## Discovering Design With Physics

As I mentioned in my previous post, I haven’t been blogging much because I have been busy teaching classes and writing my new physics course, Discovering Design with Physics. However, that book is now at the printer, so I have more time for blogging. My previous post discussed how I begin and end the course, and now I want to give my readers an idea of what the differences are between my new physics course and the one that is still in print (Exploring Creation with Physics, 2nd Edition).

I wrote Exploring Creation with Physics, 2nd Edition almost 20 years ago, and while the material required for a college-prep physics course hasn’t changed since then, there have been some new developments in physics that are worth addressing. For example, over the past 11 years, the Voyager spacecrafts left our solar system. That is not only interesting in and of itself, but it is also a dramatic demonstration of Newton’s First Law of Motion. After all, they have been moving at roughly the same velocity since 1989, despite the fact that they haven’t used their fuel for propulsion since then! As another example, Pluto lost its status as a planet about 17 years ago. Thus, in this new physics book, it is not listed as one of the planets in the solar system.

More importantly, I decided to take a completely different approach in writing this new book. The “traditional” approach to physics is to start with the definitions of displacement, velocity, and acceleration. From there, you use equations to analyze motion in both one and two dimensions. After that, you then discuss Newton’s Laws, which actually dictate the behavior you have been using equations to analyze. That’s how I wrote Exploring Creation with Physics, 2nd Edition, because that’s the way every text from which I taught did it. However, I have never been happy with that approach. So for the new book, I decided to discuss displacement, velocity, and acceleration in the context of Newton’s Laws. That means the students learn about displacement and velocity in the context of Newton’s First Law, and then they learn about acceleration in the context of Newton’s Second and Third Laws. That way, the students learn why the motion being analyzed actually happens. The PhD physicist who reviewed the book for accuracy told me that this was a more satisfying treatment of motion.

In addition, I decided to take a new approach with the experiments as well. In the previous book, the students did several experiments where they were measuring things like acceleration, velocity, the period of a system’s motion, etc. Since those experiments involved measuring short intervals of time, the students had to repeat the experiment several times and then average the results so as to reduce experimental error. That is an important technique to learn, but it is also time-consuming. In the new physics course, the students do fewer experiments like that. They still learn the technique, but since they don’t use it as much, the experiments are not as repetitive or time consuming. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are fewer experiments. In fact, there are six more experiments in the new course compared to the old course!

Also, since I have been teaching physics for many years since the first book was written, I have learned better ways to communicate some of the more difficult concepts in the material. As a result, students will understand the material better. To ensure this, I field-tested the course with more than 70 students. They regularly communicated with me regarding how they were learning, and they even offered some excellent suggestions which led to some changes in the text. I have something very exciting to share about the results of that field test, but I am not at liberty to do so at this time. Be assured that I will do so when I am allowed.

Finally, my publisher has given me assurances that the student text will always be published as a hardcover book, since we encourage parents to use it for all their children over the course of many years. This is important, as there are some homeschooling publishers who have been producing their student texts as softcover books, which I think is unfortunate.

Of course, you might be wondering whether or not you should get this new text if you already have Exploring Creation with Physics, 2nd Edition. The new course is most certainly better than the old one for the reasons mentioned above. However, the old one is still a very good course. Thus, it really depends on how much strain the cost of the new course will put on your budget.

## Discovering Design With Biology

In 1997, Marilyn Durnell and I published Exploring Creation With Biology, a college-preparatory biology course designed specifically for home-educated students. Because the science of biology changes over time (especially when it comes to classification), we published a second edition of the course eight years later. Unfortunately, we never got the time to write a third edition of the course, but the publisher did eventually use a different author to write a new edition, which was definitely needed. While the content of that new edition is solid and I think it can be used in a setting where there is a teacher who is knowledgeable about biology, I don’t think it is useful in most homeschool situations. As a result, I have teamed up with a different author, Dr. Paul Madtes Jr, to write a completely new biology book, Discovering Design With Biology. You can see samples of the book here (just click on “Product Resources”), but I thought I would use this post to answer the question that I have already been getting: “How is this book different from the second edition of Exploring Creation With Biology?”

