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Schoolhouse Review: Apologia Educational Ministries (What on Earth Can I Do?)

Apologia Review
Apologia Educational Ministries is one of my favorite homeschooling publishers. I have been collecting their Elementary Science books and their What We Believe series (in fact I purchased the book that was missing from my What We Believe collection this week).  My daughter is currently using Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here?
 
Annette was excited when I told here I was one of the Schoolhouse Reviewers for the 4th book in the What We Believe series: What on Earth Can I Do? She is happy that we now have all 4 books!
 
What I Received:
What on Earth Can I Do? Hardback book ($39.00)
What on Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal ($24.00)
What on Earth Can I Do? Jr. Notebooking Journal ($24.00)
What on Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8.00)
 
Apologia 
 
Age Range:
Grades 1st-6th
Jr. Notebooking Journal: Recommended for ages 6-9
 
What On Earth Can I Do? consist of 8 lessons with each lesson taking up to 2-3 weeks to complete.
 
The 8 Lessons:
*Your Story or God’s Story?
*Who Put You in Charge?
*Will You Be Found Faithful?
*Where is Your Treasure?
*Where Does Your Time Go?
*Whose Life is it Anyway?
*Why Isn’t it Easy Being Green?
*What Happens When the Master Returns?
(all thought provoking questions that you and your child will study)
 
Each lesson starts with an introduction to the topic. For instance the first lesson title is: Your Story or God’s Story, so the introduction is about Claude Rains one of the greatest film actors. Mr. Rains overcame a speech impediment and because of his voice his presence on screen could help make the film go from an ordinary film to a great one.  But Mr. Rains was rarely the star of the show. He wasn’t what one would call having the “good looks” of a  movie star.
 
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Mr. Rain played his role to the best of his ability. He made the leading actors shine and every scene he appeared in was made better. He never tried to upstage or steal the scene from the leading actor/actress.
 
With this example so continues the rest of the lesson about Who’s story is it? We do not have the leading role in this story. God is the central character.
 
There is a story weaved through the lessons 1-4 about the Edward’s family in London during the time when Hitler was in power. Their father was away at war, they had daily bomb drills, just a life so different from ours. The family learns how they are stewards of everything that God has given them. Not owners.
 
Each lesson includes Parables of Jesus. These stories stay true to the parables as told in the Bible but are adapted to help the child understand the cultural, what the person might have thought, and in some added characters that might help the child to better understand the story.
 
At the end of the parable story there are Going Deeper questions. Here is where you will use your Bible to read the parable and then continue with the questions.
 
With lesson one you are to read:
~ Luke 15:11-32
~John 15:1-8
~Luke 15:7
 
As you go through the book you will also get some history learning too. My daughter was very interested in What on Earth Can I Do? because many of the stories are set in the time period she is studying.
 
The Notebooking Journal includes:
~Blank Note-Taking Pages: your child can draw ideas, attach pictures or articles, and record Bible verses.
~Think About It: there are question about the story, your child can write their answers or it can be completed orally.
~Words to Know: your child will right the definition of vocabulary words for that lesson.
~Hide It In My Hear: this is where your child can write or draw how the lesson applies to his or her life.
~Word Puzzles: give the child another way to retain the information from the lesson.
 
The above is only half of what is included in the notebook. Your child will make mini books and other lapbook type booklets. These are included in the back of the journal to be cut and pasted in the current lesson.
 
There are pages for praise and prayers to be recorded, as you can see there are many ways for you and your child to not only record information about the lesson but also personalize the journal and have their story written down. It shows how they fit in to His story.
 
Ethan used the Notebooking Journal, we actually completed many of the pages together. The journal is a wonderful way to keep a scrapbook of their journey of learning about stewardship. There are many pages to make it their own. You can draw picture, add photographs of your child, write notes, prayers, and praises.
 
What on Earth Can I Do?
 
Because we are not big on notebooking and journaling at first we were somewhat intimidated about all the open space. Ethan doesn’t like to sit and draw let alone write.
 
I thought Ethan’s journal was going to be quite empty and plain but I didn’t want that for him.
 
Thankfully the Lord knew what was on my heart and brought to my attention that Ethan doesn’t have to do all the writing. I can add to it as well. Many years late he can look back and see what was on his mama’s heart.
 
With the Living Out Loud page we both thought of areas that Ethan could work on. Again, I wrote down what we both decided for him to work on during the two weeks it took us to complete a lesson.
 
I would like Ethan to write more in his journal and as time passes I’ll encourage him to do so. For now, I want him to enjoy our Bible study time together.
 
We have really enjoyed doing the crossword puzzles and word searches together. Sometimes we snuggle on the couch and other times we sat at the table.
 
What on Earth Can I Do?
 
Here you can see one of the mini books Ethan put together.
 
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Ethan broke his pinkie about the time of this review so his penmanship is not as nice as it usually is. He’s still getting use to his pinkie all bandaged up with a pin sticking out of it.
 
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The Junior Notebook has less words and bigger font for the crossword puzzles and word searches. Instead of writing the definitions for the vocabulary words they have a fill-in-the blank. Coloring pages are added as well.
 
There is also a 64 page Coloring Book for children who like to color while mom is reading (at least that is how we used it). My boys don't just color just to color but if I'm reading they don't mind =)
 
What on Earth Can I Do?
 
Ethan cut out his coloring page and glued it into his notebook. I thought that was a creative way to keep his coloring pages. There are enough coloring pages for each lesson for your child to pick and choose. Ethan likes to color but not enough to color every page from the coloring book.
 
How We Used It
 
At first I decided to use this with both Ethan (11yrs.) and Lance (9yrs.). I wanted to do this together with them. The first couple of times that I had us do our lessons together went okay but soon I found myself only sitting with Ethan.
 
My two youngest boys are a bit moody and if are caught in a ‘mood’ especially together things don’t go so well. With that said, I ended up separating them which meant reading the lessons twice. Well that did not go very well and our stewardship journey went from the 3 of us to only 2.
 
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I do look forward to starting up again with Lance. I have really enjoyed my time using What on Earth Can I Do? with Ethan. I can see Lance and I having a wonderful mother-son time while going through this study. I know we’ll probably go a bit slower though.
 
As for using it with Ethan, we have had some good discussions about the stories and how we fit into God’s story. I really like how Ethan is learning that everything we have is really God’s and we are stewards of all that he has blessed us with.
 
The stories are interesting and keep his attention. When I start Lance with this again I can see his brain thinking (like gears in a clock) and him asking some deep questions.
 
There was one section in his notebook where the child is to sign a Transfer of Title.
 
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Notice that Ethan’s is not signed. He didn’t like that the word ‘promise’ was in there. He felt  promising was something he couldn’t do. It made him feel like he would fail God if he did not remember each day that his money, talents, family, toys, everything were God’s. 
 
Even though there was another line that said, “I will try my best to ask Him each day . . . “, Ethan still felt because the word promise was there that he couldn’t do it.
 
I totally respect how he feels and was glad that he voiced how he felt. He even talked to his dad about why at the moment (if ever) he felt he shouldn’t sign it.
 
Final Thoughts
 
Being one of the reviewers for What On Earth Can I Do? is a blessing. I do my best as a mom to teach that all things belong to Christ and we need to be stewards of them.
 
At times, unfortunately life can get busy and having a study like What On Earth Can I Do? is a great tool to remind me to bring things like this up. That this is ultimately God’s story. Life is not all about me, me, me. All that we have is because of Him.
 
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