“The Mighty Works of God: Liberty & Justice for All” review

Mrs. Smith is the founder of Pilgrim Institute. She has written a history series for home educators called The Mighty Works of God. I have used this myself so I feel I can give an honest review. For this review I will refer to this title as LJFA.

This is the second book in the MWOG series, intended for younger elementary ages. First off, this is not an intimidating tome. The student text is less than 200 pages and the teacher’s text is only a few pages more. It is an easy read for the students.

The teacher’s guide provides three or more lessons per chapter. Mrs. Smith has supplied a leading ides for each lesson, along with reasoning questions and a synopsis of the chapter. A CD-ROM is included with the teacher’s guide full of printable maps, notebooking pages and charts that correspond with the lessons.

If you are new to BPA it can be a terrific way to ease into a subject without having to build lessons from scratch. And if you have Mr. Rose’s book, this text corresponds with year 3 (second grade) in the chart on p. 207.

LJFA covers all of history, from creation to today. She uses the theme of liberty to connect the lessons throughout the year. I like this because it adds continuity to the lessons. There are scriptures, poetry, biographies and more sprinkled throughout the text. Many color drawings add to the enjoyment as your child reads about Moses, Marco Polo, William Penn, Jedediah Smith and more. Benjamin Franklin seems to be a favorite historical figure with children and the stories about him in this volume are inspiring and a great place to pause for a “rabbit trail.”

Why you might like this

  • She weaves a beautiful story, revealing His Story as it marches through time. It is taught from a Providential history perspective, focusing on Biblical reasoning to learn about historical individuals and events.
  • It makes history an easily teachable subject.
  • You are provided the leading ideas for each lesson.
  • It is flexible. Because there are no daily plans you can use as many lessons as you like. You aren’t left feeling as if you haven’t covered something.
  • Reflection and reasoning are supplied.
  • It inspires affection for America’s Christian history.

Why you might not like this

  • Your educational philosophy doesn’t jibe with a Biblical Principle Approach philosophy.
  • You want daily lesson plans.
  • You want literature-based history.
  • You don’t want to teach from a Christian history worldview.
  • You want a textbook.
  • You want something the child can do independently. This requires the teacher to reason alongside the student.

There are no tests or quizzes. (or maybe this should be in the list above!)

I enjoyed using this with my children. We learned a lot. I didn’t feel rushed through a huge lesson schedule, so we could take out time and focus on reasoning and not just facts. I was also able to teach multiple grades with this (4th and 1st). A little modification makes this easy to use with several ages at once. And because the leading ideas are supplied, I didn’t have to do a lot of preparation before we could sit at the kitchen table and talk about His Story together. It began a lot of great conversations about the why’s of history. Not “why do we need to learn this” but why people do what they do and why things happen.

Book review: Beyond Numbers

Beyond Numbers book

I bought this book a year or so ago and wanted to give a review of it. Actually it will be more of a “why I like this book” kind of post. 

Beyond Numbers: A Practical Guide to Teaching Math Biblically by Katherine Loop is the most helpful introduction to teaching math with Biblical principles that I have come across. She packs a lot of food for thought into less than 100 pages, and as a busy mom I appreciate that I can read it in one night.Chapters include “Where Did Math Come From and Why Does it Work?,” Math is Not Neutral,” and “Teaching Math Biblically.” It is a concise synopsis of math’s origin, exactly how to discover principles and how to teach them to your children of all ages. She also offers  curriculum suggestions, supplement resources, and help to overcome challenges (which we all have with some child at some time).

BPA requires you to internalize the principles and ideas in order to teach them to your children and she does a good job of helping you do that.If you have a hard time with math yourself or if you struggle to get your children when math lessons come around, this book will bring the subject alive for you. As she states in the chapter “Adopting a New Heart Toward Math, “…I would encourage you to do more than just add Bible verses to your curriculum. Let God change your heart toward math….As you begin to see and use math Biblically yourself,you will be able to teach math Biblically to your children so that they too, can behold God in math.”

For more info on this book visit Christian Perspectives. They offer many mathematical resources.

Find of the week

Actually I found this book a few months ago. I’m trying our a new category where every week I share a resource that is meaningful to me, and hopefully to you and BPA as well.

The Life of Olaudah Equiano (Lakeside Classics)

A few months ago I finally got around to watching the movie Amazing Grace. I love period movies and this one did not disappoint. The music elevates and the subject convicts. I was particularly interested in the abolitionists who were working so diligently, doing little works for God with great love and conviction. There was a mention of Olaudah Equiano‘s self-published biography. I was amazed that he was able to sell over 1,900 copies of his book in Ireland alone.

