What is it?
Apologia Educational Ministries is a homeschool publishers that offers science texts for elementary through highschool as well as worldview curriculum resources. They also offer books about homeschooling, Christian living, and other resources for writing and geography.
Apologia is a family-owned company which serves the homeschool community. Their mission is to help families learn about and defend their Christian faith. They offer curricula and resources from a Christian worldview in addition to online classes for homeschoolers.
What on Earth Can I Do? is the 4th volume in the worldview series entitled What We Believe. This series helps children discern Biblical truth by viewing situations through the lens of Scripture. In this book, the student learns the concepts that the world and everything in it is God’s and that they were created to be a faithful steward. Volume 4 emphasizes several Biblical truths:
- God owns all things
- God entrusted certain gifts to us to be used for His glory
- We can honor God through using our possessions wisely
- We are to care for God’s creation
- God will reward us for faithfulness
The What on Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is a resource for the student to record what he or she has learned through the course. There are pages to write reflections and prayers as well as places to copy Scripture and answer questions related to the readings. This journal is designed for older students (grades 3-6) who are using the curriculum and write independently).
The What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal was written for younger students (ages 6-9) who are using the curriculum. This journal is a simplified version of the regular journal. It requires less written work. It includes word searches, crossword puzzles, short answer questions, places for drawing or writing prayers and praises, and lapbook components.
The What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book contains coloring pages that correspond to the stories and the lessons. This book is designed to be used by younger students to color as they listen to the readings. The book contains 64 coloring pages.
This program is geared for children in grades 1-6.
How did we use it?
I planned to use this with Curly (age 8). I felt that the readings and the content would be too much for my younger students, Tiger (age 6) and Bee (age 5).
After looking through the journals, I chose to use the Junior Journal with Curly as she doesn’t write much independently. I felt she would enjoy the included colorings pages, word puzzles, lapbook pages, and pages for drawing. The regular journal required too much writing and the questions were more indepth and I felt they would be better if she were older.
Because the Junior Journal contains multiple coloring pages, we did not find that we needed to the coloring book. But if Tiger had been listening in, I would have let him use it as the pictures are large and simply drawn and would be perfect for younger elementary aged children.
The text contains 8 lessons that are designed to be read over two or three weeks each (or can be drawn out to last an entire school year). The text gives a sample of a 2 day schedule that will cover 1 lesson every three weeks. The Junior Journal gives a daily lesson plan that breaks the readings and journal pages into corresponding lessons. These lessons can be done daily or a parent could choose to do worldview readings only 1 or 2 days a week to make the course last longer. There were 48 of these lessons on the schedule.
After lots of tweaking of the schedule this is what we did: I looked at the lesson plans in the junior journal and we did half of the planned lesson per day. We covered worldview 4 days per week so we did two of the “lessons” per week.
As I read the lesson, Curly colored one of the pages in her journal. After the reading, I let her work independently on the scheduled journal pages for that day – whether it was a word search, copying a Bible verse, or answering a question. She was able to follow the instructions in the journal and do these pages on her own.
What did a lesson look like?
Day 6 (which was part of the reading for Lesson 1)
The reading for this day was 10 pages long and was about one of the parables of Jesus (the prodigal son). The text retells the parables, adding more detail to make it seem more personal and relevant. I read the rewritten version to Curly while she colored her coloring page.
At the end of the reading, the text instructs us to read the Biblical account and compare and contrast the Biblical version to the retelling in the book. Then I asked her discussion questions about the story such as, “Did the father treat his older son fairly?” and “What does this parable tell us about how God feels about a sinner who repents?”
After our discussion, I assigned Curly her journal pages. For this lesson she was to complete the praise report. These pages are for her to record ways that God has answered her prayers or things she has seen God do in the world and people around her.
What did we think?
I really enjoyed using this resource. I found that the text provoked deep discussion and laid a wonderful foundation for understanding Biblical truth. Curly enjoyed hearing the stories, learning about the Bible stories, and seeing how the Biblical truth was applicable to her today. And I’ll admit that I learned a great deal as I read to her. It was convicting, challenging, uplifting, and encouraging at the same time. I looked forward to reading with her because I found so much that was applicable to me as well.
Curly loved her Junior Journal. She liked the wide variety of activities in the journal from writing out her prayers, to completing lapbook pages, to doing the crossword puzzles. The journal was the perfect ability level for her and she was able to work in it on her own. I loved that the journal was done completely by her without any help from me. It will be a keepsake of what she learned during our study time.
I think I would recommend this series for children in grades 3 or older for several reasons. The content is very indepth with lots of new vocabulary words and difficult topics covered. Many of these concepts would have gone over the heads of my younger children. In addition, some of the readings are very long which can be difficult for little ones with a short attention span.
I did not find the scheduled readings and assignments to be very evenly spaced. Some days the reading was 15 pages and other days it might be only 3 or 4 pages. Usually with these longer readings there were fewer journal pages to complete. However, it was difficult to plan how much time I would need to spend on our worldview time because the length of the reading was vastly different between some days. And for some of these longer readings, there was not a natural place to stop in the middle to save some for another day – it truly was one long, continuous story or concept. So, I found scheduling to be a little tricky and sometimes disjointed. Therefore, I broke up some readings between more days when I felt it was too long – even when it was difficult to find a good stopping point in the story. This is why we stretched worldview into 4 days a week instead of the recommended two days in the schedule.
This volume covers topics related to World War II and Hitler. There is discussion about the Jewish people and their persecution. There is also discussion about bombings, battles, and details about what it was like to live in Britain during the war time. We have not yet covered this very sensitive topic in history and it is not a topic I would cover with my younger children just yet. I found myself tearing up during many of the readings. While the book does treat the topics well and does not go into too much detail about the more gruesome details, this is still a very tough topic with young children. For this reason, I would not use this particular volume of the series until my children were at least in 3rd or 4th grade.
While I think this curriculum handles the delicate subjects very well, I did find one sentence that I reworded for Curly. Lesson 3 covers the story of Joseph. One page 104, the text talks about Potiphar’s wife and how she accused Joseph of rape. I readily admit that I skipped over that word entirely as I was not ready to burden Curly with the meaning of that word. She understands the basics of the story but I was not ready to define that word with her. So, while this text presents a Biblical worldview in all areas, it does not shy away from difficult topics being discussed.
My wrap up!
I truly loved using this curriculum. I loved the concepts it taught to both me and to Curly. I enjoyed our worldview time together because it felt like a wonderfully, in depth devotional and Bible study time that we had together. I was thrilled with the discussions it sparked and they way it encouraged her to view the world through God’s eyes by using Scripture to guide her thoughts. It is amazing and thought-provoking and well written.
However, the concepts are difficult ones to discuss with young children, especially those who might be somewhat sensitive (as my kids are). So, I was glad I chose to only use this with my oldest. I plan to continue with the study over the summer so we can finish it together. I will also continue to use this series with my kids once they reach 3rd grade. I’m actually going to start using it every summer as a fun Bible study that I can do with my kids once they are about age 9. I think it will be our new summer tradition!
What on Earth Can I Do? can be purchased for $39
The Notebooking Journal retails for $24
The Junior Journal retails for $24
The Coloring Book retails for $8