Crew Review: Who Is My Neighbor? (Apologia)
In the Bible, Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor.” Being human, the first question must be “but who is my neighbor?” And the next logical question, for me anyway, is “how do I love my neighbor.” In Who Is My Neighbor? (and Why Does He Need Me?), the 3rd book in the “What I We Believe” series from Apologia, students focus on “becoming more like Christ by serving others.”
Before expressing interest in reviewing this product, I read through the FAQ for the What We Believe series. After reading that Volume 3 “will focus on how we are meant to become more like Christ by serving others,” I knew I needed to know more. I want to become more like Christ by serving others. I want my children to become more like Christ and I want them to serve others. Thankfully, Apologia offers sample lessons and a table of contents. I liked what saw and I eagerly expressed interest.
Written directly to the student, Who Is My Neighbor? requires a 5th to 6th grade reading level. This Worldview Curriculum is suitable for 1st grade through 8th grade (or ages 6-14). Older students, like my Tailorbear can work through the program independently, whereas younger students will need someone to read the text aloud or help them with the reading. In addition to the textbook, Apologia also offers a Notebooking Journal and a Coloring Book.
I’ve chosen to use this resource with both Tailor Bear (age 13) and Supergirl (developmentally delayed, she works at a 1st grade level). We’re following the suggested schedule of working 2 days per week. I read aloud from the textbook($39) while Supergirl colors a page or two from the coloring book($8). We stop and discuss things along the way and later in the day or the next day, Tailorbear works through the Notebooking Journal($24) on her own.
I was a bit worried that Tailorbear would not be interested in the journaling aspect but she surprised me and even completed pages that I told her were optional. It was for her that I wanted this study. I wanted her to see how valuable she is when serves others. I want her to understand that she does make a difference and what she does is important. The Notebooking Journal adds such a depth to the study, that I cannot imagine using this program with children 6th grade and up without it.
- Text is written directly to student: This means that if your child can easily read at a 5th to 6th grade level, they can read the text independently
- Easy to use with Multiple Students: Though I primarily used this with the two students mentioned above, my other two children have “been around”. It would be very easy to read aloud to all of them and have full family discussions.
- Course Website: Apologia has a course website for book extras. This is password protected but the website address and password are in the introduction section of the book. The course extras include teacher helps and lesson objectives.
- Suggested Lesson Plans: The book lays out a general lesson plan that covers each lesson over 3 weeks. The beautiful Notebooking Journal has a suggested detail schedule that lays out each day’s assignments. I love the detail schedule in the journal and am using that with the two days a week pace suggested in the text.
- Suggested Scripture Memory texts: Each lesson has suggested memory work. You are free to choose whatever translation your family prefers. We are using The Orthodox Study Bible.
- Lessons are structured: Each lesson has these sections: The Big Idea, What Will You Do, Short Story, Think about It, Words You Need to Know, Hide it in Your Heart, Integrated Learning, What Should I Do?, Prayer, Encounters with Jesus (my favorite section!), Take a Closer Look, House of Truth.
Thoughts from Tailorbear (age 13): “If you like writing out what you are thinking about the world and God, it’s perfect! I like this. Relatively speaking. It is a good exercise to help you understand what you should do to those around you! Overall this was a good product.”
My Thoughts: As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I am usually hesitant about using Bible Study materials from a Protestant or Western point of view. The FAQ states:
The entire What We Believe series is nondenominational in content. The authors of the curriculum, who come from different denominational backgrounds, have intentionally omitted from the course minor points of doctrinal difference that separate denominations in order to focus on the larger issues that inform our faith. You may choose to adapt the book’s terminology or expand on its lessons to cover what your church teaches about such doctrinal distinctives as water baptism or spiritual gifts.
I have found it very easy to bring an Orthodox view to the materials. I am pleased with how well this is working for us and I recommend this volume for any family that wishes to focus more on becoming servants.
Read what other Crew Members had to say about Apologia’s Who Is My Neighbor?