESOME that you recognized it early on and are willing to make the changes needed for Dawson! That's a GREAT Mom (and homeschooler)!

  2. good for you... researching what works best in your home. that's what this is supposed to be about. right? ;)

    we tested apologia last year with anatomy. i liked it... but mostly because i love learning about the body. ;) we have sea creatures for this year... we'll see how it goes. i imagine things change a bit in upper levels of science... so i'll be curious to see what you chose as a 'living' science. sounds much more fun! :)

  3. Love it! I came out of the closet this summer about our dislike of Apologia for high school. My husband is a biology professor at a major university and finds Apologia to be an embarrassment. That said, our daughter is actually doing Apologia physical science through our co-op this year. But next year he'll be teaching an ecology class.

  4. I wanted a hands on science too but couldn't find anything I liked so my son will be taking Biology at the local home school book store. It is almost all labs. You might look into something similar in your area. Our church also offers classes.

    I commented on one of your posts about Home School in the Woods for history.

    I remembered that my son has an awesome book called 1776 and I got it at Half Price Books for under $20. It has reproductions of letters from Washington, documents, all kinds of really neat stuff. Here is a link to an Amazon version. There are several different versions and the one we got came in it's own box sleeve.

  5. Nicole,
    I LOVE you blog! I have been reading your past posts and am enjoying them! I can so relate to all you have said about your son Dawson, My daughter had many of the same hurdles when she was in public school. We have been homechooling since I pulled her out of 5th grade, she is now in "10th" grade. I Love how you post about what Dawson is working on, so many bloggers focus only on their younger children that it is refeshing to be able to follow your updates on him.
    We are working on the ancients time period using Mystery of History I wish I could have used the curriculum you used sounds fantastic! I am going to look thru your post to see which books you all read. We are also reading Swiss Family Robinson, I hope to find any activities you did with that one also in your blog posts.
    Hope you don't think I am a stalker just really am enjoying your blog - Great Job!

  6. I am one of those people who loves Apologia science but I just wanted to share that you should feel absolutely no shame in not liking it!! That is one of the awesome things about homeschooling - you can use whatever you like, whatever works best, and whatever you choose!

    Different personalities, different learning styles, and different objectives all create the need for different kinds of materials. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Apologia worked really well for our family and we met all of our high school science requirements for both kids with it but that doesn't mean it works for all. :)

    Never be afraid to "go against the flow" and follow what you know to be best for your child! :)

  7. I love Apologia for elementary age children, but we also tried it for high school(Physical Science) with Gage and it was a disaster. Just like you, I found myself frantically searching for a new curriculum real quick.
    I'm glad you discovered what doesn't work and it sounds like you've found something that will be a perfect fit. I look forward to hearing about it.

  8. Good for you for not slogging through something that is not working. I'd love to know what you ended up choosing.

    We are doing Biology this year and I had been looking for something that included both Botany and the Human Body. I think I have found it with Elemental Science. We'll see how it goes.

    Good luck with your new Biology program.


  9. We love Apologia upper sciences, but they definitely are challenging. Although they are textbooks, they are not the typical read and regurgitate kind. The OYO questions and the tests require critical thinking. If it was as simple as memorizing answers less people would struggle with it.

    That said, you gotta do what works. We do the study guides, but not as prep for the test. We are using the Biology this year and it is our third upper level Apologia book, so my ds is used to it by now.

    Have you checked out the reccomendations from the Well Trained Mind book for high school science? Also, you might want to look at how Harmony Art Mom does Biology. She has great things on her website plus her Squidoo pages. She uses lots of notebooking and experiments.

    Good luck!!

  10. Oh no! I'm planning on using the Apologia General Science with my son who is similar to yours in that he is not a science/math person. We actually hated the Apologia elementary science books. We are probably the only ones who did! They were so chock full of minute details about the specific subject that they bored us to tears! Do elementary kids really need to know every possible detail about every planet? Anyways, I purchased the General Science thinking it would be different and really didn't know what else to use. I look forward to seeing what you decide to use now.

