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Apologia: Who Is My Neighbor? {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

July 16, 2012

Apologia Who Is My Neighbor

A few years ago I purchased the Apologia Science “Exploring Creation with Astronomy” for my daughter because she, like me, adored looking at the stars and was intrigued by our vast universe.  I wanted a Christian-based view of our world and neighboring planets and Apologia delivered!

That’s why I was so thrilled to have been able to review Apologia Press’ “Who Is My Neighbor?  And Why Does He Need Me?”  This is the 3rd volume in the “What We Believe” series.  This particular book focuses on having a servant’s heart and how God will use you, a child, just as you are, to work as a part of His body.  I loved the emphasis throughout the book that children are important to God NOW and that they can be actively involved in His work on the earth.  Together, the entire series builds the model of the “House of Truth”.  Although they are designed to be used as a four-part program, the books may also be used alone-as I have done for this review.

How we used the program:

We received the hardback  book, the notebooking journal, and the coloring book to review.  I chose to read the hardback book aloud to my 6, 8, & 11 year old students, daily.  Although my oldest could have read this for herself (5th grade reading level), I felt that her comprehension was greater since I was reading it to her.  Additionally, reading together lent itself nicely for us to then have family discussions.  It also allowed the kids extra time to be able to color in the coloring book.  😉

The notebooking journal was incredible!  I reserved this for my 11 year old as I thought she’d get the most out of it.  Although not necessary to complete the text book, the journal has writing prompts, games and puzzles, and activities inside.  In the front of this spiral bound notebook is where you’ll find the suggested lesson plans (see “Likes” below).  The consumable journal was thought provoking and I think she will hold onto it as a keepsake to look back on as she grows in her walk with Christ.

The coloring book provided a great extension for us.  The children enjoyed coloring the various pages that coordinated with what we were reading.  Even the older two colored without much prompting as you can see in their pictures below.
Apologia Logo Likes:

  • Tons of scripture references.  Throughout the entire book the paragraphs reference scripture.  As you can see from the sample, the scriptures are woven into the curriculum.  There is a section for scripture to be memorized in each lesson, but the wealth of referenced scripture was astounding to me!
  • A lesson plan is included and there is NO prep work required.  The company suggests 4 – 9 months to complete each book depending on your child’s age/attention span/abilities.  We are on the “extended plan” because of my youngest.  He slows us down a bit with asking questions and his overall attention neediness.  However, especially using the additional resources (below) you can really stretch the material to cover a longer time frame than just 9 months.  And no need to gather extra materials.  The book and journal do a great job of painting a picture in your child’s mind so nothing extra is required of you!
  • The artwork is amazing!  “Real” paintings from Botticelli, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt as well as lovely photographs dwell on nearly every page in the textbook.
  • The organization is teacher-friendly.  Overviews of the lesson, objectives, stories children can relate to, reflection questions, vocabulary lists, application and scripture memorization sections are a few of the topics you will find in each of the eight lessons covered by “Who Is My Neighbor?”.
  • There are additional resources available when you purchase the text book.  In the introduction of the text book, there is a website and a password given so you can access additional resources for each lesson in the book.  There are extra discussion questions there as well as games that can be played and other extension activities to keep the learning going.  This is a good example of what makes this information so easy to teach!  It spanned multiple age levels/grades at one time.

Dislikes:

  • Although this series is recommended for age 6 to 14, there were lots of big vocabulary words  and advanced concepts, so it was sort of lost on my 6 year old.  Quite the bummer.  I do have to say, in defense of the curriculum, that his attention span for my reading aloud is rather short – ok, his attention span for everything is abbreviated, but I digress.  Words like slander, formidable, fiends, platitude, and gamut were frequent.  Though it is to be expected within a religious-based curriculum, difficult topics discussed included the Trinity, the Triune, sin, and salvation – all pretty difficult for my little guy to grasp.  Although he did get some good out of this, I would recommend the minimum age range to be more for an 8 year old.

Thoughts from the 6 year old:
“I like this book.  I like the stories.”

Thoughts from the 8 year old:
“I like the race cars the best.”  So says the artist behind the second picture above.  He doesn’t usually like to color, but this section of the book appealed to him and he wanted to color the picture.  Wonders never cease!  Thank you Apologia!!
Thoughts from the 11 year old:
‘This is a nice way to learn.”  She listened attentively and answered all of my questions.  I felt like the books did a wonderful job of getting the information across to her.

The “Who Is My Neighbor?” text book is available for $39.00.  (The notebooking journal for $24.00 and the coloring book for $8.00)  To learn more, be sure to check out their FAQs section.

My opinion?  An excellent book with brilliant pictures and a lesson objective that can’t be beat – definitely worth the cost!  I was an Apologia customer before this review and will continue to support this marvelous company with its quality resources.

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DISCLAIMER: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of Apologia:  Who Is My Neighbor? for the purpose of completing this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own and are offered honestly in exchange for the product. The receipt of the product in no way influenced my honest assessment.
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