Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{Crew Review} Apologia’s “What On Earth Can I Do?”

 

What is worldview?  Can you easily define it?

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Can your children understand that the Bible, God’s inspired word, gives us a blueprint that we can use to view all that is happening around us at any given moment? This is a Christian worldview.

The fourth in a series of books from Apologia Educational Ministries, the What on Earth Can I Do? Bible curriculum helps parents and students understand essential truths of the Christian faith.  What on Earth Can I Do? presents a Biblical understanding of Stewardship.

We received copies of the entire kit:

What on Earth Can I Do? ($39.00, hardback book – Book Sample, Table of Contents, Series FAQs)
What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal ($24.00, coil bound)
What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ($24.00, coil bound)
What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8.00, softcover)

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Apologia suggests the age range for this product as being grades 1-6 (ages 6-14).  I actually think the read aloud component can be used with a much wider age range, especially if your teens like being read to, and/or have never done a worldview study, and/or if you have them do the read aloud (one of those tricky homeschool mom techniques we have!). And, this would make a great family devotion program to walk through (I’m going to propose that to my husband for the summer).

Chapters/ Lessons are titled:

    1. Your Story or God’s Story?
    2. Who Put You In Charge?
    3. Will You Be Found faithful?
    4. Where is Your Treasure?
    5. Where Does Your Time Go?
    6. Whose Life Is It Anyway?
    7. Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?
    8. What will Happen When the Master Returns?

The lessons themselves (in the hardback book) was much longer than I anticipated. Each lesson has multiple stories, biographies, and essays. The basic structure of each lesson includes:

  • a short Big Idea and What You Will Do summary of the lesson and goals;
  • a fictional Short Story that helps children see the character trait in action.  The first half of the book uses World War II Britain as a setting to demonstrate stewardship while the second half introduces us to two children who live in the Serengeti. The short stories are followed by Think About It questions
  • Vocabulary is introduced (Words You Need to Know) and a Bible verse for memorization is included (Hide It In Your Heart).
  • There are many side-bar type stories (Integrated Learning) that are related to the main goal of the lesson, but by use of biographies and additional stories from history or literature or missions. 
  • What Should I Do? section asks students to consider how to apply the character trait, followed by a Prayer section.  Finally, the Parables of Jesus section takes a creative approach to retelling some of the best loved stories Jesus told and expanding on them – giving characters names and situations that, while extra-Biblical, do not detract from Jesus’ message but instead flesh out the story.  {My boys have loved these retellings.} The parables end with a Dig Deeper section in which the boys and I discussed the answers to questions about the parable.

…And all that is just in the hardback book! 

The workbooks provide an opportunity for students to journal (with words or pictures) about some of the ideas and concepts in the book.  There are additional coloring pages, prayer pages, word puzzles, a few mini-books to make.  Basically, it is meant to be a place to write down what you are learning about God in each of the lessons.

Since Levi’s Jr. Notebooking Journal had more coloring pages than Luke’s, we often pulled out the Coloring Book and found a similar picture for Luke to color while I read.

How We Used This: Although the What on Earth Can I Do? hardback book does have a general schedule (you can view it in the Book Sample that opens a generous 41-page PDF sample), the boys and I preferred the schedule that was in their notebooking journals.  There are some slight differences between the pacing/ assignments in the regular journal (geared to upper elementary students and good readers) compared with the Jr. Notebooking journal (I would suggest this for grades 1-3) so we generally followed the Jr. Notebooking schedule.  This means that it takes just about 2 weeks to get through each lesson. I modified the schedule a bit to meet the demands of a very crazy month by aiming to work through each lesson 2-3 times per week, which would take us about half a school year to make it through the entire book.

Since our CC school year was over, we used this a a primary part of our school day – especially since there are so any connections with history, literature and art in it.  As I looked through the notebooking journal, you can find additional resources to beef up each lesson, and (I’m not kidding) I think you could use this as a comprehensive “spine” to your homeschool, especially if you are a person who is not freaking out or worried about aligning your school curriculum choices to what might be going on in typical public or private school.

The boys absolutely LOVED this program.  I felt a little overwhelmed by all the different types of readings that I was doing in the book (see my description above), but it didn’t seem to phase the boys at all, so I decided to just go with it. Obviously, breaking up the lessons into daily bites across 2-3 weeks helps!  On a daily basis, we would usually read for 30 or so minutes, followed by working through their journals.  Often, they colored while I read, and eagerly worked on their word searches or mini-books or copywork (Bible memory verses):

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I will admit that we got a little lost at first about what to do on some of the workbook pages.  I guess I was thinking directions would be more concrete and the pages would be more teacher-led.  But, this is different.  Your students will need to think about the material and – at a level appropriate to their age/ understanding – interact with it.  This is where I need to just take a chill-pill and watch my boys digest God’s Word.  What does it mean to them that God owns everything?

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My recommendations & thoughts:  Overall, I really like this program.  I love being able to walk my sons through a program that has a purpose of grounding them in a Biblical worldview.  If we were in the right season of our homeschool, I would consider using this as a prime feature of our program, along with the basics of the 3 R’s. {I’m not much of one to worry about keeping up with public or private school scope and sequences.} 

For anyone who is worried about jumping into Apologia’s worldview program in the middle of their 4 year program, I do want to encourage you that it is possible.  We’ve never had the opportunity to review the previous books before, but I do not feel like we are missing anything from the previous books.  I know that God can use this book to meet us where we are right now and that we can be blessed by this resources in our walk.

Connect with Apologia:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld
Twitter – https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Google+ - https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125/posts
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

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All prices are accurate as of blog posting. 


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