  11. Good for you for trying it...and then doing what works for your family. We had the same experience with a math curriculum which all our friends said was the curriculum that would basically save the world. ;) We struggled through it for two months before I looked at the kids and said "This is NOT working for us. And that's OK." And we found something else.

    Way to go, Mom!!!

  12. Wow - you started with the leaf collection and it still didn't work for you? I'm completely just kidding and feel a little bad in that my positive experience with Apologia Biology may have influenced you to go into the curriculum with high hopes. Apologia at the high school level is definitely textbook-based work. And, it's a big, heavy book. We joke about how we could break a foot if we dropped the book on it around here.

    But, our experience with Apologia Biology was very positive. I read the whole book along with my daughter and found it fascinating. It brought back high school and college biology classes to my mind and I loved the review and extension of what I knew. While my daughter didn't find EVERY chapter interesting, overall, she did find the book engaging. She also felt that the study guides were good preparation for the tests. There are some tweaks I will make when my son takes it, but overall I was happy with the course. We are using Apologia Marine Biology this year and we are having a very good experience with that course as well.

    The best curriculum in the entire world for one child may the worst curriculum in the entire world for another child. You are a very smart homeschooling mom to figure that out so quickly and make the corrections as needed. The worst thing to do is to slog along with something that is definitely not working due to "curriculum guilt." The important thing is that children are learning, growing, and making those important connections which help them to broaden their view of the world.


  13. It is such a relief to know that I am not the only one! We tried Apologia last year for 8th grade & it was a beating. (Nothing wrong with it! Just not for our famiy.)

    My daughter is using Biology 101 by Westfield Studios this year & it is working great.

    I look forward to browsing your blog! (I came over from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.)


Post a Comment

We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!

Popular posts from this blog

Cells ~ It's What's for Dinner

Dawson made edible cells on Friday.

He made an animal cell pizza ...

and a plant cell chocolate chip cookie ...

He reviewed what he's learned about cells the past two weeks, and I had dinner made by someone else. Win, win!!

I am linking up at Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

Ketogenic + Restless Legs = Insomnia ... Um, No!

Okay, I have been eating ketogenic for five days now. I have gotten through the carb detox headaches and have settled into a macro plan of 5% carbs (no grains), 20% protein, 75% fat.

The upside is that I like the idea of limiting my body of all of the glucose which will help my minor health conditions.

But there are definitely downsides!

The first is that I am having a hard time getting in enough fats under the strictures of the diet. Who knew it would be hard to eat fats? The real problem is that the fats I want to eat then include a consumption of protein and/or carbs and then throws off my percentages. Still working on that one.

The bigger issue is that for the past couple of nights I have had trouble sleeping, and I have had restless legs.

Sleeping is one of those things that I do well. I go to bed at the same time every night (for the most part) and get up at the same time each morning. I can fit in a 15-30 minute power nap in the afternoon and have no trouble going to sleep at n…

America: The Story of Us ~ Episode 3: "Westward 1" Lesson Plans

This past summer, when I planned our lessons for this year, I was enthralled with how much information was in Episode 3 ~ Westward. It couldn't be done in just three weeks, as I had intended for each unit. So, I broke Westward up into two separate units: Westward 1 and Westward 2. This week I will provide the lesson plans for Westward 1. We spent three weeks on this part of the unit.

We readThe Captain's Dog by Roland Smith. We read an equal number of pages each day to cover the three-week unit (Suprisingly, Dawson did not enjoy this book as much as I thought he would. With him being such a dog-lover, I thought he would appreciate it more. But it just didn't have enough action for him. You'll find that he's hard to please when it comes to literature. I actually really enjoyed The Captain's Dog and thought it was a great piece of historical fiction.)

We watched the entire Episode 3, did the discussion questions/video quiz for the episode and the vocabulary words…