Kids ask lots of questions. The surprising thing isn't that the questions are childish, but that they're often so poignant—children want to know the truth about things, the basic principles, the reason the world works the way it does. Capitalizing on this innate curiosity (and taking seriously biblical injunctions to train children in the Lord), Apologia's What We Believe worldview curriculum introduces kids to Christian answersfor life's most important questions.
How Do These Work?
What We Believe is a 4-volume worldview curriculum for students between grades 1-8 consisting of the books: Who Is God?, Who Am I?, Who Is My Neighbor?, and What On Earth Can I Do?. Each book is independent and can be used in conjunction with the others or by itself; books can be read in any order, though reading in the order of publication makes the most sense as topics unfold in a natural progression.
The course is student-directed for older students, while younger students will need help from a parent or older sibling. Each volume is filled with colorful photographs and illustrations, and there are periodic questions to get kids thinking. Each volume has an accompanying full-color notebooking journal (containing places to write prayers, answer questions, and complete activities like word searches and crossword puzzles) and a coloring book with pictures to color.
There are ten lessons in Who Is God? and eight lessons in the other three volumes? The authors suggest devoting two weeks per lesson, though students and parents can set their own pace. Every lesson begins with a "Big Idea" section introducing the main topic, followed by a short story illustrating the theme, thought-provoking questions, vocabulary words, Bible memorization, a section discussing godly virtue, a prayer, and finally the worldview study section in which everything in the lesson is integrated with a Christian understanding of things.
Articles appear regularly inset in the main text, and these show students how the content they're learning relates to other disciplines, their faith, and the world around them. A "House of Truth" section is also included at the end of each lesson, which allows students to build a model house out of everyday materials one piece at a time; the model demonstrates the different elements of a coherent worldview and how they work together. Free online helps for teachers are available, and include notes, extra information and printable House of Truth graphics.
Who Is God? is largely theological, laying a foundation for study about God and thinking Christianly. Major topics include the nature of truth, God's attributes, the Trinity, sin and salvation. Who Am I? focuses on anthropology, and asks questions like "What are we doing here?", "Can you trust your feelings?", "Will you choose wisely?", and "Who do you think you are?". Who Is My Brother? is about the need for community, and What On Earth Can I Do? Investigates ways to put a Christian worldview into practice.
Our Honest Opinion:
Worldview is the new big thing in homeschooling, and a lot of publishers are scrambling to get on board. Apologia's What We Believe distinguishes itself from most of the others by focusing on building a solid Christian foundation without worrying too early about what other people believe, and by directing the course at younger kids. After all, it's not just grown-ups who need to defend the faith.
Jay Wile (author of the popular Apologia science curriculum) left the Apologia company upon publication of this series, citing too much dogmatism and not enough latitude for opposing beliefs as reasons. It appears as though Wile doesn't like the fact that authors John Hay and David Webb are Calvinists, and while their Reformed stance on election certainly comes through at times, it isn't presented dogmatically or even very often.
If you're looking for amore strictly worldview course for your kids we suggest looking at Marcia Brim's What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization and Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview. However, What We Believe is easier to implement for teachers and not quite as daunting for youngsters, and we recommend this latest offering from Apologia as an introduction before moving on to more advanced worldview study with something like David Noebel's Understanding the Times.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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