TOS Crew Review: What On Earth Can I Do?

Apologia Review
Though Bookworm was in a private Catholic school before we pulled him out to homeschool, I didn’t know much about his religion classes.  When I got the book he used for his school, I was annoyed by how watered down the content was.

We switched to a different, more rigorous religion book, but Bookworm found it a bit dry.   And then, luckily, we got the chance to review Apologia Educational Ministries’ hard cover book, What On Earth Can I Do? ($39) as well as the supplements What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal ($24), What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal ($24), What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book ($8).

Apologia Review
I had visions of using this book for all three of my kids (9, 5, and 4), with the younger two using the coloring book and junior notebooking journal, but it soon became apparent that the actual text is much too difficult for the little ones.  This book is said to be ideal for grade 1-6, but I felt it was more appropriate for grades 4-8 due to the content of the book as well as the density of it.

How Is What On Earth Can I Do? Organized?

Apologia Review
This textbook is so rich; Bookworm and I loved it!

The textbook is comprised of 8 lessons, each one about 40 to 50 pages long.

Lesson Components

Each lesson is broken down into the following components:

  • The Big Idea:  An introduction to the main topic.
  • What Will You Do:  States the learning objective for the lesson.
  • Short Story: A short story related to the lesson often featuring children.  Kids learn what a worldview looks like in action.
  • Think About It:  Students answer questions about the story.
  • Words You Need to Know:  Important vocabulary words are given here.
  • Hide It in Your Heart:  Two Bible verses are given for memorization or copywork.
  • Integrated Learning:  Carries the lesson further, often across the fields of art, math, science and history
  • What Should I Do?:  A specific godly trait related to the lesson is given here.
  • Prayer:  A prayer is given at the end of the lesson.
  • Parables of Jesus:  A story is told, adapted from a teaching story told by Jesus during His ministry.
  • Going Deeper:  Discussion questions are given to help students think of the parable of Jesus.
  • House of Truth:  A hands on memory aid is given here.

Lesson Plan

At the front of the textbook is a rough guide for using What On Earth Can I Do?  The rough lesson guide suggests that students use the book two days per week and finish one lesson every three weeks.

That is definitely not the schedule we used.  IMG_3814When the readings are combined with the Notebooking Journal, this is a time intensive text.  Bookworm used this book and the journal 4 to 5 days a week and spent 20 to 35 minutes per day on it.

In the front of the notebooking journal, there is also a schedule, which is closer to the schedule we followed.

What We Loved About What On Earth Can I Do?

Bookworm is a huge history buff, so he loved that many of the “lessons” are centered around history.  There were pieces in here about Hitler, Churchill, Corrie Ten Boom, as well as every day people who lived during the Civil War and World War II, just to name a few.  Bookworm ate up these stories.  (The attractive layout as well as plentiful pictures also made reading the book enjoyable.)

Because he was learning about the lesson through history first, it was easier for him to understand how the lesson applied to himself.  For instance, one story is about Claude Rains, who was an excellent supporting actor, but never a main actor.  This story was then applied to the fact that we’re all supporting actors to God’s leading role.

Bookworm said this is the best religion book he’s had, and he’s hoping we can use another book in the series next year, after we finish this one.

What We Loved About the Notebooking Journal

Apologia Review
We chose to use the more advanced notebooking journal rather than the junior notebooking journal.  (For anyone under age 9 or 10, I would recommend the junior notebooking journal.)

While the questions helped him explore the lessons more deeply, what he really enjoyed were the activities that encouraged creativity.

IMG_3815Bookworm enjoyed the mini books he created as well as the word searches and the crossword puzzles.  I felt that the material enhanced what he learned in the textbook and made his understanding of the text much deeper.

Final Thoughts

We both loved this book, and Bookworm wants to continue using it for next year.  This is a meaty text, perfect for those who love history and would like a Biblical Worldview.  However, I think it’s too difficult for younger children, ages 1st through 3rd grade.  I’d recommend it for 4th through 8th grade.  I plan to hold on to it for when the girls are old enough to use it.

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Comments

  1. Do Apologia Educational Ministries available worldwide? I think it’s very perfect for my seven year old daughter, she really loves to read as well as reading about religious books.

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