Monday, February 20, 2012

Who Am I? TOS Review

I have heard so much about Apologia.  I have looked forward to using their science curriculums when we are a little bit older but I had no idea that Apologia had products other than science.  We were excited to receive a copy of their "What We Believe" set called "Who Am I? And what am I doing here?"   This set offers Worldview studies to help children understand how they perceive the world around them and it encourages children to develop a deeper connection with what Christians believe and why they believe it.  Once they are able to understand their own beliefs they are able to look at other children, from other cultures and beliefs and understand why they believe what they do.

From Apologia:
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. 

View the FAQ's for the What We Believe series HERE.

What is it all about?
We received the textbook, notebooking journal, audio CD and coloring book.  Let me tell you more about them:

1.  The textbook.  Aaaah!  There is something so wonderful about opening a brand new textbook.  And this isn't just any text book.  It is beautiful!  The pictures are amazing.  I think many people equate "textbook" with boring, but -- this is anything but!  There are 8 main lessons throughout the book.  What are we doing here?  What will you make today?  What's on your mind?  Can you trust your feelings?  Will you choose wisely?  How will you run the race?  What kind of fruit are you growing?  Who do you think you are?  Each lesson includes the learning objectives, thought-provoking questions, vocabulary words, memory verses, short stories, character traits, prayers, and worldviews that ask your child to compare and contrast other children from other religions.

2.  The notebook.  This component of the materials is wonderful!  We have not tried notebooking before and I was unaware of how FUN it is.  It really encourages your child to get into the stories and extract key concepts and write then down.  The notebook is creative and honestly...way to pretty to write in!   We ended up writing our ideas down on a separate piece of paper and creating a companion go with our notebook.  I know, kind of must be my Type A personality.

3.  The audio CD.  We are not big auditory learners at our house but we enjoy a good audio book now and again.  Unfortunately the audio CD kept my daughters attention for about 2 minutes...  But, we will revisit it in the future and maybe do better.  Be aware though, the audio CD isn't really a CD.  It is an MP3 and your CD player may not be compatible!

4.  The coloring book.  Who doesn't love a beautiful coloring book?  My daughter LOVES to color!  This was perfect for her since several of the notebooking options were a little to advanced for her.

The What We Believe series is designed for students age 6-14.  You can easily use this with younger children and I enjoyed it, even as an adult.  My 5 year old really loved the stories and we spent most of our study time with this book, cuddled on the couch reading and discussing the stories together.

How to buy:
Who Am I? - textbook - retails for $39.00.
Click HERE to purchase or download a sample.

Who Am I? - notebook - retails for $24.00.
Click HERE to purchase or download a sample.

Who Am I? - CD - retails for $19.00.
Click HERE to purchase or listen to a sample.

Who Am I? - coloring book - retails for $8.00.
Click HERE to purchase or view a sample.

What we liked about Who Am I?
-The beautiful pictures and wonderful stories made biblical concepts come alive in a way that takes you out of the traditional Bible stories.
-Kayley was so concerned about the story of Sasha, a Russian boy who was born with crippled feet, that she made a pledge to never treat a child cruelly just because they were a little different.  This isn't something we would've talked about otherwise.
-The differing worldview section is a great idea.  I thought it was a great way to introduce Kayley to other children and cultures who do not believe as we do.   (more on this below)
-Notebooking is so fun!  This was our first experience with it.  We will continue!

What we didn't like about Who Am I?
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and I found the Worldview sections to be so amazing - I was really excited to read about other religions with my daughter...until I came to ours.  About mid-way through the book we "meet Ellie" a "typical" 12-year-old girl in Salt Lake City who is a Mormon.  This typical Mormon girl was so un-typically Mormon it was laughable and hurtful all rolled into one.  

For example, this section claimed all Mormons:
-only wear skirts (girls) and the boys only wear slacks (not jeans) 
-sew their own clothes 
-have to look immaculate 
-must follow church-mandated lessons on Monday nights
-believe that only Mormons will go to heaven
-treat those who leave the faith "harshly"
-excommunicate other Mormons who leave the faith
-will lose their temple recommend if their house isn't clean
-make their children (specifically oldest daughters) do all the housework and child rearing
-make their daughters do housework instead of play or study
-must marry by a justice of the peace to satisfy the law before marrying in the Temple
-have to pay tithing or you will be excommunicated
-have to pay fast offerings even if it means your children will go hungry
-if they make a mistake, or break a Mormon rule, they will lose their salvation

This story about Ellie is so grossly inaccurate.  Come on.  I'm a Mormon, but I don't know how to sew, I buy my clothes at a store, I'm wearing pants and I haven't combed my hair since yesterday morning (not immaculate here).  My house is a mess, my daughter is playing instead of raising her younger sibling, and if we make a mistake - we repent and ask forgiveness - we believe in God's goodness and grace, just like other Christians.  As a faith, my church has not been fairly represented in this book (did they even interview a real Mormon?)  This leaves me wondering, are the other worldview sections as inaccurate as this one?  Did Apologia really teach me the truth about Islam?  Did I really learn the truth about Buddhism?   Or are the other religions being misrepresented too?  I honestly don't know, and I'm not sure if I can trust this text book to give me the truth since it didn't present the truth of my religion to its audience accurately.  

Will I continue to use this product?  
I don't know for sure.  I think I will sit down and read the remainder of the book before I decide.  It has so many wonderful qualities and it is so full of goodness that I really, really, want to love it.   I know a lot of my fellow crewmates do.  To read their reviews, click HERE.


Disclaimer:  I received Apologia's Who Am I? in exchange for an honest review.  
All opinions expressed herein are my own.


  1. This is exactly how I felt about this too. My review is scheduled to post on Wed.

  2. I am grateful for your review and I know that people misinterpret our religious views a lot because they don't take time to visit our meeting houses and learn what we truly believe. If they did they would see an entirely different view of what we believe -vs- what the world "THINKS" we believe. Thanks for posting!

  3. Not at all surprised that a "Christian" curriculum would be so grossly inaccurate in its "teachings" about the LDS faith. How very sad an unfortunate for the many children and parents who will be misled by these books. Perhaps you could submit some appropriate revisions to the pu lisher along with some official Church literature about our beliefs, including how our leaders feel about members of other faiths and how we are taught to explore our differences by identifying common beliefs and and adding to that discussion in a spirit if love and respect. Maybe they will have us "meet Kayley" in the next edition!

  4. That is crazy! Have you written to Apologia about it? I haven't heard something that "off" in a long, long time. It diminishes the Apologia brand in my mind... how sad. If you contact them, post a follow up! I'm interested! :)

    PS- I found your blog through Latter-day Homeschooling!

  5. So sad that Apologia had such incorrect info. I am using them for science, and while I don't always agree with the theology in the text, it has been fairly easy to work around. This, though, makes me more uncomfortable. Especially since there were so many reviewers using it and probably thinking that is typical. Makes me wonder about the other worldviews.

  6. Nowhere in the text does it say "ALL" Mormons act any certain way or do any certain thing. The depiction of the girl in the story was one girl in one family. Every family functions differently regardless of their religion and I think you're really overreacting.


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