Of all the things I teach in my homeschool, Bible is the one thing I care about above all else. If my children can leave home with a worldview that is clearly defined by a strong Biblical foundation and the apologetics to back up that worldview, I will be a happy Mom.
The What We Believe series by Apologia Educational Ministries is an answer to prayer. Here is a concrete and well-built way to teach a Biblical Worldview. The stories are engaging, thought-provoking, and professionally organized. I love everything about Who Is My Neighbor? (And Why Does He Need Me), and I have already started purchasing the first two sets (Who Is God? and Who Am I?) in the series. But that doesn’t necessarily help you make a decision for yourself, so let me give you an idea of the layout, perspective and content.
“God did not place us on this earth to collect the most toys or to fulfill our own wishes and desires. he did not command us to hid ourselves within the safety of our homes and churches. He put us here to love Him and to love others. You may one day achieve worldwide famea nd amass great riches, but if you fail to love people you will have failed at life. You may become the smartest person in the world, understanding all the mysteries of the universe, but if you do not love you are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).” (Who Is My Neighbor?, Lesson 2, P. 47)
Each lesson contains a collection of stories, essays, bible stories, discussion questions, memory work, vocabulary, notebooking, activities, and application and is covered in six days to three weeks. The pacing is based on your needs — you have complete flexibility with scheduling. Here is an example of the sections included in Lesson 3.
- The Big Idea (Story)
- People In Motion (Essay)
- An Unhappy Day (Story)
- Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood (Biography)
- God’s Good Neighbor Policy (Essay)
- Delight in Serving Your Neighbor (Essay)
- I Was Hungry, And You Gave Me Food (Essay)
- David and Jonathan (Bible Story)
- Love Your Friends and Your Enemies (Follow up to David and Jonathan)
- What Should I Do? (Application)
- Encounter’s With Jesus (Bible Story)
- Five Make A Note of It sections for notebooking
- Three Memory Verses
- One Prayer
- Four Vocabulary Words
- House of Truth activity
Each element of the lesson works together seamlessly to illustrate and teach a biblical worldview. Over the course of the book you read the stories of several families and see how they make choices based on their worldview and how their worldview changes as they become Christians.
The notebooking journal includes questions to answer, vocabulary to define, memory verse copywork, pictures to draw, minibooks, prayers to write, praise reports, group think activities, review questions, word finds, and crossword puzzles. These journals are very beautifully designed and are an integral part of the curriculum.
The three week sample schedule contained in the book suggested two days per week of reading. I found this amount of reading too much in one sitting. We chose to spread those readings over five days, and still finish each lesson in about three weeks at about 20 minutes per day.
This pace is working perfectly for us. We spend a little bit of time each day either reading or notebooking or doing a part of the lesson. On the days we are reading, my children find the corresponding page in the coloring book and color it as I read. Who Is My Neighbor? is designed to be an interactive joint activity, not something you hand off to your child to do on his own. If I could only do one subject directly with my children, this is the subject I would choose.
My Bottom Line: This book and series gets my highest recommendation. I have been looking for a Bible/Worldview curriculum for years, and this series is literally an answer to my prayers. My daughter (8 years old) will be finishing all of the books in this series even though we are starting late. My younger children will all be completing this series during elementary.
Each book ($39) can be purchased with the notebooking journal ($24) and coloring book ($8). Audio recordings ($19) for the first two books in the series are available now, and the audio for Who Is My Neighbor? should be released this year.