The Sophomore is working through Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry text this year. I chose this text because I knew that Chemistry could be difficult to implement at home, and the labs in this text were supposed to be user friendly. The text isn’t a bad text, but I need to vent about some things. I am going to use this here blog of mine to do it. You can skip this post if you like. It won’t hurt my feelings.

  • Why does Dr. Wile have to be so blessed wordy? I understand that he wrote this book to be a self teaching course or for parents that have no background in Chemistry.  I get that, but sometimes he goes on and on for a concept that isn’t that difficult. He also spends all this time explaining a concept just to tell them that he will explain it even more in another module. Which leads me to my next point.
  • What is up with order of the modules? We are half way into the book and now he is talking about ionic compounds and how to write chemical formulas. That would have been much better explained at the beginning before we started balancing equations and trying to determine whether a compound was ionic or covalent. Now he is starting to explain the periodic table which would have made much more sense in the beginning of the book instead of throwing them right into specific heat.
  • He makes balancing equations MUCH harder than it needs to be.
  • When writing the chemical formula for compounds he does a good job of explaining the charges, but then doesn’t explain how they work together. He just tell them to flip the charges and write the value as a subscript. What? That isn’t how I remember it. I explained it my way and he was fine, but that kind of makes the “self-teaching” text a moot point.
  • The labs are kind of boring. In fact, he is going to be doing the same lab that Kit Kat did a few months ago which means that Kit Kat will be doing it again in a couple of years and I know that is going to thrill her. I understand that the labs need to be easy, but they are almost obnoxiously easy save one that really was a pretty good lab. I hope the labs get better. The saving grace is that I remember my husband’s do-it-at-home Biology labs from Biology 101 and the Sophomore’s are about the same or more difficult than those.
  • I wish there were more practice problems. The best way to learn to balance equations is to do a lot of them. It takes practice just like factoring in Algebra. Writing compound names takes practice. You aren’t going to truly understand just by writing 3 of them. I told my son that he will just end up memorizing that Oxygen has a -2 charge because he will use it so often, but then when he only did three problems, I said never mind.  

I want to say something positive about the course now that I have just vented my frustration. It is an easier than easy course to implement at home. I can tell the Sophomore to do such and such pages and for the most part he can do them on his own. I don’t really need to read anything. I don’t have to do a lot of planning. I can just turn him loose. There is a lot to be said for that. I just wish it wasn’t so cotton pickin’ wordy.