Why all the American history?

In the younger grades I emphasize American His Story for several reasons:

  •  We strive to think governmentally. Even young children can understand the principles inherent to America’s founding. We can discuss cause to effect, internal to external and expand the principles as they grow. These principles apply to many things, but they are expressed in our form of government, so we can look there.
American Revolution - History of the American Flag, Betsy Ross showing the United States flag to George Washington and others
  • Symbols of America are in all of society. We are surrounded with flags, portraits on money, sayings, holidays and more that lend themselves to curiosity and teachable moments.
  • To restore America’s Christian history.
  • Children enjoy learning about their country. They want to know all about it; the geography, the founding, the Pilgrims and Presidents. We are all naturally curious to know about where we live.
  • It is easy to find good literature related to American history.
  • It can be easier for young children to relate to than ancient history.
  • Because we are Americans. No matter what our family’s heritage, we are Americans and should know our own heritage. This seems to cause a problem for a lot of people. If they were to hear about French or Peruvian children studying their histories they would encourage that. But somehow if we want to learn about our own country’s Christian His Story, something is wrong.
  • They can trace God’s Providence readily, so it can be applied to other areas of their lives. They can follow it straight to themselves and see that they fit into God’s plan for His Kingdom, America and the world.

To make myself clear, we follow the Chain of Christianity each year, so we do talk about all time periods from Creation to today, I simply choose to spend a little more time on American His Story in the younger grades.

When they are older we discuss the Greeks, Romans and other ancient history in depth when they are able to reason as we are thinking governmentally. I look forward to those days. I just hope I can keep up! lol

The Breeches Bible

We have been studying about the Geneva Bible this week in HisStory. When we were discussing it Princess S said, “This is really fun!” Go figure! She loves hands-on stuff (like every other kid on the planet). I’m just glad she enjoyed it.

You can see scans of the entire Geneva Bible online here, among other places. Princess G liked reading it because it was so different that what she’s used to. She was surprisingly good at reading it too!

The Geneva Bible sprang from persecution in England. Bloody Mary banned the printing of English scriptures, so many Reformers fled to Geneva. There, among contemporary scholars like Calvin and Foxe, they created this version of the Bible. More on the history of the text can be found in nice, concise form here.

We discussed the impact of the Geneva Bible on us in America today and here’s the paragraph she wrote about it:

The Pilgrims used this Bible. They got their idea for government from the Bible and passed them down to the Founding Fathers. This Bible was important in our country’s birth.

We talked about how this Bible is important to her because there would be no America without it. The Bible in the hands of the people always brings liberty. God’s Providence allowed Scriptures to be brought to America’s shores and into our homes.

“For forty years after the publication of the King James Bible, the Geneva Bible continued to be the Bible of the home.”

This version was beloved by the Pilgrims, the founding fathers and even the Army (Oliver Cromwell used excerpts for the soldiers’ pocket Bibles). Other interesting facts about it:

  • it was the first Bible to break the text into verses
  • it was the first study Bible, with extensive notes
  • it was quoted by Shakespeare
  • it’s about 90% the same text as Tyndale’s 1384 version from the original Greek and Hebrew.
  • it was printed in Roman typeface for easy (?) reading
  • the King James version is about 90% the same text as this version

…and why is it called “the Breeches Bible?” See the Geneva Bible Gen. 3:7.

BPA does talk about more than just American history

In T&L, Rosalie Slater discusses every link on the chain of Christianity (beginning on p. 158) and she goes into detail about civilizations all along the Chain of Christianity. The CoC demonstrates God’s Providential history through the lives of men on Earth’s stage. That means as you plan your studies each year you find things along that Chain to highlight. My kids learn something from every era, in different cultures and countries, in history every year. Yes, we appreciate and study the Pilgrims and Founding Fathers, but we also view the whole of history as “Christ, His Story,” which began long before the idea of America was ever planted by God in the hearts of His children.

And you can’t talk about America without discussing what’s going on outside our borders. Every country in the world has touched our shores. Immigrants came here for a better life and we have to recognize their contributions as well. And life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You must discuss what’s happening at a certain time in history all over the world to get a complete picture. Look at different cultures along with your history studies. No need to feel isolationist. It’s not exclusively American history. It’s America’s Christian History. And we must again make ourselves aware of the sacrifices made and the reason for America being here in the first place. We must emphasize it because our parents and grandparents have fallen asleep and our true history has been taken away from us. It is with humility and a contrite heart that we ask God’s forgiveness for our ignorance and that we take up the cause to restore America’s true heritage. How do we know our full purpose if we don’t know where we came from? You don’t have to be born here to claim it. Being American is in your heart, not in your bloodline.

Some people struggle with the idea of American Christian history. What about other countries? That seems arrogant or slighting to other countries. I have to say I don’t see it that way at all. God set this nation here for a purpose, to be an example of the fullest expression of a nation founded on Biblical Principles. We are here to be a beacon to to the nations, to shine God’s light and take His principles to a dark world. I don’t see anything to get offended about. Take this example to the world. Show them that Hid Word really is true, that His principles work because you have seen them at work here. Tell them about Providence and how He used geography to keep a nation until it’s proper time. Tell them how God is using you, the 10th link on the Chain of Christianity, to further the Gospel and if there were no America you would not be here to tell them the Good News.And it’s your curriculum. Do what you like and what you think God is telling you to do. Focus any country any time. It’s the Principles that are important.

The more my children see God’s Providence in the whole of history, from creation to them as individuals, the more faith they will have that God is also performing His Providential care over them. He isn’t just a God of the Bible or a God of antiquity. He moves through the lives of fallible men and women throughout time to further the Gospel and He will use them too. In my opinion it doesn’t get any more missions-minded and world-focused than that. Glory be to God!