Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What on Earth Can I Do?- TOS Crew review

Apologia Educational Ministries again?  Yes!  And YAY!  We have been anxiously awaiting the fourth book in their Biblical worldview series and were blessed to be able to review it once again.  Here's what we received:

What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book) -$39.00
What on Earth Can I Do? (notebooking journal) - $24.00
What on Earth Can I Do?  (coloring book) - $8.00
What on Earth Can I Do?  (Junior notebooking journal) - $24.00

Before I gush and brag on it all (you know I will right?) let me give you a quick glance at what each are.  Then I will gush and brag!

What on Earth Can I Do? is the fourth book in Apologia's Biblical What We Believe worldview series, geared for grades 1st- 6th. This 294 page hardback book, covering 8 lessons, is simply amazing and beautiful.  While helping to teach children that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, this book covers the truths-
  • Your life is a beautifully crafted story written by God
  • God owns everything and we are His stewards
  • We need to be faithful stewards
  • We need to put God first- before money and possessions
  • God expects us to invest our time wisely, making prayer and the Bible priority
  • My life and my body belong to God
  • Jesus is returning and we need to be prepared by living for Him now

Apologia Review
Each chapter is broken down into multiple sections to include-
The Big Idea which introduces the main topic,
What Will You Do which states the learning objective,
A Short Story which features kids that are of similar ages as yours,
Think About It containing comprehension questions,
Words You Need to Know introduces vocabulary,
Hide It in Your Heart identifies two specific memory verses,
Integrated Learning sections introduce related topics,
What Should I Do? concentrates on character traits,
Prayer which is just what it says,
Parables of Jesus are adapted stories from the Bible,
Going Deeper contains more discussion questions,
 and House of Truth is a a four part memory aid model.

What on Earth Can I Do? notebooking journal is a companion activity guide for your children to use.  While not mandatory, it is a beautiful spiral bound notebook with places for journaling, answering questions, prayer report,s and additional activities. By the end of your study you've created a quality keepsake.  Each lesson in the notebooking journal is followed by a Find Out More page that has additional things to do, as well as a song list, book list, and movie list.

Apologia ReviewThe What on Earth Can I Do? Junior notebooking journal is for slightly younger children who are not as proficient in writing, and therefore has more coloring activities and less writing required.  It allows younger students to "work" like their older counterparts without being bogged down with too much work.  Scripture memory work is in print, word finds are in larger fonts, and crossword puzzles are more basic.

The What on Earth Can I Do? coloring book is just that.  A corresponding coloring book with large pictures that correspond to the lessons.

How did we use this?
I was so excited to be able to really use this as a team this time around.  In the past, my youngest son often sat in and listened to our reading, but was not a true participant.  Because he has just finished 1st grade, I felt like he was ready to truly join in this time.  I loved being able to teach my two boys Biblical Worldview together! Apologia offers several ideas for scheduling.  In the book is a 2 day a week schedule that allows you to complete a lesson in three weeks, and the notebooks each offer a simple day by day schedule.  We decided to use those schedules, doing three assignments a week and therefore completing a chapter in 2 weeks.  For each of those mornings, I would just check the schedule in the notebook for the assignments and start right in.  Because we used both the notebook and junior notebook, I did have to do a quick glance at each of the separate lesson plans, as they differ slightly for separate levels.  Many of the activities are similar and could be done at the same time, while a few are slightly different due to age and maturity level with reading and writing.  We did not find this to be a problem though.

Often while I would read, I would have our youngest color the pages in his notebook.  We found that we did not use the separate coloring book as many of the pictures were the same ones offered in the junior notebook.  I would be willing to guess that if I had been dealing with a girl, every single picture would have been colored! ;)  My oldest son chose to do his activities after I was done reading as he felt like he got distracted trying to do two things at one.  Sometimes there are natural breaks in the reading that will allow you time to do a specific activity and we used those when needed.  

Heads up- some days are reading heavy.  Not all, but a few- especially the story that is woven throughout the book (one of my boys' favorite parts) and the scripture reading. On those days we often moved from the table to the couch to take advantage of snuggle time.

Our thoughts-
Well, of course, we loved it, because truthfully there is nothing that Apologia puts out that is not exceptional.  The What We Believe series is no exception! While each of the books in the series can stand alone, I do recommend that you read them in order.  Because we homeschool, I love the notebooks for additional writing and eventually as a keepsake of our journey, but I do believe that any family would be blessed to read through these books, even without using the notebooks! I asked my oldest son which book he preferred and he said this one. Bet I can guess why...

Each of the four books in the What We Believe series centers around a story for the book's theme.  World War Two is covered in this book.  What boy doesn't like reading about war?  While a pretty deep topic, I felt it was handled in such a way that was appropriate for the age recommendation.  Along the way you learn about heroes of that time such as Corrie Ten Boom. One thing I do feel like I should caution you about is that in talking about Joseph and Potiphar the word rape is used. (p.104)  I only tell you that so you can replace with a different phrase if you are reading to younger children and are uncomfortable with that wording.

I love that numerous History lessons are sprinkled throughout the reading as well as scripture.  The boys really enjoyed learning about people like Charlie Chaplin and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who were both new to them, as well as following the fictitious story of brother and sister Colin and Jenny, and their WW2 experiences.  "Just like Narnia!" said the 7 year old child who has NOT seen the movie!

If you have not had the opportunity to check out What on Earth Can I Do?  and the What We Believe series I highly recommend them.  My family has been blessed by them for several years now and expanded our worldview knowledge by leaps and bounds.  I look forward to starting over with the series next year so my youngest can cover them all!

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