Most importantly, Dr. Madtes is the first author. Thus, all the major decisions about the book (what would be covered, how it would be covered, etc.) were made by him. This is important, because he teaches biology at the university level, so he knows what will best prepare high school students for that experience. As a result, the “voice” of this book is different from that of my other books. It is still written in first person in a very conversational style, but the style is that of Dr. Madtes, not me. For example, I rarely include Bible verses in my books unless they relate directly to the material. However, Dr. Madtes thought that the best way to keep students focused on the Creator would be to start every chapter out with one or more verses. Thus, that’s what you see in this book.

Unlike the second edition of Exploring Creation With Biology, this book builds biology from the ground up. After an introductory chapter, we start with molecules, then we discuss cells, then cell division, then genetics, then biotechnology, then single-celled organisms and fungi, then animals, then plants, then environmental science, and then biomes. Within each topic, the focus is also quite different. In genetics, for example, Exploring Creation With Biology, 2nd Edition concentrated on Mendelian genetics and only briefly mentioned non-Mendelian genetics. In this book, we discuss the non-Mendelian mechanisms in more detail. We also discuss the different types of mutations that can occur and how they affect the organism.

Evolution is handled differently as well. In this book, the design you see in nature is stressed. In fact, that word appears on 92 of the 512 pages that make up the 16 chapters of content. However, evolution is only discussed in the final section of each chapter. The last section of the first chapter, for example, deals with natural selection. We discuss how it works and how it ends up being a necessary component in any scientific treatment of origins. Indeed, we discuss how anyone who believes in a Global Flood (which we both do) must use natural selection as a means by which to understand the diversity of life we see today. In other chapters, however, the final section is devoted to explaining how the material that has been discussed demonstrates that there is a limit to the amount of change natural selection can produce. As a result, a recent, supernatural creation followed by a Global Flood is the scenario that best fits the current data.

One other notable difference is our treatment of human beings. Exploring Creation With Biology, 2nd Edition did not discuss human anatomy or physiology at all, but this book devotes almost an entire chapter to it. We also discuss how and why biologists classify people in the same biological order as lemurs, monkeys, and apes, and why there is no problem with that approach. However, we also discuss how humans are unique in creation, since we have been given the Image of God. Thus, while we have several physical characteristics in common with many mammals, we are something wholly different from any of them.

As was the case in the second edition of Exploring Creation With Biology, there are three kinds of laboratory exercises in the course. There are 17 experiments that use household items. These include extracting DNA from fruit, determining the effects of temperature and pH on proteins, exploring reflexes, and exploring the effect of surface area on diffusion. An additional 14 experiments use a microscope kit, and they include identifying different stages of mitosis, examining bacteria cultures, studying blood, and studying invertebrates. The other seven experiments use a dissection kit. In those experiments, students dissect an earthworm, a crayfish, a fish, a frog, an egg, a feather, and a flower. In order for this course to count as a laboratory-based, high-school biology course, students must do all of at least two of those three types of experiments (household and dissection, household and microscope, or microscope and dissection).

Most importantly, we give Glory to the One who created it all. In the book’s introduction, we quote Carolus Linneaus:

I saw the infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful God from behind as he went away, and I grew dizzy. I followed his footsteps over nature’s fields and saw everywhere an eternal wisdom and power, an inscrutable perfection. (Peter Whitfield, History of Science, Scholastic Library Pub 2003, p. 23)

At the end, we quote John Ray:

There is for a free man no occupation more worthy and delightful than to contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God. (Charles E. Raven, John Ray, Naturalist: His Life and Works, Cambridge University Press, 1986, p. 83)

## Discovering Design with Earth Science is Finally Available!

Because of difficulties surrounding supply chains, employment, etc., it took a lot longer than expected, but Discovering Design with Earth Science is finally here! I have to take a moment to praise my publisher, who truly went above and beyond what most publishers would do in this situation. The facility that usually does the printing told my publisher that they couldn’t get the books done in time to get them out to those who are starting school in August. As a result, my publisher ended up contacting several printers and found one that would do a “short run” (printing a smaller number of books) to meet the needs of those who were counting on the book being available in August. Short runs cost more money per book, so my publisher is sacrificing income in order to make the books available to those who need them. Not many publishers would do that, and I want to commend Berean Builders for its commitment to customer service!

