If you’ve used products for your homeschool from Apologia Educational Ministries, then you know that Apologia offers quality language arts, history, science, and biblical worldview curricula. Apologia’s mission, according to their website is “to help homeschooling families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith.” The actual word “apologia” is a practiced rhetoric that is used in self-defense or vindication. When I heard that the Schoolhouse Review Crew would be blessed with reviewing an Apologia product, I was pretty excited, because we were blessed to review a product from them last year, and I knew that this year would offer another great product for our family.
We were blessed to review a set from the What We Believe series: What on Earth Can I Do? What on Earth Can I Do? is the fourth book set in the series, and provides a biblical world view on stewardship. This set contains the following:
- What on Earth Can I Do? hardback book ~$39
- What on Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal ~$24
- What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ~$24
- What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ~$8
The What on Earth Can I Do? set is recommended for grades 1-6, although like a lot of other homeschool products, it can benefit almost anyone.
The What on Earth Can I Do? hardback book is the textbook of the set. It’s 294 pages long, and contains 8 lessons, which are:
- Your Story or God’s Story?
- Who Put You in Charge?
- Will You Be Found Faithful?
- Where is Your Treasure?
- Where Does Your Time Go?
- Whose Life is it Anyway?
- Why Isn’t it Easy Being Green?
- What Will Happen When the Master Returns?
The lessons are broken down into several components:
- The Big Idea~ an introduction to the lesson’s main topic
- What You Will Do~ the lesson’s learning objectives
- Short Story~ the lesson’s topic-related story. This usually features children of many ages to make children able to relate to the story. Children get to see what a worldview is like, and characters often have differing worldviews
- Think About It~ questions that make children think, and help the parent understand their comprehension. These can be adapted according to your child’s age if needed
- Words You Need to Know~ this section is vocabulary words, and the definitions will be written into the children’s notebooks ( in the junior journal, the words are written into a fill-in-the-blank paragraph), and their use help children express their faith
- Hide It in Your Heart~ each lesson features 2 memory verses: the first verse relates to the lesson’s main theme. The second verse relates to a specific character trait that children are encouraged to demonstrate in their lives
- Integrated Learning~ these are age and topic-related articles throughout the lessons
- What Should I Do?~ this teaches children a topic-specific godly trait that children should demonstrate
- Prayer~ this is at the conclusion of each lesson, and can be adapted to the child’s age if needed and acknowledges God’s gifts
- Parables of Jesus~ this is the finality of the lesson, and is adapted from Jesus’ own stories, and engages children with culturally appropriate characters
- Going Deeper~ discussion questions helping children think more about Jesus’ teachings and stewardship
- House of Truth~ this is at the end of four of the lessons, and is a hands-on memory tool constructed one step at a time, and can be drawn in the notebooks, constructed from on-hand materials. A 3D kit can also be purchased from Summit Ministries
There is also a lesson plan early in the book. It is broken down into 6 days over a 3 week period. This is nice for those of us who don’t like lesson planning. *cough me cough* The first lesson discusses such famous people as Claude Rains, Adolf Hitler, Charlie Chaplin, and Maria von Trapp. Of course, I knew who all of these folks are, but my children were only familiar with Hitler.
The notebooking journal is for children a little older, perhaps grades 3-6 depending on their comprehension level.The front of the book has a box for the child to write their name, instead of having an author’s name. It contains:
- blank note-taking pages
- discussion questions
- verse copying
- crossword puzzles
- mini books
- prayer journal pages
- praise report pages
- I Spy! where children can write where they’ve seen God at work
- Living Out Loud lets children record their own ministries to others
- review pages
- extras such as lists of website, movies, books and more that let children go further in what they learned in the lessons
If children will be working independently, there is also a lesson plan for them to go by. In the back of the book is a page called About the Author, where children can paste a picture of themselves and tell about their lives. There are also several testimonial pages where friends and relatives can talk about the child’s book, and tell how they’ve grown on their journey. This is a spiral-bound book and is 236 pages long.
The junior notebooking journal is very similar to the regular notebooking journal, but it’s made to be easier for younger grades to do with less writing. Like the other notebooking journal, there is a box on the front for children to write their name in marker as the author’s name. This book has pictures to color, fill-in-the-blanks, copy pages with bigger writing lines, and spaces for pasting pictures in the book. The back of the book also has an author page, and testimonial pages for friends and relatives to write about. There is also a lesson plan in the front of the book to go by for independent study. There is enough work in the book to challenge the child, but it’s easier work to complete. This is also spiral-bound and is 184 pages long.
How We Used It
For the review, we received 1 of each of these books in the set. Looking through the hardback book, I knew we would be able to incorporate What on Earth Can I Do? into our Group Time around the table. I followed along with the lesson plan in the front of the book, which made the work simple for me. Rachelle and Issac shared the regular notebooking journal, Ethan used the junior notebooking journal by himself, and Lucas snatched the coloring book. This gave everyone something to work with. The review questions were done with a classroom setting in mind, where I ask them and everyone who knows the answer raises their hand. The kids worked independently as needed, such as for copy work and praise reports. Rach & Issac worked together taking turns working in their journal. Lucas colored the corresponding pages as he got to them.
What We Think
I love how easy it was to incorporate What on Earth Can I Do? into our group time. The stories were very engaging, and the kids retained so much and enjoyed them. They were eager to answer discussion questions and to participate in the stories. Even Lucas was happy to join in with the lessons, and he’s only 5. I love how easy it is to adapt Apologia‘s programs to fit the needs of my family. we can work independently if we want, or work as a group. I love using products that I can easily adapt to our family’s dynamic, and Apologia does not disappoint. This really is great for the whole family and makes for great dinner discussions.
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