Mystery of History and Apologia Science


Has anyone used Mystery of History and Apologia Curriculum? What are the pros and cons that you have found?


Yes, I’ve used both MOH and Apologia.

4 of my 5 history blog posts are about combining MOH and Sonlight at various stages. I used Levels 1 and 2 when my kids were young (I probably wouldn’t use 3 and 4 before junior high as they are very meaty. I used them for high school with my kids). I really like MOH as a spine and enjoyed combining it with literature and biographies, and occasionally other books, from Sonlight.

If I had it to do over, I’d focus more on papers/projects in high school than the quizzes, and instead let my students choose occasional topics to delve deeper into. I think that would have been better college prep. I did have them learn note-taking through the history course (we used T-Notes, which is like Cornell Notes) and I’m really glad I took the time to work with my kids in learning to do that throughout our junior high and high school years.

Apologia–I’ve used several of the elementary books (Astronomy, Botany, Anatomy) and then a number of the upper level books (which are different authors than the younger ones): General, Physical, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Biology. I liked many things about all of them.

Astronomy we spread over a year, and I will say that was probably too long (we only did it twice a week, but it got kind of monotonous by the end to still be on Astronomy. A semester would have been better). We enjoyed many of the projects (especially the space walk where you scale down the size of planets and the distance between and walk it out–it’s amazing to think how much farther it is between the more distant planets.)

Botany my dd did on her own, and I literally remember nothing! Except that I did purchase the Activity Book, thinking she’d really like it. It only was partially used. She enjoyed some of the notebooking pages but didn’t get into the lapbooking ideas.

Anatomy–my daughter actually did a science fair project based on the concept of comparing a cell to a city. She made all of the parts out of clay and even expanded on the idea–ended up winning Grand Champion that year! We didn’t get through the whole book, but it sparked a huge interest for her in the human body, and she went on to do other biology-related science fair projects (3 of her 6 projects over the years) and now she plans on going into nursing.

General Science–my history-loving son enjoyed this one–it was one of his favorites (he doesn’t typically like science). I didn’t have my dd use this or Physical Science because I was letting her choose her own topics in Junior high. She was obviously science-minded and I wanted her to have freedom to explore–plus she would not have been into a big thick text book.

Physical Science–it seems like a lot of kids like this better than General, but for my son it was the opposite.

Biology-Chemistry-Physics–great college prep. My oldest only did biology (we did some alternative science things for him.) My dd took chem this fall in college and got an A–she worked hard for it, but she had a good foundation. Biology doesn’t do a great job of presenting evolution–they show weaker arguments that are easily shot down, which doesn’t really help students prepare for this type of controversy if you have a student who might go on in science. As I recently posted on the WTM forum to someone who was asking about evolution content:

In General Science, Wile at least attempts to present some arguments an evolutionist might make and makes them sound reasonable. The author for Biology doesn’t do a good job of that. It’s not a big focus of the course, but there is one, possibly two chapters that you’d definitely want to discuss with relation to this topic.

We used a variety of sources to discuss creation, evolution, and also various Christian views on evolution over time (we did some discussion during General Science, Biology, and also as part of a World Views course later in high school, in addition to other more informal conversations). Some were articles from Biologos (another possible resource for a Christian Evolution viewpoint is Day Star Research), others were chapters from various books that discussed the issue (Understanding the Times, A Reason for God…I forget if there was something on evolution specifically in What if Jesus Had Never Been Born, but that book is awesome for seeing Christ’s influence in many areas of history and science.)

I think it’s important for students to understand the varying viewpoints–I think if we present only a weak argument for an opinion that may be different than our own, we do students a disservice. So, that’s my only faulting of the biology book. I have no doubt my dd will be well-prepared as she goes on in college biology.

We also used Advanced Biology (which my dd actually won through the science fairs she participated in!)–awesome course, I was very impressed with it.

I wouldn’t hesitate to use MOH and Apologia Science again. Oh, one other bonus of Apologia upper sciences (General Science and on) is learning to study and take tests. I found for both of my kids that their first Apologia course has a learning curve in regard to learning good test-taking skills (whatever book they start in, there will be a learning curve). I used the tests as an opportunity to spend as much time as my kids needed to learn good test-taking skills. Sometimes that meant re-taking, doing some tests open book, going back to find the answers later–but it was time well spent. Again, great college prep, like the note-taking was in history.

HTH some!


Thank you for your feedback. You are always so knowledgeable. You have answered many of my questions before. My question is with both of these curriculum is that it appears to be mastery based. I do like spiral because I feel like you are always reviewing and the older they get, the more in depth the subject becomes. I’m afraid that we will “master” a book and then a year later it is forgotten.


It’s harder to do spiral with content-based subjects than it is with skills-based subjects–because there’s just so much content! However, MOH at least does have a spiral review incorporated every so many lessons (if memory serves me right, once every quarter, and a following level will also have, at least as an option, a review of the previous level’s highlight dates–sometimes at semester.)