The course covers earth science at the late junior high/early high school level. In practical terms, it could be used for either 8th or 9th grade, depending on the student. It covers the basic structure of the earth, geology, fossils, physical oceanography, weather, and space. Like all my courses, it has laboratory exercises built right into the book. Some of the exercises use household items, but there are several that require a kit which has a digital mass scale, some chemistry supplies, and specific samples of sediments, rocks, minerals, and fossils.

As I have tried to do in the past, I strive to present both sides when it comes to the age of the earth. Throughout the first nine chapters of the book, students will learn the data that lead many scientists to conclude that the earth is billions of years old, but they will also learn the data that lead some scientists to believe the earth is thousands of years old. I do not tell the students what I believe, but they can probably figure it out if they want to. Nevertheless, here is how I end the ninth chapter:

“Before I end this chapter, however, I need to make you aware of one very important fact. As a knowledgeable scientist, I could have focused on just the evidence favoring uniformitarianism and against the YEC (young-earth creationist) view. As a result, I could have easily convinced you that science clearly demonstrates that the earth is billions of years old and the uniformitarian view of the geosphere is correct. I could also have focused on the evidence for catastrophism and against uniformitarianism, and I could have easily convinced you that science clearly demonstrates the earth is only thousands of years old, and the YEC view of the geosphere is correct.

Unfortunately, this is something every student experiences. Because your teachers and the authors of your textbooks know a lot more than you do, they can easily convince you of pretty much anything they want. Being a good scientist requires that you respectfully read and listen, but also investigate the issue for yourself. This is probably the most important thing to learn from this chapter. In fact, it is probably the most important thing to learn from all your education:

Regardless of how convincing teachers or textbooks are, do not form an opinion until you have looked at all sides of an issue. Otherwise, you might end up being fooled.”

## My Review of Exploring Creation With Earth Science

Normally, the only new titles I review from my former publisher are those that I originally wrote or had an important hand in developing. So far, I have reviewed six of them (here, here, here, here, here, and here). However, I feel compelled to review this new title, for two main reasons. First, I have just finished writing a middle school/high school earth science course, and some people might wonder if this elementary course will prepare students for my upper-level course. The answer is, “No.” Second, the author is different from all the other books in the publisher’s “Exploring Creation With…” elementary series, and readers need to be aware of that, because it makes this book very different from the others in the series. If you liked the previous books (authored by Jeannie Fulbright), you probably won’t like this new book.

Why do I say that? Let’s start with the way it is written. Fulbright has a knack for explaining science to elementary students without “talking down” to them. In my opinion, that’s not the case with this book. The tone comes off as condescending from time to time. More importantly, Fulbright is passionate about young-earth creationism and includes “Creation Confirmation” sections in her books. These sections highlight how the material being discussed confirms the young-earth creationist view. This book studiously avoids any direct mention of the age of the earth or even the method of creation. Students who use this course will not learn anything about the creation/evolution debate or the age of the earth debate.

Worse yet, while the author doesn’t discuss the age of the earth directly, there are several statements she makes that support an ancient earth. When discussing soil, for example, the author states:

How long does it take to make soil? That depends on where you start. If we start with really big rocks and wait for them to break down through the weathering process we studied, it can take thousands of years until they become the particles we know as sand, silt, and clay.

First, this statement is utterly false. Soil is formed incredibly rapidly during catastrophic floods and other high-erosion events. Second, it implies that sedimentary rocks take longer to form than the young-earth timescale, since the breaking down of rocks through the weathering process is just the first step in making sedimentary rocks. If that takes thousands of years, there is no time left for sedimentary rocks to form.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it’s bad that the book allows for an ancient earth. I don’t have a problem with that, even though I disagree. The problem is that the rest of the series is unabashedly young-earth, so I would assume that parents will expect this new book to be young-earth, and it is definitely not.

Also, there is not a single mention of the worldwide Flood in the entire course. I can’t imagine Fulbright ignoring such an important topic in the study of geology. After all, if you are a young-earther, the Flood is what shaped most of the geological structures we see today. If you are not a young-earther, you need to explain why you think the Flood didn’t do that. Instead, this book ignores the Flood entirely. It also pretty much ignores fossils! There are two sentences about fossils in this entire earth science book!

