Tuesday, March 15, 2011
TOS Crew Review ~ "Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him?" (book 1 in the "What We Believe" series) ~ from Apologia Educational Ministries
You could describe my title for today's post with the word "thorough". You could also use the word "thorough" to describe the product this product review is about.
For those of you who may not have heard of Apologia Educational Ministries, I'll share more about the company and their products later in this review. And for those of you who have heard of Apologia, rest assured that their worldview curriculum is just as good as their science curriculums are! The book "Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him?" (written by John Hay and David Webb) is the first volume in Apologia's "What We Believe" series. This is a hardbound, 8 1/2 by 11 inch book that is 252 pages in length. Like Apologia's other hardbound books, it is designed to hold up with long term use over the course many years of homeschooling. As you may have guessed, the intent of the "What We Believe" series is to help the reader establish a Biblical worldview.
Not sure exactly what a worldview is? Or why it's a topic worth studying in your homeschool? Don't worry, you're not alone. Let's define the words "apologia" and "worldview" to broaden our understanding.
apologia ~ noun
1. an apology, as in defense or justification of a belief, idea, etc.
2. Literature . a work written as an explanation or justification of one's motives, convictions, or acts.
worldview ~ noun
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
So our worldview is the way we see and interpret the world as individuals, and a Biblical worldview in one in which God's inerrant Word is the lens through which we view all of life. The above definition of the word apologia broadens our understanding of the purpose of a Biblical worldview curriculum, such as "Who Is God?" from Apologia Educational Ministries.
There are 10 lessons in this book, and each lesson can be covered in about 2 week's time. Older students can work through each lesson's reading and activities on their own, while younger children may need to work with a parent. My 7th grade daughter has been using the book on her own, and she often shares what she has learned with her dad in the evening after dinner. We have had some engaging family discussion's as a result! It's a good thing for our children to know why they believe what they believe, and to have a faith that they can fully own. Riding on mom and dad's coattails will not gain them entrance to heaven, as God has no grandchildren!
The text of the book is written directly to the student, and the intent is for the child to learn at their own pace with this resource. The New International Version of the Bible is used primarily, with some verses quoted from the ICB and the NLT. The author's tried to reference translations that kept the vocabulary child-friendly. It is suggested that memory work be done in the family's chosen translation.
"Who Is God?" incorporated notebooking in each lesson. (If you have never done any notebooking, don't let that stop you from trying this curriculum; it's a fun way to add a new dimension to any curriculum and is used wisely in this book.) Notebooking generates better student retention than fill-in-the-blank worksheets. Each student can customize and personalize their work and makes a nice keepsake when the book is finished. There are formatted pages available online at the Apologia website ~ www.Apologia.com
Some of the elements included in the lessons are 'Big Idea' (an introduction to the lesson's main topic), 'What You Will Do' (learning objectives), 'Short Story' (seeing a worldview in action), 'Think About It' (questions to deepened student's understanding and life-application), 'What You Need to Know' (vocab words), 'Hide It in Your Heart' (two specific verses per lesson), 'Integrated Learning' (articles based in art, math, science, history, etc to broaden student understanding), 'What Should I Do?' (focus on a certain character trait), 'Prayer' (self-explanatory), 'Worldview Study' (how student's perceive the world around them), 'House of Truth' (a visual model that is built upon lesson by lesson to aid in long-term retention). Again, this is a very "thorough" curriculum!
Lesson planning tips are included in the introduction of "Who Is God?"
along with an explanation for teaching worldview. I should also note that the suggested ages for this resource are 6 to 14. However, if you have children younger or older than those parameters and are interested in this curriculum, you might consider taking a look at it. After all, homeschooling moms are pretty good at adapting books to fit our family's needs!
At the end of Lesson 1 ("Where Am I Building My Life?") there are several thought provoking questions, such as: "Do I have a responsibility to God?". Other questions include, "Where did the universe come from?", "Why do we have to die?", "How can I know if something is true or not?", and "Are there solutions to all the problems in the world?" For a young person to be able to ask and answer such questions is truly one of the best educational gifts we can provide. How many teenagers leave home unable to answer these types of questions? And the reality is, the world we live in is not going to become less complicated; our children need to be equipped with a Biblical worldview in order build upon the Rock of Jesus Christ as they move into adulthood. Apologia's "Who Is God?" and the subsequent books in the "What We Believe" series provide that equipping.
To learn more about this series, visit their website at www.Apologia.com and click on the link on the right-hand side of the page entitled "Apologia Press". This book sells for $39, as do the other books in the series. Volume 2, "Who Am I? And Why Am I Here?", is available for purchase now. Volume 3, "Who Is My Brother? And Why Do We Need Each Other?" will be finished sometime in 2011. The final book in the series, Volume 4, will bear the title "What On Earth Can I Do?" and will be available for purchase in the near future.
You can also browse Apologia's website to learn more about their science curriculums (which are some of the best available to homeschool families - I've used them for years and highly recommend them), their support of missionaries, look into their homeschool conventions, sign up to receive their free newsletter, and much more.
This truly is an excellent product, but you don't have to take my word for it. Here is what my 7th grade daughter has to say:
"I like the detailed information in this book. It makes you actually think about the questions asked, not just answer questions that are too simple. It also has a unique way of making me think about bigger things in life, like the recent earthquake in Japan, and I feel like I can apply the Bible's truths to all parts of life. This book seems way better for me right now than just reading my Bible - I can live what I am learning and answer questions about my faith better than I could before."
As always, this product was received at no cost to me for review purposes.
Keep Christ in the center of your homeschool today so that your children keep Christ in the center of their lives tomorrow!
Day 83 done :)
Jan L. Burt