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Apologia Science: Exploring Creation with Biology

Updated on November 20, 2016

High School Level Biology-Personalized for the Naturalist at Heart

Apologia Biology for Homeschool Biology

This was our first year of high school using the Charlotte Mason method with my 14 year old son. I followed the Ambleside Online's recommendation and used Apologia Biology along with the companion CD and the dissection lab kit. At the beginning of the year I was nervous that the textbook approach to biology would dampen our living books and nature study style of learning. It has proven not to be so.

We added some extra nature study activities, journal projects, biologist biographies, and field trips to make this a fantastic year of science.

If you follow the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling or even the Classical style, you will find the information in this lens helpful in making subtle changes to the course to customize the learning to your child. We have one artist and one naturalist that enjoyed this year's biology course so it was worth the effort!

Exploring Creation With Biology - Apologia Science

Exploring Creation with Biology 2nd Edition Full Course on CD-ROM
Exploring Creation with Biology 2nd Edition Full Course on CD-ROM
This is the main textbook for our high school biology course. We took the contents and added in many nature study items to enrich our experience.

Apologia Biology-Charlotte Mason Style

Including Nature Study with Your Biology Study

"His parents know that the first step in intimacy is recognition; and they will measure his education, not solely by his progress in the 'three R's,' but by the number of living and growing things he knows by look, name, and habitat. A child of six will note with eager interest the order of time in which the trees put on their leaves; will tell you whether to look in hedge, or meadow, or copse, for eyebright, wood-sorrel, ground-ivy; will not think that flowers were made to be plucked, for--

'Tis (his) faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes"--

but will take his friends to see where the milk-wort grows, or the bog-bean, or the sweet-gale. The birds of the air are no longer casual; he soon knows when and where to expect the redstart and the meadow pipit. The water-skater and the dragon-fly are interesting and admired acquaintances. His eyes have sparkled at the beauty of crystals, and, though he may not have been able to find them in situ, he knows the look of the crystals of lime and quartz, and the lovely pink of felspar, and many more."

Charlotte Mason, volume 3, chapter 7, page 76 (original text)

Why Include a Study of Nature?

Nature study is real science and an important part of the study of biology.

How To Plan A Biology Study With Charlotte Mason Principles in Mind

Making Biology More of a Living Study

As I prepared my son's high school science study, I tried to keep Charlotte Mason's words in mind. I truly wanted science to be meaningful and connected to his real life. Not all things can be seen and observed and measured but many can. I took the Apologia Biology text and went through it over the summer and found that without much additional effort, we could make his learning fit Charlotte Mason's model for teaching science. My son still reads the text and completes the notebooks but we also try to find ways of incorporating our nature walks, study, and journals into what he is learning.

Trying to Make Biology More Meaningful and Alive

Charlotte Mason places before us a mirror. A mirror for us to decide if we are truly educating our children in the realm of science. First consider what many of us do:

"What do we do? We consider the matter carefully; we say the boy will make a jumble of it if he is taught more than one or two sciences. We ask our friends--'What sciences will tell best in examinations?' and, 'Which are most easily learned?' We discover which are the best text-books in the smallest compass. The boy learns up his text, listens to lectures, makes diagrams, watches demonstrations. Behold! he has learned a science and is able to produce facts and figures, for a time any way, in connection with some one class of natural phenomena; but of tender intimacy with Nature herself he has acquired none."

Charlotte Mason,

Volume 3, chapter 7, pages 76-77 (original text)

What is the Handbook of Nature Study?

This book has become the basis for our family's nature study. We use it just about every week to learn how to observe and understand what we see during our outdoor nature time.

This free mini-ebook explains how to get more out of your nature study experience by showing you three easy steps to use as your family grows in confidence. I invite you to download your copy today. 

Handbook of Nature Study
Handbook of Nature Study
This huge book is vital to our family's study of nature along with using Apologia Biology.

Apologia Biology Textbook -Ideas for Nature Study

Lots of ways to make your biology come alive

Here are the ideas we have for adding in nature study and living books to Apologia Biology

All books referred to are listed below on this page....just scroll down.

Module 1:

Read biography of Carl Linnaeus

Read Microbe Hunters, chapter 1 Leeuwenhoek

Module 2:

Read Microbe Hunters, chapter 2 Spallanzani and chapter 3 Pasteur

Start a pond study to complement the study of microscopic organisms-protozoa

Use A Golden Guide to Pond Life

Read biography of Louis Pasteur

Module 3:

Continue pond study-algae

Handbook of Nature Study section on insects of the brook and pond

Module 4:

Nature study focus on mushrooms and other fungi

Work with yeast

Work with molds

Modules 5-7:

The Biology Coloring Book by Robert Griffin-color appropriate pages to help visualize the abstract concepts in these modules

Module 8:

Growing pea plants to support Mendelian genetic study (just for fun)

Read a biography of Gregor Mendel

Grow radishes as part of experiment 8.4

Module 9:

Read a biography of Charles Darwin

Handbook of Nature Study section on rocks and minerals

Module 10:

Identify a local mammal and then draw where it fits in the food web.

Learn about your local watershed and then diagram it or draw a map for your journal.