Another way this book differs from the others in the series is that it is not a “living book.” Fulbright strove to make her books deep and rich, and she tried to teach science by telling a story. By contrast, this is like an Usborne book. It is full of pictures, random facts, and terms that are often not explained or explained many pages after they are first discussed. In addition, it barely scratches the surface of nearly everything it covers.

There are also many scientific errors in the book. Based on a Wikipedia article, the author says that water is naturally blue, when it can be defined as, “A tasteless odorless colorless liquid with the chemical formula H2O.” She says that pressure isn’t a real force (it is), but then discusses the Coriolis force as if it is a real force (it isn’t). She also says:

The Sun actually provides us too much energy, so the earth has to get rid of some energy or it will overheat. Getting rid of extra heat is something important our atmosphere does.

Of course, the truth is that the atmosphere retains energy through the greenhouse effect in order to make the planet habitable. That is the opposite of what the book says.

If you are interested, this PDF lists the details of the 11 things that show this book is different from the others in the series, the 5 statements that implicitly support an old earth, the 18 serious scientific errors, and the 17 minor scientific errors that I found. It also lists 4 things that I simply do not understand.

## Discovering Design With Earth Science

My latest book has been sent to the printer, and it should be ready in June. To learn more about it, you can go to my publisher’s website. In addition to the course description, you can click on “Product Resources” to get the table of contents, the entire first chapter, a list of the experiment supplies, an overview of the experiments, and a scope and sequence for the course. You can also get on the waiting list so that you are notified as soon as it is ready.

I have already posted a couple of excerpts from the book, but I thought I would give you one more. This comes from the introduction:

You have lived on the earth all your life, but you probably don’t know very much about it. As a child, you probably enjoyed digging in the dirt. But what is dirt? How is it different from rocks? How are rocks different from fossils and gems, which are usually found in rocks? You have sometimes enjoyed the weather and sometimes complained about it. But what makes the different kinds of weather you have experienced? You generally get up after the sun rises, and you have probably gazed at the stars after the sun has set. But what makes the sun rise and set? What are the stars? You will find the answers to these questions through a study of earth science, which is what I will cover in this book.

The earth is a marvel of design and complexity, because God made it. Psalm 24:1 tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” Psalm 111:2 also tells us, “Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them.” I am sure that there have been times you have been delighted by the earth. I know that every time I sit on a beach or scuba dive in the ocean, I am delighted. The same thing happens when I gaze at a beautiful mountain or see constellations of stars in the night sky. Because I have been so delighted by the earth, I want to study it. I hope that this course makes you take even more delight in this planet that you call home, and I hope that it encourages you to continue studying the earth, even once you are finished with this book.

## My Review of Exploring Creation With Biology, 3rd Edition

The company that initially published my science textbooks has been slowly coming out with new editions, which is necessary. Science constantly changes, which means the textbooks must change as well. So far, I strongly recommend two of their new editions: The Human Body, 2nd Edition and Exploring Creation With Marine Biology, 2nd Edition. Another new edition, Exploring Creation With General Science, 3rd Edition, was not good enough for me to recommend, but I also don’t recommend against using it. Two other new editions, Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 3rd Edition and Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition, have so many flaws that I strongly recommend against using them. This edition belongs in a completely different category: I can recommend it for students in a classroom setting or in a homeschool co-op that has a leader who knows biology well. However, I strongly recommend against it for homeschooled students working independently.

The main reason is simple: there is way too much material in the book. Like a traditional classroom text, this book aims a firehose of facts at the students and turns it on at full pressure! There are infographics packed with facts throughout the text, modules in excess of 40 pages of content, and a single experiment that combines three experiments from the second edition of the course. Simply put, this book is too much for a typical high school student. As a result, the student needs a teacher to separate the essential material from the non-essential material. In addition, because the book packs in so much information, it cannot spend adequate space explaining things. Thus, a teacher must be there to explain the things that the book does not.

Unlike the same author’s physical science book, however, this one is not full of scientific errors. There are only three serious errors, the worst of which is this statement:

When I took high school biology in 1977, the Time magazine headline read ‘How to Survive the Coming Ice Age’ because scientists believed we were in the midst of a global cooling event.

