For almost two months, we have had the privilege of using a worldview curriculum called “What on Earth Can I Do?” from Apologia Educational Ministries. This post is a review of the set which contains a hardback book ($39), a notebooking journal ($24), junior notebooking journal ($24) and coloring book ($8). This set is volume 4 of the What We Believe series.
The thick hardback book, with full color illustrations and glossy paper, like anything else coming out of the Apologia Educational Ministries store, is impressive in both content and presentation. The junior notebooking journal contains coloring pages, word puzzles, word searches, mini books, craftivities and room to write or draw. It is a younger version of the regular notebooking journal. The coloring book contains only pages for little ones to color.
I read to my children from the book. Then, my son, who is in kindergarten, worked his way through the Junior Notebooking Journal, while my daughter, a preschooler, colored the corresponding pages in the Coloring Book.
One lesson, about 50 pages long, divided into some 17 sections, looks at the same concept from a different lens. There are references to Hollywood movies (The Sound of Music), actors (Charlie Chaplin), Christian authors (Corrie ten Boom), Jesus’ parables and character development.
This worldview curriculum contains enormous amounts of information on different topics while following the main thread of stewardship. As Christians, we view the world through the lens of biblical concepts. Our children must be taught how to look at everything in life and ask, “What does the Bible say I should do in this situation?” The characters presented in the book modify their thoughts and behavior after answer that question, thus setting an example for all of us.
You may want to use it to supplement your history learning or, better yet, as a family devotional. Through all the lessons, the authors answer spiritual questions and draw real life applications. It’s really closer to a Bible curriculum if you don’t mind all the references to pop culture in the context of Bible class.
The Apologia “What In The World Can I Do?” worldview curriculum is intended for students in grades 1-6. They mention, on the Apologia website, that it is “adaptable” to younger ages. In my experience, this curriculum takes a lot of adapting for younger children (PreK and K ages). So, if you have the energy, creativity and motivation, you can venture. If not, I suggest you wait a few years.
Apologia suggests a sample lesson plan which covers one lesson in the book in six sessions – two classes per week, over three weeks, for instance. I can tell you that the hardback book contains a lot of material and you will not find it difficult to keep your children busy.
In some cases, I had to adapt the writing quite a bit. They say the writing is on a fifth grade level, but it seems almost high-school level to me. My local newspaper is on a fifth grade level. This curriculum is higher than that.
We had a lot of new vocabulary to explain, but that was not all. I found some of the concepts quite mature – definitely not for children under 10. So we skipped over some things.
We worked through the first four lessons, which deal with World War II issues (Hitler, Churchill, the von Trapp Family, the blitz of London, the moving of children from London to the country side, the final victory) from the perspective of an English family.
I did not know how scared my children were of this story until we got to chapter four. Before I started reading, my son said, “You are reading this to us because if the war comes to Tennessee, my sister and I will have to be separated from you and daddy. We will have to go to the countryside to escape the fire bombs.”
Of course, I had to do some damage control right then and there.
In spite of all that, my children really connected with Colin and Jenny, a brother and sister, who were part of this English family. Another connection was the scene where Colin helps firefighters protect St. Paul’s Cathedral. My son loves anything that has to do with fighting fires.
When we started the fifth lesson, they just could not forget about Colin and Jenny. A new set of siblings is introduced, this time from North Africa, and my children could not move on. So we made chapati to get them into the new story, following the recipe from the book. It was quite good when fresh and hot.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend this worldview curriculum from Apologia to older elementary or even high school students.
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