Q: I understand that Apologia Science books are for grades 6 or 7 and above. What do you recommend for the earlier years of science education?

A: I recommend unit studies. I love the KONOS curriculum. If you are not a KONOS user, I like "Considering God's Creation" by Eagle's Wings Publications as well as "Developing Critical Thinking Through Science" by Critical Thinking Books and Software. For junior high, there is another homeschool science curriculum that you should look at. It is called "The Rainbow," and it is produced by Beginning Publishing House. Many students have taken The Rainbow's junior high courses and then done well in our high school courses.

Q: So clearly a parent need not feel intimidated by science with all the help available! Can you briefly describe the levels currently available?

A: Our courses start at the seventh grade, which is the first grade in which I think the student should have a structured science course. Prior to seventh grade, I would stress mathematics. I would make science a once-a-week or once-every-other-week activity based on unit studies. The seventh-grade course is a general science course in which the student is introduced to the methodology of science, creating and analyzing experiments, the difference between science and technology, the science of history, archaeology, fossils, creation/evolution, biological classification, and the human body. The eighth-grade course is a physical science course that covers air, the atmosphere, water, the hydrosphere, earth, the lithosphere, weather, the basic laws of motion, the basic forces in creation, the solar system, and some basics about the universe. The ninth-grade course is a biology course. It is a rigorous, college-preparatory course that requires a great deal from the student. It requires the memorization of about 25 vocabulary words every two weeks, and it requires the student to retain the information he or she learns. It is a survey of the five kingdoms in creation, concentrating on cellular biology and genetics. Human anatomy and physiology are specifically not covered in the course, as they are not considered college-prep topics. The 10th-grade course is a rigorous, college-prep chemistry course that covers thermochemistry, chemical formulas, nomenclature, the mole concept, stoichiometry, models of the atom, molecular structure, kinetics, thermodynamics, equilibrium, acid/base reactions, and reduction/oxidation reactions. It is very mathematical in nature. Students must have completed algebra one to take the course. The 11th-grade course is a rigorous, college-prep physics course. It is also very mathematical, covering kinematics, Newton's Laws, vector analysis, energy, momentum, harmonic motion, waves, electromagnetism, electrical potential, and basic circuit analysis. The student needs to have seen the three basic trig functions and how they are defined on a right triangle to take this course. Some math courses cover that near the end of geometry; Saxon covers it in algebra two. In 12th grade, the student gets a choice. He or she chooses the subject that he or she most enjoyed and takes an advanced course in it. When combined with the first-year course, the advanced course "fills in the gaps" and completes the first year of college in that subject. Thus, if the student takes biology and advanced biology, the student has covered everything that is covered in a first-year college biology course. This is called an "AP" (Advanced Placement) course. In other words, two years of the subject with our curriculum gives the student an AP course in that subject.

Q: The people who I know who use your books absolutely rave about them. I have heard it confirmed time and time again that the programs speak to the student and are wonderfully understandable. Where can we purchase the Apologia Science books and learn more about the program?