Time never ran a magazine with that title anywhere in it. The author probably saw the Photoshopped image of Time’s April 9, 2007 cover in which the date was changed and the actual headline, “Global Warming Survival Guide,” was replaced with the false headline she mentions. While it is true that there were several scientists who feared we were heading into a global cooling event in the mid-70s, the scientific discussion was not covered much in the popular media. It was mostly confined to the scientific literature.

There are some minor errors in the book as well, such as saying that Linnaeus separated organisms into seven taxons. In fact, he used only five. The other two were added later. However, those errors are not bad and will not affect the student’s future education in any serious way.

There are some parts that will really confuse students. Not only are some topics inadequately explained, many of the figures are so small that you can’t see what you need to see. For example, in one experiment the student is supposed to use a biological key for several pictured organisms, including grape and corn plants. However, in order to use the key, they need to see the veins on the leaves, and the pictures are too small for that. The author also uses terms that I cannot find an explanation for (like epigenetics). In addition, there are times where something is presented but not explained until later. For example, one figure has the equation ATP makes ADP + P without explaining what ADP and P are until several pages later. The index is also sparse and is missing crucial formatting in certain places.

There are many things I didn’t like about the text, including the fact that like the author’s physical science course, the student text is softcover. However, those things don’t necessarily make it a bad text. They just make it a text that I don’t like. The complete review is below, including the three serious science errors I found, the 10 minor science/history errors I found, the 16 parts that I think will be confusing to students, the three things I liked, and the 15 things I didn’t like.

My Complete Review of Exploring Creation With Biology, 3rd Edition

NOTE (added 3/10/2021): I received this feedback and thought it might be useful for some:

A friend sent your review of “Exploring Creation With Biology, 3rd Edition” from Apologia to me, and I can’t tell you what a relief it was. Unfortunately, my 10th grader’s homeschool science curriculum/co-op uses this text almost exclusively. She came to me today in tears crying, “Mom, I don’t understand any of this.” She’s a very smart kid, but this text is blowing a “firehose of facts” at her.

## My Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition

The company that initially published my science textbooks has been slowly coming out with new editions, which is necessary. Science constantly changes, which means the textbooks must change as well. So far, I strongly recommend two of their new editions: The Human Body, 2nd Edition and Exploring Creation With Marine Biology, 2nd Edition. Another new edition, Exploring Creation With General Science, 3rd Edition, was not good enough for me to recommend, but I also don’t recommend against using it. Another new edition, Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 3rd Edition, has so many flaws that I strongly recommend against using it. Unfortunately, I must include Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition in the same category. I strongly recommend against using it.

In my view, there are many, many problems with this book, but let me start with the most obvious: The student text is softcover. In my mind, this is a big step backwards. Most homeschooling families want the student text to be hardcover, because they want several children to use it over a period of many years. Softcover books do not hold up well in that kind of scenario. Of course, other companies offer their student texts in softcover, such as this one. However, the price is much lower. For Exploring Creation with Physical Science, 3rd Edition, the softcover student text sells for the same price as a hardcover student text. That simply makes no sense.

Of course, the real problem with the course isn’t the makeup of the book; it’s the content. For example, the book contradicts itself when it comes to temperature. Initially, it says that temperature is a measure of heat. That’s not true. Later on, it says that temperature is a measure of the energy of random motion in the molecules of a substance. That is correct. However, the book also says that different colors of light have different temperatures. That’s impossible, of course, since light is not composed of molecules.

This kind of self-contradiction is not limited to light. When discussing motion, the author spends quite a bit of time distinguishing between scalar quantities (which have no information regarding direction) and vector quantities (which include information about direction). She then properly identifies speed as a scalar quantity (it says how fast you are moving), while velocity is a vector quantity (it says how fast and in what direction you are moving). She then properly identifies acceleration as a vector quantity. However, she goes on to show graphs of speed versus time and states that the slope of a speed versus time graph is the acceleration. That’s contradictory. If acceleration is a vector quantity, it cannot be calculated from a graph that has only scalar quantities in it!