Module 11:

Dissection of an earthworm

Nature study focus on Invertebrates-garden snails, earthworms

Handbook of Nature Study section on invertebrate animals other than insects

Module 12:

Nature study focus on arachnida (spiders) and/or insects and/or lepidoptera

Dissection of a crayfish

Handbook of Nature Study section on insects

Module 13:

Dissection of a perch and a frog

Nature study focus on amphibians

Handbook of Nature Study section on fishes

Handbook of Nature Study section on amphibians

Module 14:

Collect leaf samples

Nature study focus on flowerless plants

Handbook of Nature Study section on flowerless plants

Module 15:

Insectivorous plants-observe a Venus Flytrap or Sundew

Nature study focus on garden flowers-parts of a flower

Collect and press flowers

Germinate seeds

Handbook of Nature Study section on plants/garden flowers

Module 16:

Nature study focus on birds, reptiles, or mammals

Handbook of Nature Study section on birds

Handbook of Nature Study section on reptiles

Handbook of Nature Study section on mammals

Live and Learn Press - Biology Notebook Set

We used Live and Learn Press' Apologia Biology Learn 'N Folder kit which gives your review questions a lapbook format. My visual-spatial learner LOVED this as an alternative to just writing the answers out. This gave him an easy way to review each module before the text. You can see the kit on Currclick.

Biology Coloring Book - High School Level Resource

The Biology Coloring Book
The Biology Coloring Book
We were able to coordinate our study of biology using the Apologia text with the coloring pages in this resource. Using colored pencils and this coloring book was a perfect fit for my visual-spatial learner. Excellent explanations and supplementary information.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Microscope work with mushroomsEarthworm dissection labPond studyDragonfly Notebook PageMammals Notebook PageMushrooms Notebook Page
Microscope work with mushrooms
Microscope work with mushrooms
Earthworm dissection lab
Earthworm dissection lab
Pond study
Pond study
Dragonfly Notebook Page
Dragonfly Notebook Page
Mammals Notebook Page
Mammals Notebook Page
Mushrooms Notebook Page
Mushrooms Notebook Page

Field Guides For California

We use a variety of field guides to help us with our nature study using Apologia Biology. If you live in a different region, I suggest going into your local bookseller and looking at field guides in person. This way you can get an idea of what they are like before purchasing them.

Please leave a comment - Or even a question!

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am wondering about the biographies used, like for Carl Linneus, etc. Is there a specific biography title? I didn't see it. Also, did you use an "Outdoor Hour" book? I would like to use your ideas here, but I want to make sure I have the needed information.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Neat lens

    • Barb McCoy profile imageAUTHOR

      Barb McCoy 

      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes but only as a tool. Many times we did "open book" tests or we did sections orally. I knew we would cover some of the concepts again in marine biology and in human anatomy. I concentrated on making their study meaningful and tied it into our nature study as much as possible.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Did you also use the Apologia Biology tests?

    • iijuan12 profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      Great resource! We have used some of this book in our science studies.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These are awesome resources! I was a bit nervous about using a textbook this year, but you have some good tips for making this study come alive..

    • jmchaconne profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm really impressed with your lens. I'm writing a lens about slime molds. Those industrious little amoebas fascinate me. If humans exhibited more of their attributes, we'd have a better world! I'm writing a lens about them. Any hints you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks for a great lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I found it! Thanks!

    • JanieceTobey profile image


      9 years ago

      @Barb McCoy: Ok, thanks! I'll check out the link too! :-) I appreciate the info!

    • JanieceTobey profile image


      9 years ago

      Ahh.. I've been wondering about those biology coloring books! So your son liked the one he used? On your nature study section above, you've mentioned growing pea plants. Can you please explain a bit more as to what you did with the pea plants in order to learn about genetics?

    • profile image

      DianaHarper LM 

      9 years ago

      We still have some modules left. Thanks for the great resources. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • ngio64 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens. We used Exploring Creation with Biology but did not see this lens or think to do nature studies along with it. Squid Angel blessings!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is great. Biology does go beyond the textbook as you rightly point out.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My oldest son is using this biology this year. I'll have to refer back to some of your suggestions here. Thanks. Great lens. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks so much for including Mindful Ramblings in your links! Love how you've combined Charlotte Mason's ideas with Apologia Biology.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      What a great lens! I loved your list of ideas for nature study and living books to go along with this book.

    • LilliputStation profile image


      9 years ago

      My two oldest boys have been working on biology. They are having a great time with all the experiments and observations. One of their homeschool friends has been joining them for the labs, and now that they have started the dissections, my oldest daughter and their friend's sister have also joined in. While I do like the living books approach, I have found that some of my children would rather just get the information in a distilled "textbook" form. I think Apologia does a good job of engaging children with various learning styles. I love that they make it possible for me to give my science loving children the type of lab experiences they would get in a traditional school.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      10 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      We prefer living books, too, but a local homeschool co-op is using Apologia for biology next year and we are considering what we should choose. Thanks for your information! :D

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Thank you for your information. My son is wanting to use the "living books" method of learning for biology this year. We are new to CM methods of homeschooling. I have a senior, 10th grader, 8th grader, and 5th grader and have been homeschooling the entire time using only textbooks until the beginning of this year. Would you be able to tell me or give me a list to go with those grades for science.

      As far as the biology is concerned, did you read the info. in the textbook and then the extra reading and labs? How did you do it?

      We are starting school in 1.5 weeks and don't know how to get this right with Science.

      I wanted to email you but couldn't find your address.

      Thank you. I appreciate any help that you can give me.

      Tamra Rosendahl

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      12 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I've heard lots of good things about Apologia. We use Noeo now, but at higher levels I imagine we'll switch over. Great resource and glad to have it in the CM group!


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