The book intrigued me. I was impressed at how many books he was able to sell at a time when there were none of the modern marketing tools available. Not long after that I was in one of my favorite haunts, my local Goodwill. (They have so many terrific books there!) While scanning the shelves my eyes fell upon a little hardcover with  greenish bookcloth. Imagine my delight when I checked the title and discovered it was a wonderful copy of Equiano’s biography! For a mere $7.50 I was able to take my treasure home.

It has maps and engravings sprinkled throughout. It is an amazing story of his life. I am not done yet, but I am fascinated and horrified at his experience. It is magnified when I think that his story is not unusual. This is not a post on slavery, but I must state here that slavery violates God’s law (love your neighbor as yourself, among many others) and all 7 principles of America’s Christian history. But his book is not only of slavery, but one of God’s Providence and His redemptive power that is available to all men.

I was so glad to add this tome to my collection of beloved classics. I love stumbling across little jewels like this.

Review: “The Mother at Home”

I have been reading through a book online and was so pleased with it that I have ordered a copy from Amazon. The Mother at Home; or the Principles of Maternal Duty by the Rev. John S.C. Abbott is wonderful. You can see it all online here.
Flip through it and enjoy his instruction.

It is full of practical help and insight into the role and importance of the mother in the home (as our first sphere of government, right?).

Here is a quote concerning Washington that gives all mothers cause for pause:

The mother of Washington is entitled to a nation’s gratitude. She taught her boy the principles of obedience, and moral courage, and virtue. She, in a great measure, formed the virtue of the hero, and the statesman. It was by her own fire-side that she taught her playful boy to govern himself; and thus he was prepared for the brilliant career of usefulness which he afterward pursued. We are indebted to God for the gift of Washington; but we are no less indebted to him for the gift of his intestimable mother. Had she been a weak, and indulgent, and unfaithful parent, the unchecked energies of Washington might have elevated him to the throne of a tyrant; or youthful disobedience might have prepared the way for a life of crime and a dishonored grave.

 I love the language of liberty in this description. We should all keep in mind what Ms. Dang referred to as “the power of one.” Mrs. Washington understood this principle and a nation was born as a result.

This also reminds me of a passage in T&L by Rev. S. Phillips: “‘…when there is a Sarah in the house, there will be an Isaac in the cradle; wherever there is a Eunice teaching a Timothy the scriptures from a child, there will be a Timothy teaching the Gospel to the rest of mankind….'” (p. 11)

I cannot wait to get my copy to mark up and highlight!

Meeting Ms. Havergal

I have made so many “friends” along my homeschool journey–Charles Willson Peale, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Christopher Columbus, Louisa May Alcott, Benjamin West. Then yesterday a new friend came into my life– Frances Ridley Havergal. We met quite by chance, bumping into one another at a local thrift store. And I am sure I will ever be the same.

The little book I picked up for two dollars was a well-worn copy of Havergal’s Kept for the Master’s Use. (I have since discovered that she wrote several books for children, which I am now eagerly seeking!) The unassuming tome is thoughful application of Scripture in a personal way, using our lives and bodies to illustrate her points, using her hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be.” Chapters include: “Our Hands Kept for Jesus,” “Our Voices Kept for Jesus,” “Our Silver and Gold Kept for Jesus,” “Our Lips Kept For Jesus,” and so forth. Here is a sample from her chapter entitled “Our Feet Kept for Jesus:”

The figurative keeping of the feet of His saints, with the promise that when they run they shall not stumble, is a most beautiful and helpful subject. But it is quite distinct from the literal keeping for Jesus our literal feet.

There is a certain homeliness about the idea which helps to make it very real. These very feet of ours are purchased for Christ’s service  by the preciious drops which fell from His own torn and pierced feet upon the cross. They are to be His errand-runners. How can we let the world, the flesh and the devil have the use of what has been purchased with such a payment?

FR Havergal

And she has this to say about Jesus’ hands in the final chapter entitled “Christ for Us:”

His Hands “for thee.” Literal hands, literally pierced, when the whole weight of His quivering frame hung from the torn muscles and bared nerves; literally uplifted in parting blessing. Consecrated, priestly hands; “filled” hands (Ex. xxviii. 41, xxix. 9, etc., margin)– filled once with His great offering, and now with His gifts and blessings “for thee.” Tender hands, touching and healing, lifting and leading with the gentlest of care. Strong hands, upholding and defending. Open hands, filling with good and satisfying desire (Ps. civ. 28 and cxlv. 16). Faithful hands, restraining and sustaining. “His left hand is under my head and His right hand doth embrace me.”

FR Havergal

Ms. Havergal’s poetic prose and call to consecration are inspiring. I know I will pore over her book for years to come, allowing my new friend to challenge and inspire me, beckoning me higher and higher in Him. So I’m off to put on a pot of tea and sit with my new friend and listen to her thoughts on the Saviour I so dearly love.