Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him? (Apologia) (TOS Review)

We initially began homeschooling out of necessity, in an effort to protect the health of Punkin due to her severe food allergies.  Over the course of several years, our reasons changed to the "usual" ones you hear - better education, more time together as a family and, most importantly to us now, the ability to instill our own values and faith into our children.  Our hope is to grow little disciples that can influence the world for Christ.  Of primary importance to me in that effort is to instill a worldview into my girls.  I had somewhat put that task on the backburner until they're older simply because I hadn't found a resource that I liked that I could use at their ages.
Enter Apologia Press (a division of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.).  We have always loved Apologia's Elementary Science curriculum. When I heard that Apologia Press had partnered with Summit Ministries and was publishing the "What We Believe" series, I was thrilled, expecting the quality of product I'm accustomed to from Apologia.  When my purchase of the series was delayed, and when I then I heard that as part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew we'd get to review the first book in the series, "Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?)", I was thrilled.

First, thank you Apologia Press - this series is fabulous.

Product Details

Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) is the first book in a planned four-book series.  The second book, Who am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?) is available now.  The third book, Who Is My Brother? (And Why Do We Need Each Other?) is scheduled to be available later this year, and the fourth book, What on Earth Can I Do?, will be available in 2012.

I normally don't cut/paste from a vendor's website during a review, but I can't say it any better than Apologia Press says it on their website:

Regarding the series:  Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth.  

Regarding the first book:   Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) introduces the concept of worldview while laying the foundational truths upon which the evangelical Christian worldview is built: God is truth and He reveals His truth to people; He is the one true and almighty God; He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; He created everything; we are God’s children and are made to love and to praise Him; God meets all our needs; sin keeps us from God; and Jesus is the only way to God. 

The book is a beautiful, hard-bound, 252-page book targeted to ages 6-14 which contains ten lessons and retails for $39.  It is recommended that each lesson be covered for two weeks, three days per week.  Each lesson contains several key sections:

1 -The Big Idea - an introduction to the main topic of the lesson.

2 - What You Will Do: learning objectives for the lesson.

3 - Short Story: gives your children a peek into the lives of children around your children's age with differing world views, and who work through the issues in the story by seeking counsel through the Bible and their parents. The story allows your children to see what holding a worldview looks like in action.

4 - Think About It: questions that reinforce the story and which encourage your children to think about the issues in the story plus allow you to check for comprehension.

5 - Words You Need To Know: vocabulary words used in the story, including their definitions, that your children can use in their notebooking exercises.  

6 - Hide it in Your Heart: Two recommended memory verses:  one to reinforce the Biblical theme of the lesson, the other to focus on a related character trait.  

7 - Integrated Learning: interesting articles related to the main text which will allow you and your children to connect and pursue the book's ideas/concepts in other fields of study.  

8 - What Should I do?- it's not just enough to know the material in the lesson, so this section helps your child learn to apply what they've learned to their own life.  

 9 - Prayer: allows your family to acknowledge the attributes of God and to simply thank Him for who He is.

10 - Worldview Study - helps your child understand why they believe what they believe which will help them understand why others believe the way they do, which leads to more effective communication of the truth of Christ.  

11 - House of Truth - a hands on memory aid, the House of Truth is a model constructed one step at a time, giving the child a concrete visual of thinking about his life within the Kingdom of God.

What I like

When you purchase the book, you're given the password key to a wealth of supplemental information:  teacher helps for all ten lessons, notebooking

I like that the girls were immediately drawn to the studies in this book.  I love that they ask to do it.  Praise Him!

I love the layout of the book.  It's simple to follow.  It's made for self-study for children in the older range, so the girls will just take it and keep reading.  But I'm selfish - I want to read with both of them, because I want to learn too.

It's easily adaptable for children in the entire suggested age range, but I can see that it could also be used for children outside that age range.  I'm enjoying it, and I'm certainly outside the suggested ages.

I love that finally, at my age, I'm able to start cultivating my own worldview through this book - something that has been lacking in me.   

The "Think About It" questions have spurred some very interesting, entertaining, and in-depth conversations about God and faith and the belief systems of others - all of which, I believe, are strengthening my faith and that of my girls. 

I like pretty much everything about this book.

I wish…

I could find the three-dimensional model for the House of Truth!  It is supposed to be available from Summit Ministries, but I haven't been able to find it.  I think the hands-on visual would really help the girls.

Watch out for

The suggested schedule - don't feel like you're tied to it, as it's merely a suggestion.  Basically we ignored it, and just read until we felt like we were at a good stopping point.  It was hard for us to take two weeks for each lesson - when it was time to stop, we all wanted to just keep studying.  What a blessing!

Be sure to

Review the Table of Contents here

Preview the first chapter here

Check out the FAQ here

View the 2011 catalog of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. here.  The catalog includes some complementary products (audio CD, coloring book and notebooking journal) which are due to be released this spring.

Final thoughts

I love this study.  My girls love this study.  It has given me confidence that I can teach my girls about having a worldview without previously having one myself (and I can learn right along with them, which will be a precious memory).  I foresee us purchasing, using and loving all the books in this series, along with some of the complementary products.

Thoughts of my crew mates

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:

Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


  1. What a wonderful review! We also reviewed and loved this resource. The Summit House of Truth was $150 so we're planning to make our own out of Duplos (for littles) and Legos (for older kids).

  2. Thank you Becky! My co-op has been looking for a world view curriculum for our elementary students and we are considering this one....I am directing them to your blog