The author also tries to give historical context for some of the subjects that are being discussed. Unfortunately, much of the history is often seriously in error. The author claims that the works of Aristotle were lost as the Western world started using Latin instead of Greek, and they weren’t “rediscovered” until the Renaissance. Nothing could be further from the truth! John Philoponus (490-570) specifically discussed Aristotle’s work and argued against some of his ideas, as did Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1300-1349) and many others. Most importantly, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) took great pains to integrate Aristotle’s work into Christian theology, spawning an entire scholastic philosophy called “Aristotelian Thomism.” All of that happened when the author thinks the works of Aristotle were “lost.”

In addition, this book is supposed to be for homeschooled students, but there are so many confusing discussions that I don’t see how someone learning independently could be successful. For example, the author uses units that do not cancel in equations as early as page 56 and expects the students to be able to do so. She has explained how to cancel units, but not what to do when they don’t cancel. She doesn’t explain that until page 195. As another example, she has students determine the chemical formulas for ionic compounds, which requires looking at the periodic table and determining the charge that an ion will have in that compound. She tells the student how to determine the charge of positive ions, but she doesn’t tell them how to determine the charge of negative ions. Nevertheless, the student must be able to do that to solve the problems that she expects them to solve.

If you want to read the full review, you can do so below. It catalogs the 13 serious scientific and historical errors I found as well as 20 less serious errors. None of these errors are typos or misspellings. They are all conceptual errors or factual errors. The full review also includes the 14 confusing discussions I noticed, 12 things I didn’t like but aren’t errors, and three things I just didn’t understand. It also discusses how much of this book overlaps with the book the publisher says the students should use the year before, Exploring Creation With General Science, 3rd Edition.

My Complete Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition

## My Review of Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition

I wrote the second edition of Exploring Creation with General Science more than 12 years ago, so the course was due for an update. Marine biologist Sherri Seligson has written a new edition of the course, which was just recently published. Previously, I reviewed the second edition of her Exploring Creation with Marine Biology and enthusiastically recommended it to homeschoolers. Unfortunately, I cannot enthusiastically recommend the third edition of Exploring Creation with General Science. At the same time, I also can’t say that homeschoolers shouldn’t use the course. In the end, there are things I loved about the course, things I didn’t like about the course, and things I didn’t understand about the course.

Let’s start with the things I loved. From the standpoint of what is covered, this course is a better fit for students who took Jeannie Fulbright and Dr. Brooke Ryan’s elementary course, Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. That’s because in the second edition of Exploring Creation with General Science, I spent an enormous amount of time covering the human body. Fulbright and Ryan’s course does that as well, so there is a lot of overlap for students who have taken their course. This problem is compounded by the fact that Fulbright and Ryan’s course is the most difficult of all the elementary courses in that series, so it is usually taken in fifth or sixth grade, just one or two years before the general science course is usually taken. This new edition of general science does not dwell on the human body, so students will not have to sift through all that repetitive material. However, as I will mention later on, students will have to sift through repetitive material if they end up taking the next book in the publisher’s series.

I also loved the discussion of graphs and tables that takes place in Module 3. It is very well done, and it is something that will be extremely useful for students who are getting ready for high school science.

Another great thing about the course is that many of the experiments are novel and interesting. For example, there are several “standard” household experiments on the subject of density, but this course’s experiment on density (Experiment 1.1) is one that I had never seen and is very effective. Another great experiment is the Rube Goldberg experiment that ends the course.

In addition, I loved the way that Seligson makes science personal. She starts the course with a letter to the student and ends the course with another one. That’s a nice touch. Similarly, I loved the fact that the last module is made up of personal testimonies from several different scientists. They discuss how the scientists came to enjoy science, what they have done and are doing in their scientific field, and how they relate science to their Christian faith. That is an excellent way to end the course.
Continue reading “My Review of Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition”

## The Final Mother/Daughter Comparison Between My Chemistry and Apologia’s Chemistry

In case you missed out on the first installment of this review, a mother and daughter have been comparing my chemistry course, Discovering Design with Chemistry, to Apologia’s chemistry course, Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 3rd Edition. This review came about because they had originally started using Apologia’s course, and it just wasn’t working for them. They started using my course, and it worked much better, as you can see in the previous installment as well as what you can read below. The comparison starts with the daughter’s perspective and ends with the mother’s perspective:

From the daughter’s perspective:

Last January, I wrote a comparison review for 3 modules of Apologia’s Exploring Creation, 3rd Edition, to 4 chapters of Dr. Wile’s Discovering Design with Chemistry. My overall view was that Apologia was very thrown together and confusing, while Discovering Design was more organized and enjoyable. In May of this year, I completed studying Dr. Wile’s Discovering Design with Chemistry, as well as reading over Exploring Creation; my original opinions remain the same as before. Though, there are a few more things I’d like to add in.

