Who Is My Neighbor?

I was very excited to receive from Apologia, the third volume of the What We Believe series. Through this series, Apologia is striving to give your child the foundation of Christian beliefs using stories, notebooking, and above all, the scriptures.


What It Is:

Volume three of this series focuses on a Biblical worldview of servanthood. The complete title of the book is Who Is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me? Very good questions to be discussing with our children indeed. Through the pages in these lessons your child will learn how we were made to be with others in life, who our neighbors are (and not just the ones who live next door!) and how we, as followers of Christ, are to treat them. The format is very organized, with a convenient schedule template in the introduction of the book.


Each lesson in the Textbook begins with an introduction and lists the learning objectives. Next is a short story; these are continual stories about characters and the people that come into their lives. The story in the first four lessons is about a family immigrating to America from China in the early 1950's, and the last four lessons are about a family torn apart during the Civil War. There are Think About It questions to aid in discussion of the story, sidebar notes, historical facts, and vocabulary words and definitions for better understanding. The main lesson is next; this is a nine to twelve page section that talks about the topic of that lesson. A memory verse is listed; I appreciated that two were listed, a longer one and a shorter one. The last section of the lesson is called Encounters With Jesus. This section is a storybook-like format and is a drama told from the perspective of someone who had contact with Jesus. There are questions at the end of the story to examine with your children. Throughout the book are appropriate photos, paintings, and historical pictures.

The Student Notebooking Journal is a 230 page consumable notebook. There are all sorts of different activity pages inside. There are question pages that have space for the student to write answers beneath, vocabulary definition pages, blank pages for notes, crossword and word search pages, review questions, and a mini book to make for each lesson. These mini books are in the back of the book, and give instructions showing how to cut out, glue, and fill in. At the end of each lesson is a Find Out More page, with a suggested list of extra activities to do, plus other books and songs that are appropriate. For each lesson there are between 20-24 pages to fill in. Some of these are two page spreads; the hardback text is fine as a stand alone curriculum, with the notebooking pages useful for supplemental work. Like the textbook, there are colorful photos and drawing on numerous pages. At the beginning of the notebook is a more detailed lesson plan for the teacher; this gives the page numbers for both the text and notebook along with the suggested schedule.

The Coloring Book has 64 different pages to color. There are 8 pages for each lesson for your younger children to color. These illustrations range from photos about the story, the main lesson, and the Encounters With Jesus story. Some of these pages depict a boy mowing the lawn or a girl helping her younger sister. There are pictures of Jesus to color on a few of the pages.

What You Get:

I received all three items in the volume: the textbook, Student Notebooking Journal, and coloring book.The hardback textbook is $39.00, the spiral notebook is $24.00, and the coloring book is $8.00. Here is the place to order from the website.


How We Used This:

Each day I sit down with all my kids and do what I call Together Time. This is where we read the Bible together, practice our memory work, and up until this year, did our history curriculum. And so we included the Who Is My Neighbor? book in this part of our school. The recommended schedule in the book suggests 2 days per week of Bible study, and spends three weeks on each lesson. I tweaked it a little and we spent three days a week going through the assignments, and got through a lesson in a little over 2 weeks. I chose to do it at that pace because this was for a review; I did have my children doing the notebooking pages as well and realized that when we start this in the fall I will need to stick to the suggested schedule to have enough time to complete the notebooking. So my schedule looked like this:

Day 1 &2: 
         Text: Read Story (Immigrating Family)
          Notebook: Story Questions
                            Memory verse Copywork
                            Words To Know (Vocabulary)
          Coloring Book: 2 pages

Day 3&4:
        Text: Main Lesson

        Notebook: Mini-Book
                          Page - Thoughts on Being Lonely
                          Word Search page

        Coloring Book: 2 pages

Day 5&6:
        Text: Encounters With Jesus

        Notebook: Memory Verse Copywork
                          Do You Remember? (lesson questions)
                          Crossword Puzzle

        Coloring Book: 3 pages

Day 7:

       Any extra notebooking pages not done and memory work

This curriculum was very easy to teach even with a wide range of children; while we read the text, my younger two would draw from the coloring book. (I will be purchasing another coloring book for next school year; they took turns coloring during our review month.) The discussion questions were well thought out and provoking, and I was pleased with the conversations they began. I went through the Student Notebook and chose a few pages for my older three to do. They liked the memory work copywork pages, and my older daughter enjoyed filling one of the pages with a description about how she felt one time when she was all alone. Most pages do not have lines to write on; this is so younger ones can draw pictures instead. For my one daughter who has trouble with straight writing, I pasted a lined page on the blank one.

What We Thought:
My thoughts on the first chapter: the beginning story was well written; the author did an excellent job of making you feel as if you were really watching the family escape from communist China. I of course, appreciated the historical notes on Mao and immigration. The main lesson was focused on how God created us to be with others, and that we really need to be with people. We talked about how hard it is to be lonely, and how we can serve others by being with them. We also saw how God showed Adam how lonely he was when he had him name the animals, and that the perfect companion for him was Eve.

I was uncertain about the Encounters With Jesus story; I am leery of fictitious stories during Jesus' time. The one in this lesson was about the wedding feast at Cana, and was from the perspective of the bride. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very tastefully done; the focus of the story was about Jesus' influence on others and their reaction. I found the notebooking pages to be very useful; my reluctant writer did well with the creative writing suggestions.

I am very excited to use this during our Bible time in school; we were at a crossroads with curriculum and this will be a welcome addition to our school schedule next year. Members of The Crew reviewed the second title in this series last year, and I was very happy to review the third. And other Crew members did review this great product; check out what they have to say here. 


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.