Friday, May 30, 2014

Apologia: What We Believe Series {Schoolhouse Review}

Apologia Review
If you follow our blog, then you know that I absolutely LOVE Apologia Educational Ministries.  I was introduced to Apologia's wonderful curriculum when we first began looking into homeschooling when Winston was four, nine years ago.  It took me a while to invest in any of their curriculum but as soon as I did, we were immediately hooked.  The kids LOVE Apologia just as much as I do and enjoy every curriculum purchase we have made from them.  For this review, we used Apologia's What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do?, What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal, What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal and the What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book.

We discovered Apologia's What We Believe series for Biblical Studies the very year they came out.  I was thrilled to find that Apologia had created a set of books just for educating children on how to study the Bible and build their relationship with God.  It was such a blessing to me to find these materials through this one company which we loved so much and I knew that my children would enjoy these books as much as they have the Science curriculum we previously purchased from them.  I wasn't wrong.

We've been using Apologia's What We Believe for quite a while now, each year diving deeper into the books.  Sometimes going back to previous chapters to review the curriculum and put it to use for our lives in their current path.  The books never fail to teach us something new from the first time to the review of different sections.

Apologia Review

Apologia is one of our favorite review items from the Schoolhouse Review team.  We look forward to seeing what they have available each year and to learning from the beautifully written books to the intriguingly designed curriculum.  When the vendor form popped up for the What We Believe series' fourth book, What On Earth Can I Do?  I knew it was a product I definitely wanted.  Not only does this fourth book complete on of our favorite Apologia curriculum collections, it is also a series my children and I love to enjoy and learn from together.  I was estatic to be chosen to review this in the last of our series with my children.

The What We Believe series is a Biblical study designed to be used with students and children in grades 1 through 6.  It is a Biblical Worldview series, teaching stewardship to those who use it.  It is easy to follow and easy to understand, making it work well for family use.

I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about the intended plan of using this program any more simply because I have used it so long that it just flows for us.  We use it together as a family, from oldest (Me aka Mom) to youngest (Jackson at 21 months listening along).  We take turns reading through, though I am usually the one doing the reading to ensure my children grasp the knowledge behind the lessons and stories shared throughout the books.

We read the text straight through, section by section.  Sometimes we do this daily throughout our school year and other times we do it several times a week.  How you choose to complete your lessons is completely up to you as it is with any Apologia curriculum.

At the end of each section, there are almost always questions to help reflect on the things we have read.  We discuss these together and talk about the answers as a family, helping each other build our knowledge and a stronger connection to God through our reading.  We enjoy sharing with each other and learning in this manner.

We also enjoy reading about different people throughout the lessons and listening to the stories of others who have shared in God's work over time.  Some of the stories are serious and some are funny but they always have a message to convey.  The differences in each makes the curriculum well-rounded and enjoyable all together.  This is important to us since it keeps learning fun!

There are quotes from the Bible and quotes from important Christians shared throughout these lessons too.  We often use these quotes as copywork or I will put them onto a printed image or a post it and place them around our house as reminders of the things we have learned from our study.  I do the same with new words we learn through the Words You Need to Know section of the curriculum and also the Hide It In Your Heart section which is there to help instill the word of God in your heart and lives.

There are also prayers shared throughout the curriculum which help teach your children how to pray.  This helps to show them the prayers of others to help them strengthen their ability to pray and their understanding of how others pray, as well as their own prayers.  We also pray these sections together with one of us reading the prayer and then we add to it however we feel is needed.  I like to take turns on these sections so that my children strengthen their voice when it comes to speaking prayers to others.

What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do? was written by John Hay and David Webb.  This textbook is hardback and is 294 pages long.  The book contains 8 lessons with around 15-20 sections each.  There are four books in the What We Believe series.  What On Earth Can I Do? is the fourth and final book in the series.

Apologia Review

This curriculum offers additions as well.  There is a website with extras created specifically for the course.  This can be found on the Apologia website and a special code is provided for log-in at the front of the book in the How to Use This Book section.  This is a great bonus of material that we always enjoy from Apologia.

Additionally, there are Journals which can be purchased to go along with this series.  We love these journals!   There are two choices to use:  the What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is for older students while the What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is for younger students.  There is also a coloring book available for the youngest of students.

Apologia Review

 I think the What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book is my favorite!  I love the simple clean lines of the images and the words shared on each page.  These pages are perfect for the littles and the older kids alike.  The coloring book contains 64 pages to color.

The What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is another favorite of mine.  It's easy for my younger students to comprehend, around grades 1-4.  The work inside isn't too taxing or boring for them.  Additionally, there are coloring pages found in this spiral bound, softcover journal.  Lesson plans can be found in the front to help guide the use of the journal appropriately along with the curriculum.  I used them for a while and found them very helpful.

Apologia Review

The Junior Notebooking Journal contains lots of fun activities from crosswords, to word finds, and even books, songs and stories to help build upon the lessons learned in the textbook.  We enjoy reading these extra books and sharing the songs and stories with each other during our lessons as we work through them.

There are also note pages that are included in this journal.  We use those in many ways.  Sometimes we will draw a picture depicting the topic.  Sometimes we will write a story or just a few sentences.  Sometimes we cut out pictures from magazines to paste showing what these topics mean to us.  Each time we try to do something different from the last activity to keep our lessons from becoming rote and boring for the kids.

Lesson plans are also included in the front of the What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal.  They are a great addition to each of these books and very helpful to help you get an idea of a plan that works for your family.  As I mentioned above, we used them for a while until we adapted the lessons to better fit us.

The What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is designed for older students to use.  I'd say it's perfect for grades 4-6.  The work inside is a bit more challenging than the Junior Journal and the page designs are a little more serious than the other journal.  There are question and answer pages that are more thought provoking.  We generally do these together and write in our responses. There are also word finds and crossword puzzles but these are also lengthier and more challenging than the Junior Notebook.

Each journal contains work to be completed in accordance with each lesson in the textbook.  These are also broken into sections so they are easily found and completed.  There are mini-books which can be found in the back of the journals to use additionally with the lessons and help bring the book to life.

We love each and every piece of this curriculum and how each piece builds into the next helping us to grow closer in our relationship with God and to better understand our purpose here on Earth as his servants.  I personally enjoy the Biblical Worldview provided in these books which allows my children to grow in Faith outside of our little piece of the world we live in.  We all enjoy seeing how other people live in other countries with the same kind of faith that we live with, worshiping God just as we do.  This has been a blessing for our family and broadened our lives, our faith and our tolerance as Christians.

You can purchase a copy of Apologia Educational Ministries What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do? for $39 for the hardback textbook.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is available as a soft-cover spiral bound book for $24.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is also available as a soft-cover spiral bound book for $24.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book is available in paperback for $8.

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