Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Apologia's Who Is My Neighbor? {Crew Review}

I think everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE Apologia's curriculum.  When I began learning about homeschooling in 2004 when my son was only 4 years old, I attended a class on How to Homeschool.  One of the top recommended curriculums at the time was Apologia.  At the time, it was a relatively new curriculum but it quickly rose to the top of the list thanks to it's Christian approach to learning.

Today, Apologia still meets the same standards for curriculum that it began with many years ago.  Apologia strives for excellence in learning with a Christian approach provided throughout all of it's curriculum choices.  If you are looking for a secular curriculum, Apologia is definitely not it, but if you're looking for a biblical based curriculum that provides a structured and fun approach to learning then Apologia is the curriculum for you!

The What We Believe series continues this style of learning, providing a structured base for Biblical Worldview study for ages 6 - 14.  Biblical Worldview allows children to take a look at the world around them, presenting daily truths against God's word so that children learn to discern the truth of the Word instead of the deception the world tends to present.  Each of the What We Believe books represents a different aspect of the world and our children's view of it.

Currently there are three available volumes of the What We Believe Series with the fourth and final volume expected to be released sometime this year.  The volumes are as follows:

Volume 1: Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?)
Biblical Worldview of God and Truth

Volume 2: Who Am I? (And What Am I doing Here?)
Biblical Worldview of Self-Image

Volume 4: What On Earth Can I Do?
Biblical Worldview of Stewardship 
(Not yet released as of July 18, 2012 - the time of this review)

Each volume is created so that it can stand alone with a complete course of study, much like the science curriculum provided by Apologia but the courses are most effective if taught in order since each volume builds upon the last with a minimum of repeated material.  The explanation provided by Apologia is this:

You must first know God to know yourself.  You must understand who you are and how to be more like Jesus before you can serve others.  You must understand a servants role and how this relates to you in order to learn how to work together to care for others and the Earth in order to bring the message of Salvation to the world and use the gifts God has given you to bring God Glory.

Each book will take anywhere from 4 - 9 months to work through depending on the schedule you choose to use and the age of your children.  Lessons are created to follow a students pace so that it can be customized to your child.  Some lessons will go quickly while others take more time for a child to work through and digest.  

Lesson preparation is fairly simple.  Older children can complete the series on their own, while younger children will need to follow along with an adults help.  Some of the book's activities do require the parent's help but many can be completed with minimal input from the teacher/parent.  As always, Apologia provides additional activities on their book extra's site.  In order to access these you will need to follow the instructions and enter the password provided in the textbooks introduction.

Book extra's include Teacher Helps for the lessons, blank notebooking pages, and the printable House of Truth graphics for use with the course.  Teacher Helps include lesson overviews, lesson objectives, lesson vocabulary, memory verses, activities for the lessons, child-directed discussion questions and a reading list for deeper study of the course themes, people and places discussed within the text.

Additional products that can be purchased for use with the series are a notebooking journal and a coloring book for younger kids to keep them involved while using the courses.  An audio soundtrack is provided for volumes 1 and 2 of the series but is not yet available for volumes 3 and 4.  These additional products are not necessary for completion of this course though and are simply fun extras provided for teaching the course.

I know I have spent a lot of time discussing the complete course for this series above but for this particular review, I was provide materials for Volume 3: Who Is My Neighbor?  Needless to say, I was extremely excited to receive this product as my children and I have been using this series for a while now.  We really love all of our Apologia curriculum and books.  So we were all very excited when the Apologia box finally arrived!

Inside we found the Who Is My Neighbor? textbook, the Who Is My Neighbor? Notebooking Journal and the Who Is My Neighbor? coloring book.  I am honestly thrilled that Apologia created the additional coloring book for this series since it allows me to include my 4 year old into our studies by providing her with a simple coloring sheet with the lessons biblical verse included right on the page to do while the older kids work on the coursework.  The older kids enjoy the coloring pages too!

The textbook begins with the Table of Contents, followed by a textbook introduction of How to Use This Book describing notebooking, lesson structure, lesson plans and why you should teach Biblical Worldview in your studies.  This section is thorough but short allowing you to jump right into the study with Lesson 1.  Each lesson builds upon the last, providing The Big Idea (lesson summary), a biblical verse relating to the lesson, plenty of colorful stories and photos, questions to keep your children thinking, vocabulary for the lesson, and much more.  A prayer is also provided at the end of each lesson to help encourage a stronger relationship of faith and with God.

The Notebooking Journal provides activities related to the book.  An additional and more thorough lesson plan is presented to be used with the textbook and journal together.  Colorful pages for questions, words to know, the Hide It In My Heart bible verses, stories, fun games and more are provided in the journal.

This series and it's accessories are available on Apologia's website. The Who is My Neighbor? textbook is available for $39.  The Who is My Neighbor? Notebooking Journal is available for $24.  The Who Is My Neighbor? Coloring book is available for $8.  Audio cd's for the first two volumes of the series is available for $19 but audio is NOT available for The Who Is My Neighbor book at this time.

For more reviews of this product from Apologia, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!

*Disclaimer - This product and it's addition accessories was provided to me by Apologia Educational Ministries and by the Schoolhouse Review Crew for free in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post on my website.

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