As I went through both texts, I discovered that the order of information and tone of writing is very important to how the student copes with the material. For example, Discovering Design is in conversational tone as if Dr. Jay himself were the one talking. He will often add in quick, funny or humorous things throughout the text especially when the topic starts getting heavy, which I find helps to release “chemistry stress.” Exploring Creation is also in a conversational tone, but it gets to be a bit confusing when a paragraph is giving an example using the pronoun “I,” and the student in this case has no idea who ‘I’ is.

In Discovering Design, Dr. Jay explains things to the point, builds on top of the material as chapters go on, and balances the difficulties of that material so that it doesn’t seem like too much. I can’t say any of this for Exploring Creation. While a few explanations are easy to understand, too often the book contains wordy paragraphs and unnecessary rules, and it’s difficult to grasp how any of the chemistry concepts taught are connected. In Discovering Design, you can’t wait to read the next section. In Exploring Creation, you can’t wait until you’ve finished the module.

I did come across a few frustrating things while studying Discovering Design. One was not being able to successfully complete experiments, because I couldn’t get the materials in the country where I live, and sometimes getting generally confused because, well, chemistry can sometimes be confusing. However, having said that, the experiments I was able to complete were excellent and helpful (For example experiment 10.4), the extra helps website helped overcome some of the confusion, and overall the course was really what I was expecting when I wanted to learn about Chemistry. I didn’t study Exploring Creation all the way through (On Your Owns and tests), but after just reading it, I don’t imagine a student would have a very good idea of the beauty of what chemistry really is; as Discovering Design does so well.

The last thing I can say is that Exploring Creation is like learning a bunch of mixed up chemistry facts, while Discovering Design is taking a thorough chemistry course.

S. White, student

From the mother’s perspective:

As we worked through Discovering Design, I found my thoughts were about the same regarding the teacher’s material. The fact that concepts are well-explained in the Discovering Design teacher’s manual helped a lot, as it has been a very long time since I have studied chemistry. Comparing the tests of the two texts, I especially noticed a difference in the weighting of the points for the test questions. In the Discovering Design tests, I felt there was a healthy balance between grading the math and grading the understanding of concepts, whereas Exploring Creation seemed to put too much weight on the math questions so that even if a student got everything right but two of the math questions, he could fail the test, which doesn’t seem to be right when a student has clearly mastered the concepts.

I would like to note here that Dr. Wile’s text is designed to take a normal school year, and as you can see, my daughter completed the entire text in 5 months. This was not because the text was too easy, but rather that my daughter dedicated 5 or 6 hours a day (and in some cases more) to chemistry in order to finish it before her graduation. I would not recommend this schedule to the average student.

L. White, teacher

## A Mother and Daughter Compare Apologia’s Chemistry to My Chemistry

In the fall of 2014, Apologia released the third edition of its chemistry course. While I had written the two previous editions, they went with two different authors for their third edition. I reviewed it and couldn’t recommend it to anyone. Since Apologia allowed its second edition to go out of print, I thought that homeschoolers needed another option, so I wrote a new chemistry course, which Berean Builders published in the summer of 2015. Many people have asked me how I compare my new book to Apologia’s new book, but it is hard for me to do that, since I am the author of one and not the other.

In December of last year, I received an email from a mother (Leeanne White) who needed advice about chemistry. Her daughter (Sarah) was using Apologia’s new chemistry book and was really struggling. She had gotten through the first three modules and just wasn’t getting it. I suggested that she use my book instead. She decided that was a good idea. I also asked her to consider writing a completely honest comparison of the two courses. She agreed.

Well, Sarah and Leeanne have been through four chapters of my book now, and they both agree that it works much better for them. They wrote up a review (which contains both perspectives), and it appears below. They promised to write another review once they are completely done, but I thought people might want to see what they think so far.

Note: They finished their review. The final version is here.