In our homeschooling family, we have really loved all things from Apologia Educational Ministries, so I was very excited to be given the chance to review for you the fourth volume in their “What We Believe” series, which is designed to aid you as you teach a Biblical world view to your children.
Volume 4 is titled “What On Earth Can I Do?“, and teaches a Biblical worldview of stewardship. We received the entire set in our review package, as listed and pictured below:
The main text “What On Earth Can I Do?” which is a very nice hard bound book, with just under 300 pages, and retails for $39.00
The Notebooking Journal, spiral bound, 236 pages, which retails at $24.00
The Jr. Notebooking Journal, also spiral bound, 184 pages, which retails for $24.00.
and the “What On Earth Can I Do?” Coloring Book, which is softcover, 64 pages, and retails for $8.00.
This curriculum technically has eight lessons within it, but they are broken up into small chunks, so if your family is like mine, you can really take your time with it. The eight lessons are titled with the following:
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?
Each of these eight lessons is, as I mentioned above, broken up into several segments. You can either quickly complete each one within a couple of weeks, or you can take your time, allowing yourselves to really dig in deep with questions, discussion, and following rabbit trails.
The first half of the book follows a family during World War 2, and we are really seeing it mostly from the view of the children. At first, I thought it might be too heavy for my children, but it wasn’t. They were very saddened by what was happening in the story, and in the true, historical things we read about, but it did spark really good discussion and questions. For example, in our church, we have close friends who are Messianic Jews, and “Mr. Loquacious” asked me “if L. and E. and Miss S. were alive then, would they have been in danger like that too?” So we discussed what kinds of changes World War 2 made in the world.
The second half of the study follows another set of siblings, this time in Africa. We have not gotten to that part yet, but we look forward to it!
Each lesson contains several important components:
The Big Idea (introduction and brief overview of what has already been learned)
What You Will Do (learning objectives)
Short Story (this is where we read more about the children featured in this section)
Think About It (comprehension questions)
Words You Need To Know (vocabulary words from that lesson)
Hide It In Your Heart (memorization verses)
Integrated Learning (articles related to an element in the short story or tied to the lesson)
What Should I Do? highlights a godly character trait that the child should demonstrate as the right response to what they have learned.)
Prayer (conclude the lesson with a prayer to thank God for the gifts He has given, and all He has done.)
Parables of Jesus (a retelling of a parable of Jesus, imagined from the perspective of one of the characters in the parable, giving cultural details to better help the child understand what is happening.)
Going Deeper (discussion questions to encourage children to think about the parables of Christ and what they may mean for us now)
House Of Truth (Beginning in the first book of this series, the student is given instructions on building a “house of truth”, with one section being built in each book.)
We are very much enjoying “What On Earth Can I Do?”, and really looking forward to completing it. We like very much that it is written to children, and that the stories about the siblings featured are written from their perspective.
While my kids, with their delays, vastly prefer the Jr. Notebooking Journal, I will tell you that the Notebooking Journal is quite nice! For the older child, there is more writing, the puzzles are a bit more difficult, and it does not have the coloring pages that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has. It does have the mini books to make, which are then glued to specific pages to keep.
In the Jr. Notebooking Journal, the puzzles are easier, there is a lot less writing, there are plenty of coloring pages, and it also has the mini books to make and keep.
The coloring book has many of the same coloring pages as the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and would be a wonderful addition to use with the very young child who would then have something related to do while the older ones are reading out loud, and working on the lessons in the curriculum.
What I chose to do was to have “The Batman” take turns reading with me, and we would all discuss the questions in the text. “The Artist” was chosen to work in the Notebooking Journal, “The Puzzler” worked in the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and by his own request, “Mr. Loquacious” worked in the coloring book. He doesn’t like to read or write, even though he can do so.
We will be continuing on with “What On Earth Can I Do”. I am extremely impressed with it. The only “con” for me is the usual one, that the Bible verses are never from the King James Bible, something I find very frustrating, given that it is the one version that you do not have to pay for the right to copy. At the same time, it did give my kids more practice looking up verses, as I prefer them to read them from the King James Version! However, when the Bible verse is a clue to a word in a puzzle, it’s harder for the kids if the puzzle uses a different version. With this one exception, I really love this curriculum, and highly recommend Apologia Educational Ministries!
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