I love using curriculum items that combine subjects. Recently, we tried one that combines a Christian worldview and deovotional with history, copywork, free writing, art and puzzles, reading, science, social studies, even music. Our latest review product from Apologia Educational Ministries, the What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book), has been an awesome family devotional time for myself and my oldest three children. It offers a Biblical Worldview of Stweardship and is Volume 4 in the Apologia “What We Believe” series.
In addition to the main text book for review, we also received the 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. I used the regular notebooking journal with my 9 year old, the junior notebooking journal with my 7 year old, and the coloring book with my 4 year old.
If your family is a fan of notebooking, Biblical copywork, and history from a biblical worldview, read on!
What on Earth Can I Do?
The hardcover textbook itself provides almost 300 pages of stories, history, vocabulary, Bible verses, parables, prayers, and more and retails for just $39. It emphasizes Bible interaction and notebooking student and is written to the student.
There are 8 chapters, or lessons, that can be broken up into 3 weeks each if you follow the twice a week lesson plan laid out in the book. Alternatively, you could do the lessons more frequently, as we did, and go through each lesson a little bit quicker by doing them 3-4 times per week.
The lessons include:
- 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 Will Happen When the Master Returns?
The main text book could be used as a standalone piece of curriculum, especially for an older student. It does include a general lesson plan schedule, and each chapter includes plenty of vocabulary, critical thinking questions, Bible verses, and other activities. However, I highly recommend the notebooking journals.
What On Earth Can I Do? Journals
ALL students could benefit from using these resources, but I especially feel that elementary students will do better using them. Each notebooking journal retails for just $24 each.
In the front of the journals, there is a written lesson plan that has been divided into 48 lessons. It’s fairly easy to coordinate the junior and regular notebooking journal assignments for working with both age groups, and I love how the exact page numbers for the text and journal were written out for me to follow. Just open and go!
Both journals include these types of pages:
- Blank Note-Taking Pages (a space for taking notes, drawing, recording verses, attaching photos, etc)
- Words to Know (vocabulary)
- Hide It in My Heart (Bible verse copywork)
- Make a Note of It (for recording how the lesson applies to your student’s life)
- Word Puzzles (crosswords and word searches)
- Mini Books (your student will assemble these himself)
- My Prayer (a place to write or draw a prayer)
- Praise Report (a place to record how God is working in your student’s life)
- I Spy! (for writing and drawing where the student has seen God throughout their day)
- Living Out Loud (a place to record things the student is doing to help others)
- Find Out More (activities, Bible stories, songs, movies, websites, and other resources to dig deeper into the lessons)
Additionally, the Junior Notebooking Journal also includes several coloring pages. It is recommended for students aged 6-9, and I think it would be great for those ages, particularly if your student struggles with doing a lot of writing. The fonts are larger, the writing space is bigger, and the assignments aren’t quite as intense. It still covers all of the same material, though, so the whole family can still work together.
The regular Notebooking Journal includes Do You Remember?, which are review pages with space provided for students to answer questions and prompt a family discussion time. It also includes Think About It pages, which offer questions about the story part of the lesson so students can offer insight into their comprehension. This journal is written for older students who are ready for more complex writing assignments and more difficult word searches and crosswords, discussion questions, and vocabulary words.
What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book
This coloring book retails for just $8. It contains the same pictures as the junior notebooking journal includes, but has so many more that correlate with many of the other stories in the text book. There are 64 pages to color in all, and each includes the picture as well as a small sentence or title to describe what is happening in the story.
The coloring book made it easy for my 4 year old to jump in and do school with us. The pictures made sense to him, and he enjoyed having an assignment to do each day as well. As I mentioned before, there are 48 individual days listed in the lesson plans in the notebooking journals, so he had at least one picture to color per day as his schoolwork. 🙂 This worked well for us!
We worked on this curriculum at a bit of an accelerated pace. My kids enjoyed the content, and I honestly used it as a history and Bible curriculum during much of our studies. It is very thorough in describing, to the child, events such as the Holocaust and World War II. At first, my husband was a bit horrified that they were learning about such deep subjects, but once he saw how the textbook was written, and the kinds of questions they were asked in the notebooking journals, he relaxed a bit about it.
Additionally, students learn about life in other countries, how to be good stewards of God’s earth, about how to handle money Biblically, and how to be a good, caring friend to others. There are also tons of Bible stories and parables in the book. The illustrations and photographs really bring it all together and had my kids fascinated.
While we did enjoy the notebooking journals, my 7 year old found the writing assignments tedious sometimes and would often opt for the option to draw his responses. I was thankful for such options, and he seemed relieved that I didn’t expect him to use his best handwriting to compose dozens of pages of answers throughout our lessons! I did like the Bible verse copywork and considered this his handwriting practice for the day when he completed these assignments.
My daughter, on the other hand, had no problem writing her answers with words. However, she did thoroughly enjoy the parts where she could draw a picture of her prayers or how she had seen God at work around her.
As far as the reading and activities go, it is up to you, as the parent, if you want your child to do every single thing. We chose to do every activity, but I could see taking away a few for the sake of time if necessary. It’s very flexible and adaptable in that way.
We enjoyed this curriculum and are working to finish the lessons at our accelerated pace. My kids still talk about the information they learned about the first week we started this, which is pretty crazy since it’s been a month and a half! I can’t remember the last curriculum that helped them so much with retention, so that’s a huge plus to this curriculum.
My family highly recommends these books to other homeschooling families!