The textbook is a hardbound book that contains real life colorful photos. While the text uses scientific terms, it reads in a smooth narration that holds the students attention. The intended grades for Zoology 2 is K-6 grade but it could also be used for middle school as well. They even have the option of a Jr Notebooking Journal you could buy instead of the regular one for your younger students. Depending on your child's reading ability, they could read this on their own or it makes a great read aloud together. I'd have to say one of my favorite aspects with this curriculum is the ability to do it with all my close in age children at once. I love being able to do unit studies as a group!
If teaching science intimidates you, Apologia took care of all the leg work and makes this an easy curriculum to implement. From the time you open the textbook, they have listed in the front the many ways of support and contact information if you need help. From there, they go on to suggest how to use this curriculum with a step-by-step guide that you are welcome to use or adapt to suit your family as needed. From there, it lists all needed supplies for each lesson with most of the experiments needing things you can easily find around your house. If you desire even more information on what you are studying, they provide a website in the textbook that you can access to find videos & other cool features that correspond to each chapter.
In addition to the cool pictures and loads of information, you'll also find experiments & "Try This" (think mini science lessons you can do on the fly) mixed into each lesson. Swimming Creatures also has the students working on an ocean box piece by piece with the corresponding lessons so by the time you finish this course, you have a really neat display of what all the student learned.
The notebooking journal is a spiral bound notebook that contains all the pages & activities the student needs to go along with the text. At the beginning, there is a description of how to use each section. My favorite part of this book is the schedule found in the front of the journal! As a busy mom, I appreciate not having to figure out how to break down curriculum to get it accomplished in a school year and would rather have a schedule placed in front of me. Even though this is a suggested schedule (which includes what pages to read & what notebooking pages & activities to complete), you certainly don't need to follow it. We adapted it as needed. There are a total of 13 lessons but they broke it down into 26 weeks which is more than enough for a complete year, doing science twice a week.
Some of the activities contained in the journal are; areas for the student to record fascinating facts about what they read with an area to draw pictures to go along with those facts, review questions (answers are found in the back of the textbook), copy work of a Bible verse with the option of doing it in print or cursive, vocabulary crossword puzzles, "Dive Deeper" section with book & dvd suggestions and experiments, scientific speculation sheets and my childrens favorite, lots of colorful mini books to complete and attach to the notebook!
Since my oldest 3 girls had already completed this course the other year, my son was the lucky one who got to review this. Though typically, I try to do science with the older 4 all together and Apologia makes that easy to do. My kids take turns reading the text aloud or I read it to them to change things up. For the most part, we followed the suggested schedule though we sometimes did it more than 2 days a week just to break the reading up into smaller segments.
I love & appreciate everything about not only Zoology 2 but the other Apologia science courses we've had the chance to complete. The only change I personally would make to the notebooking journal is to make the pages perforated. It would make removing the pages for the mini-books easier as well as when I assemble our end of year portfolios, it would be nice to be able to neatly tear out the pages I want to place in it.
With all that said, this science course is chock full of great information from a Biblical perspective of creation and one we have enjoyed completing!!