Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review of Apologia's Who Am I?

Apologia's Who Am I curriculum includes a gorgeous and glossy hardcover textbook, a coil-bound 250 page notebooking journal, a beautiful 64 page coloring book, and an audio CD, all of which I received free in exchange for my review.   In essence, the Who Am I curriculum gives students a biblical framework for understanding their purpose in this world.  From my Catholic perspective, this curriculum fleshes out the Baltimore Catechism question of "Why did God make me?" "To know, love, and serve him this world and be happy with him in the next." Who Am I tells children how to know, love, and serve God on a very personal level - through a correct understanding of their own self-image in the eyes of God.

Specifically, each chapter asks a question (such as "What are we doing here?", "What will you make today?", How will you run the race?", and "What kind of fruit are you growing?", among others. Each lesson is then further broken down into these categories:

  • The Big Idea
  • What You Will Need
  • Short Story
  • Think About It
  • Words You Need to Know
  • Hide it in Your Heart
  • Integrated Learning
  • What Should I Do?
  • Prayer
  • Worldviews in Focus
  • What's the Difference?
  • House of Truth
A sample lesson plan idea is also included in the text, allowing each lesson to take three days at two days a week of study. 

I'll admit that I walked into this curriculum unsure as to whether it would work for my kids, given that we are Catholic and Apologia is, obviously, a noted Protestant publisher.  However, just as with Apologia's science curriculum, there is nothing in this program that is hostile to Catholicism.  In fact, in one of the stories used to illustrate the points, a Catholic church is visited by a non-religious boy, causing him to question his upbringing.  While this curriculum is not appropriate as an all-inclusive Bible or Religion curriculum for a Catholic homeschooler (because of the Catholic Church's inclusion of Tradition with Scripture as a means for understanding theology), it can absolutely be used as a supplement.  

The curriculum allows children to understand the difference between Christianity and other major worldviews, including Mormanism, Buddhism, Humanism, Judaism, Hinduism, New Age, and Communism. This is a great way for kids to learn about other beliefs in a context that allows them to see how those beliefs are contrary to their own.  Even the youngest children can begin to learn apologetics in this format.

The notebooking journal is the same high quality as Apologia's science notebooking journals, and it includes a 48-day lesson plan for completing the curriculum.  Whether parents choose to use it once, twice, or three times a week (or more!), the lessons are planned 100%.  Each lesson includes pages that correspond directly with the parts noted in the bulleted list above, along with games and blank pages.  There are minibooks in the back for those people who have more of a lapbooking/notebooking approach.  As with Apologia's science journals, I have to say that these journals are worth the price.  Could you replicate much of this on notebook paper just following the text? Sure, but why would you when the notebooking journal has taken every bit of work out of lesson planning and teaching. It also provides a great archival record of the course.

The Who Am I curriculum is available from Apologia, and they retail for the following prices:
  1. Textbook - $39.00  (See Sample HERE)
  2. Notebooking Journal - $24.00
  3. Coloring Book - $8.00 (See Sample HERE)
  4. MP3 CD - $19.00
I have to admit that I was surprised by how much I loved this curriculum.  For other views, see the Crew blog!

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