My family has been using Apologia science texts for years. I have always been impressed by the ability of the authors to explain complex scientific facts in a very understandable and enjoyable way - not to mention, from a solid, biblical, Christian standpoint. I must say that this one has been one of my favorites so far - which is probably mostly just because of personal preference (I LOVE biology, especially the learning-about-animals-and-other-creatures department). Nonetheless, I feel like I gleaned a tremendous amount of knowledge from this book.
Now, to discuss this book further in a few different areas:
This book thoroughly discussed a great deal of biological topics. The book basically discusses the following things:
Overviewing a few important biology basics (Module 1)
Devoting a module each to Kingdoms Monera, Protista, and Fungi (Modules 2-4)
The nitty-gritty of biological chemistry and cellular structures (Modules 5-6)
The nature and specifics of reproduction, including discussion of DNA, Mendelian genetics, and how evolution is partially true (microevolution) and partially unconfirmed and inaccurate (macroevolution) (Modules 7-9)
Ecology (Module 10)
In-depth discussion of animals (Modules 11-13 & 16)
In-depth discussion of plants (Modules 14-15)
As you can probably tell, this book discusses biology rather thoroughly. Students will leave the text knowing a lot about life - both the fundamentals of it and specific creatures - and overall being equipped with a great understanding of biology that I assume would be good preparation for college.
There are a few specific points to make about the content of this book. First off, I would like to give Apologia a big THANK YOU for their honest discussion of vaccines. I know there are some in the conservative Christian community that think that vaccines are bad or cause some sort of brain damage...but frankly, there is no biblical OR scientific basis for such a proposition, as this book clearly shows.
Also worthy of reviewing is this book's discussion of Charles Darwin in Module 9. First off, Dr. Wile ought to be commended for his debunking of the whole "Darwin-recanted-on-his-deathbed" myth. We'd all love to believe it's true, but there's no reason to think it is, as Wile clearly shows.
The section on Darwin makes some claims that some might see as a bit dubious. For example, it claims that Darwin was a "devout Christian" at one point; which, to a Calvinist like me, doesn't seem so true. It also claims that Darwin did "everything right" in terms of science and that he "was a careful, dedicated scientist"; which may or may not be true; I haven't researched much on the subject.
Overall, though, I think the section on Darwin was a good introduction on the man; perhaps best yet, the author shows from the man's life the harm that can come from putting one's faith in science and not the Bible - a lesson that many a man needs to learn today.
Overall, I think the content of this book was very good and informative. The book also includes On Your Own questions interspersed throughout the text, Study Guides, the occasional experiment (though not as many as previous books), and instructions for a few dissections.
The course is taught from the standpoint of Christian young earth creationism. Everything is interpreted from a biblical lens, which I deeply appreciated, and the text doesn't just say what the author believes, but why he believes it - which is, in my opinion, VERY valuable and important.
I must admit that part of my rating on understandability comes from the fact that I just understand biology better than some other subjects (including subjects within science). But overall, it's hard to deny that this book does a great job at explaining things so as to make them easily comprehensible. It did a VERY good job at explaining things. I only rarely got confused at all (mostly about chemistry and stuff, which isn't my strong suit anyway), and at that, the confusion was minor and mostly cleared up fast! Overall, a brilliant job!
I enjoyed this text almost as much as one can enjoy a textbook. Of course, as I have repeatedly stated, biology is something of a strong suit of mine and one of my very favorite subjects. Nonetheless, I think this text did an especially excellent job at being enjoyable. It made biology seem interesting in part because of all the credit it gave to the Creator of the universe, making creation seem beautiful and glorifying to God instead of just some mechanical processes you had to learn. Overall, this course was very fascinating and immensely enjoyable.
What more can I say, other than I love biology and that this text did an excellent job teaching it - and bringing glory to God in the process?
Signed, StoryMaker. "Gotta trust the kid's review!"