Thursday, February 28, 2013

Working Apologia Biology- Tips and Helps

We have started using Apologia's Biology.  After looking at many different science programs we decided that Apologia's Biology gave my teen the best, overall understanding in learning about living things.
 It wasn't an easy decision. We had attempted working the General Science with my son in the past and it never really took off. But now he is more mature and we have made some changes in our style of learning to better adapt the curriculum to our own needs.
I thought as we go along I would sort of share those tips and helps we are using just in case it might help others who would like to use this program but are not sure if they can adapt it to their learners.

As a side note: We are using the 2nd edition of the Apologia Biology along with the audio version of the textbook and also the Live and Learn Lapbook CD Resource as well just in case he wanted to create a lapbook version of the program.

So far, my son started working in Module 1. I had him working on his own because I knew from before using Apologia we came upon some bumps in the road, having him work on his own I would really be able to see what changes might be needed.  He finished the module and then I went ahead and we discussed the module summary. I had him verbally answer the questions on the summary page. I made a few notes of things I saw as trouble spots and this also was good for me because it told me what might be needed and what changes we actually could make to the program to help it be more successful for us.   Afterall, this is a GREAT program - we just needed to tweak it so that my teen could get the most benefit out of it. So here we begin tweaking and twisting;

Some tweaks~

* We needed to break down the module into much smaller chunks. This was very easy to do because within the module there is many subtitles so scheduling a bit "less" for him to process and digest will be much easier to handle. Each module has a good deal of information breaking this down will and could eliminate the yawns and the "ego" effect.  ( ego- "eyes glazing over")

* Flash cards - even colored were not really effective for the vocabulary. In module 1 there is about 27 vocabulary words and as I pointed out to my teen that isn't exactly all of the bold print ( which are things he should know and study to know).  Even having my son each day read over the "yellow" index cards ( these were coded yellow for caution because he did not know them, others were white because he knew them) with their terms and definitions did not seem to help the information sink in.

I went to my teen and asked him what he was doing different this time that he had been doing before with his other subjects ( we first look at what has changed or what is different)  he said he thinks he isn't remembering because he isn't doing his written narrations for the Module. ( we left narrations out because we started working the lapbook folds instead) Then I recalled he is very successful when he can read/listen to something and then write down his ideas or points about a particular part of the chapter or reading.  That was a missing component. He remembers through relevancy. Making use of the new information, even by adding the new words to a written narrations and giving examples for the new word brings relevancy for him.  So he switched back to doing written narrations for each section.  I checked on how this was working and he delightfully could ramble off the four criteria for life AND the two categories the encompass the metabolism and could give examples of all.

* We stopped using the lapbook folds he decided they were not his style he much prefers to work in his one note and with me reading and discussing the material, thinking of examples ( this really helps to make connections in the new material, again an example of his style and the need for relevancy) he can write down.

* Generally the modules take approximately 2 weeks or so but we plan to work at his pace so if some take a shorter time that is fine or if they take a longer time we will take 4 weeks if we need to, again all depending on what he is working on.

Some twists~

* We plan to incorporate possibly some current events in the news on the topics, videos and living books while working the modules.  ( I will share those as we use them) I don't plan on using any right now for the first couple modules because of what they cover.

* We also plan on for the final test, instead of print/paper test he will create a poster with animations, folds or whatever he would like to answer the questions on the written test. He can do it any way he likes.   Also, at his discretion he can also create power points for the tests OR the modules themselves if he would like.

I have noticed a huge CHANGE and a real engaged learner now with our tweaks and twists.  I hope some might find these ideas helpful. I also came upon an app to use for the Apologia Vocabulary, you can find the information on this here. 

Happy Science Learning!

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