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Who Is God? Review by Kelly BurgessJohn Hay and David Webb
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220/340
Anderson, IN 46016
Who Is God? is the first of four books in the What We Believe Series. It is meant to lay a solid foundation of basic biblical truths, and it is an excellent way to get your children thinking more deeply and searching within to discover how to apply God’s word to their own lives. It’s intended for elementary, middle, and high school students, and its optional components make it ideal for a variety of learning styles.
I received the hardcover textbook, the notebooking journal, the junior notebooking journal, the coloring book, and the audio CD. With these items, I was able to combine my almost-12-year old daughter and my 8-year old son for bible study for the first time ever! While not all of these components are required in order to use the textbook effectively, they were hugely helpful and convenient, and they greatly added to our enjoyment of the program.
The notebooking journal was a great fit for my daughter, since she is older and able to do more writing and self-reflection. It contains vocabulary words to define, open-ended questions, reflection activities, word searches, scripture verses to copy, traditional interactive notebooking elements, and places to record prayers and praise reports.
The junior notebooking journal was very age-appropriate for my son. It contains coloring pages, places to draw his thoughts as we discussed topics, fill-in-the-blank activities, scripture verses to copy onto primary lines, word searches, and traditional interactive notebooking elements. There was not a lot of writing required, and that made it ideal for him. He seemed to enjoy doing the activities, and we had good oral discussions while he did his drawings.
Both of the notebooking journals contain a convenient day-by-day schedule for the reading and activities that makes it really easy to plan your lessons. There are 10 lessons broken out into 54 blocks of assignments in this suggested schedule, and it’s very simple to check off the assignments as you go and adapt it to match your own scheduling needs. We decided to pace it out so it would last us a full school year. I love the flexibility of it. The text lends itself to multiple natural stopping points, so making it fit your schedule is not complicated at all. In addition, the textbook itself provides a basic lesson plan that covers 1 lesson over a period of 2 weeks, so even if you did not purchase the journals, you would still have access to a suggested pacing guide that is easily adaptable.
The audio CD was a great tool. We do a lot of reading aloud with our core curriculum, and sometimes I can really use a break from reading aloud. The audio CD allowed us to listen to the full content of the textbook, and I just followed along in the book so I knew which tracks to listen to and when to stop for the day.
The coloring book was great for my daughter. She loves art and opportunities to be creative, so she was really happy to have her own coloring book since her notebooking journal did not contain any coloring pages. I had the kids work on their individual coloring pages while we listened to the audio CD together, and that worked out well. My son has issues with sitting still and focusing, so this helped him settle down while we listened. This surprised me a bit, because he doesn’t normally enjoy coloring, but I think he really liked making his journal look nice so he could proudly show me his pictures afterward.
The textbook is full of really interesting stories that help relay God’s word in a way that makes it have meaning to a child’s everyday life. It gives them thought-provoking questions to help them think through the real-life applications of the Bible. It prompted great discussions with my kids, and that’s just what I hoped for! The text seeks to answer so many of the questions that every kid wonders about like how to build their life for God, how can they know what truth is, what is God like, and if God created the world, why isn’t it perfect? It also addresses questions like why did God create me, will God meet all my needs, how does sin separate me from God, and is Jesus the only way to God? These are all great, foundational questions of faith that are clearly explained on a level that children can understand so they can begin to apply these truths to their lives.
I’ve done plenty of bible reading and study with my kids over the years, but most of those programs just sought to expose kids to scripture and give them familiarity with bible events. Who Is God? is the first program that I felt really dove deeper and attempted to get my kids to think about what they were studying and what it meant to them personally. It’s truly a great place to start getting your kids to comprehend how God’s instructions are meant to guide them in their decisions so they can live a life that serves Him.
I look forward to completing this program with my kids this school year, and I would love to continue with this series over the next several years.
-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016