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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TOS Review: Apologia 'What on Earth Can I Do?'

Apologia Review
I was asked to review What on Earth Can I Do? hardbound book, notebooking and Junior notebooking journals and coloring book from Apologia Educational Ministries, which is ideal to use with children in Grades 1-6, or ages 6 through 14.
 
 I RECEIVED:
What on Earth Can I Do? Hardbound Book - $39.00
  
 Apologia Review
What on Earth Can I Do Notebooking Journal - $24.00  
 Apologia Review
What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal - $24.00  
 Apologia Review
What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book - $8.00  
 Apologia Review
What on Earth Can I do? is a part of the Apologia What We Believe series. It is the last of four volumes in the series (the others include: Who is God And Can I Really Know Him?, Who Am I And What Am I Doing Here?, Who Is My Neighbor And Why Does He Need Me?)  It is a study of biblical worldview that is designed to include the entire family, specifically introducing basic Christian truths to young men and women, ages 6 to 14. It uses a notebooking approach, which includes fun activities and thought-provoking writing assignments that enhance the lessons in the text. For the younger kids, there is a coloring book.
There is also additional resources for the teacher online, using a password that is provided in the text. This is great help because it provides deeper understanding of each lesson to make it easier to discuss with the kids, has visuals for building the House of Truth, and it even has a key that matches up the coloring pages to the pages in the lesson book. 
The main text book is a thick hardback book that is just slightly less than 300 pages long. It contains 8 lessons that are packed, and I mean jam-packed, with information about real historical figures and how Bible stories relate to teach various character lessons. The lessons are designed so that the student can go along at a self-pace, usually taking about three weeks for each of the 8 lessons when following the suggested schedule.

The lessons are intended to be flexible and customizable to each student’s interests and needs.  The only requirement is to go in the order the lessons are presented in the book since each lesson builds upon the previous lesson.

Throughout the lessons are Bible verses. Each lesson is set up with:

  • The Big Idea (an introduction)
  • What You Will Do (learning objectives)
  • Short Story (A short story that features a child about the age of the student)
  • Think About It (thought-provoking questions)
  • Words You Need to Know (vocabulary words the student will encounter in the lesson)
  • Hide It in Your Heart (Bible verse)
  • Integrated Learning (Incorporates several interests, such as art, math, science, history, etc.)
  • What Should I Do? (Character traits to develop)
  • Prayer
  • Parables of Jesus (Told in a way that engages today’s kids)
  • Going Deeper (Thought-Provoking questions about the parables)
  • House of Truth (hands-on memory aid included on four of the eight lessons)




The Notebooking Journals cover activities such as:

- Questions about the lessons
- Words to Know
Words to Know in Notebooking Journal

Words to Know in Junior Notebooking Journal


- Bible Memory Verse Copywork (the Junior Notebooking Journal provides handwriting guide lines while the older version does not).


- Mini Book making
- Games and word puzzles, jumbles, and crossword puzzles
- A page for prayers, praise reports, and other thoughts and note taking

Inside the Notebooking Journal covers are pages of suggested lesson plans. These are quite helpful in planning.












HOW DID WE USE IT?



I used the books with my First Grade daughter and my Sixth Grade daughter. I sat down with my youngest and middle daughters – Ages 7 (2nd grade) and 12 (6th grade), so they are on opposite ends of the age range for this curriculum.  I was curious to see how they each responded. I was thrilled to see that there was a notebooking journal designed to meet each girl where they are and that the Junior Notebooking Journal includes much of what the older student journal provides, but is presented in a way a younger student can understand.   My middle daughter used the Notebooking Journal, while there was a Junior Notebooking Journal for my youngest daughter so she could follow along in the text but then do the worksheets in the Junior Notebooking Journal at her level and not become frustrated trying to keep up.  For younger kids, there is also a coloring book which I loved since my youngest loves to color.

When the books arrived, and I looked them over, I fully expected to sit down with my girls and read the lessons to them and then guide them through the activities. That changed quickly once I presented the books to them. My middle daughter, who is 12, enjoys reading to herself and doesn’t really enjoy my reading to her. My youngest also likes reading to herself, but is willing to sit to be read to. Though, once my 12-year-old saw the lessons, she asked if she could read them to her younger sister. I agreed that would be a great idea.

While the books say that they are intended for ages 6 through 14, my 7-year-old struggled to understand some of the deeper meanings behind many of the historical accounts. Though, I am a firm believer in exposing my children to concepts that are challenging and not yet within their grasp of understanding, because it seems like some of it sinks in little by little even if they don’t understand it fully just yet. If nothing else, I still think it’s good to allow her older sister to read the text to her even though some of it seemed to be over her head. Though, she does enjoy coloring, and I found the junior notebooking activities to be quite appropriate for her age and abilities.
 My 12-year-old immediately dove in and was captivated by the reading. She also enjoyed the notebooking journal activities. She is and always has been a huge workbook learner. If she has a text to read and a workbook to accompany, she is one happy learner. She told me that she really likes how the lessons seem to be a combination of history and Bible, and she is very excited about combining the two to present a worldview she can learn from and grow character. I was surprised about how excited she is to continue the rest of the book and the notebooking journal lessons.
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