Even though I knew my kids would have likely benefited from the hands-on activities in our early years of homeschooling, the idea of lapbooking or notebooking just sounded like a lot of work on my part and something I never fully explored. However, curriculum providers have now started to provide tools and resources, such as Apologia’s Who Am I? Notebooking Journal, that make lapbooking and notebooking less intimidating.
The Who Am I? Notebooking Journal is a full-color, spiral-bound journal that is part of Apologia’s What We Believe curriculum. It correlates with the second textbook in the series, Who Am I?. (Please see related reviews.) A coloring book and audio CD are also available as supplemental resources for the text. All the work is done for you in this 248-page journal, including preprinted mini-books. Aside from the main textbook, all that is needed in addition to the journal is a pen, scissors, glue, colored pencils, and a Bible.
Prior to actually seeing the journal, I incorrectly assumed the pages and activities would be repeat information and activities from the textbook, just in a more convenient form. I found that the journal goes beyond the textbook and takes the lesson to a deeper level. The journal starts with a detailed 48-day lesson plan in an easy-to-read grid format. Of course, following the lesson plans is not a requirement in order to successfully use the book, but I found the breakdown of reading assignments and journal activities a very nice feature.
There are approximately 25-30 journal pages for each of the eight lessons in the Who Am I? textbook. Each journal lesson starts with two blank pages for students to take notes, draw ideas, attach photos, or record Bible verses as each lesson is studied. The remaining pages include questions about the lesson’s story, vocabulary words, word puzzles, mini books, prayers and praise reports, review pages, and more. Sample pages are available on Apologia’s website.
While some of the content and questions to be answered in the journal are directly from the Think About It, Make A Note of It, Words You Need to Know, Hide it in Your Heart, and What’s the Difference? sections from the text, the journal pages include questions not presented in the text, with the journal page having up to double the number of questions as the sections in the text. Extra content not found in the text also comes in the form of review questions, word puzzles, reflection pages (for prayers, observations, drawings, etc), mini books, and a Find Out More page with activity, book, and song suggestions.
The journal concludes with some special pages for the student to place their photo and write a biography as the author. Also included are several pages for parents, a youth pastor, family, or friends to write a note of encouragement about the journey and growth of the student through the study.
Not only is the Who Am I? Notebooking Journal a convenience for completing the activities and content in the Who Am I? textbook, but it takes the text’s lessons quite a bit further for deeper learning. Upon completion of the notebook, your student will have a keepsake of his or her studies, thoughts, and reflections. If you are planning to use Apologia's What We Believe series, this journal is definitely a resource to consider.