Thursday, May 29, 2014

What on Earth Can I Do? by Aplogia Educational Ministries {Review}

Are you looking for a way to teach your children a Biblical worldview of stewardship with their lives? Apologia Educational Ministries has come out with What on Earth Can I Do? in an effort to help children see how other believers have spent their lives serving God/Yahweh with their lives. Apologia also has corresponding journals: 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. This homeschool resource is geared for grades 1-6 and the different journal options are available for where individual children fall within that range. (As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a hard copy of each of the above listed materials in exchange for my honest review.)

What on Earth Can I Do? is like a family devotional that may enrich your Christian homeschool. I think Principle Approach/Bible Principles homeschooling families will find it to fall nicely in line with God's Principle of Individuality and God's Principle of Self-Government (being governed under Jesus/Yeshua).

It may sound like the focus is on missionaries, and I guess it could be though not in the traditional sense. But the curriculum covers a whole gamut of people such as Charlie Chaplin, Maria von Trapp, Corrie ten Boom, Beehtoven, Winston Churchill (and many, many more), and also Parables from Scripture.

Analogies are also weaved throughout the book. These give added pictures to children to help get the point of each lesson across to them. 

How What on Earth Can I Do? is Set Up:

There is a lesson plan laid out in the beginning of the book (lessons divided into two days). The children are to journal or color the pages that correspond with the lesson content covered each day. Some lessons do require some prep work ahead of time by the parent. A list of materials is given for each lesson that needs materials and most are commonly found around homes.

Each Lesson covers events and people in history. It then transitions into a question for thought: "What Should I Do?" Afterward, there is a scripted prayer regarding the question for consideration. (Depending on what you think about scripted prayers, you may or may not utilize this aspect of the curriculum.) Lastly, a Parable of Jesus/Yeshua to conclude the theme of the lesson.

How We Used What on Earth Can I Do? in our Homeschool

The lessons are long for our children- at least compared to how long we typically spend on lessons for 1st-4th. So, I broke the lessons up to be no more than 15 minutes which includes my reading out loud, discussion, and journaling/coloring. As with any curriculum, the mom and dad can flex it as they see fit for their individual homeschools.

I began with reading out loud to Song Bird, Explorer and Dreamer. However, Song Bird does retain information better if she reads it herself (she is a visual learner). There are various activities within the journals for the older kids to do: crossword puzzles, word searches, some sheets are for reflection or writing down a prayer from their heart, copying definitions of some vocabulary down, sheets for copying Scripture verses, etc.

One thing I noticed was that the crossword puzzles ask for information some children may not know (and which I don't personally find necessary to know)- such as the name of the actor that played the role of Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood. In fact, I don't think I even know his name. We aren't major movie goers in our family and we don't make it a point to memorize the names of actors and actresses, if you know what I mean. But we may be among the few.

When it comes to the journals, some of the pages are more for busy work (in my opinion). Word searches and such are fun and while they have vocabulary words from the book in them, they weren't really adding to learning the lesson content by having the kids reflect on the lesson. Rather, I do wish there were more sheets included for narration and reflection on the material we covered.

What I Like About What on Earth Can I Do?

  • The content is easy for children to follow.
  • I appreciate the different people who are used as examples.
  • I love how different areas of history are learned because of the different people we learn about. For instance, I didn't know the movie history behind Charlie Chaplin and the influence he had during WWII.
  • The lessons flow well from the intro to the conclusion; lesson themes are handled well in this way.
  • Each lessons give excellent food for thought for our children.
  • The layout is nice and the photos are nice visual aids.
  • The coloring book has pictures that relate to the lessons.
  • The Junior Notebooking Journal has a nice balance of coloring pages and other activities.
  • At the end of each lesson section in the journals, suggested resources for different media are offered.

What is Covered in What On Earth Can I Do?

Lesson 1: Your Story or God's Story?
Lesson 2:  Who Put You in Charge?
Lesson 3: Will You be Found Faithful?
Lesson 4: Were is Your Treasure? 
Lesson 5: Where Does Your Time Go?
Lesson 6: Whose Life is it Anyway?
Lesson 7: Why Isn't it Easy Being Green?
Lesson 8: What Will Happen When the Master Returns? 


How Much What on Earth Can I Do? Costs:


What on Earth Can I Do? Hardback book $39. Purchase it here.
What on Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal $24. Purchase it here. What on Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebook Journal $24. Purchase it here. What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book $8. Purchase it here.

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