Four Score and Seven Years Ago... (Constitution and History)
April 10, 2019
In This Issue:
Weaving a Tapestry

Hey Mama,

Today is about history . . . yours, your kids', and our Forefathers' who have taught us so much (if we'll be quiet and listen). History doesn't have to be all serious and Constitution-y . . . yes, it can be . . . but it can be so much more than that, too. It's baking bread with the littles, camping out in nature, or strolling through a favorite historical location at sunset. History is all around us, and as the Bible says, the rocks cry out His praises. History points us back to His STORY—the greatest story ever told—and all of history echoes our great Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

So, how are you incorporating history into your homeschool and everyday lives? Here are some ideas from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine:




And remember, Mama. . .

The Lord of lords, God Himself, loves you and your children. As chaotic as the day may seem, it’s just a passing part of your (and their) history. One day it won’t matter that today didn’t go as planned, that the dishes are still sitting in the sink, and that the food burned. It won’t matter that money was tight TODAY and that you had to wait for (fill in the blank). 

It will be a distant fog, but part of a beautiful and wildly unique tapestry full of threads, imperfect and near-to-bursting. It will be a colorful garment to spread about your shoulders in your old age—when your children rise up and call you BLESSED!

So yeah, today is today. For some of you, it might be full of wonder and awe. For others, it’s painful, stressful, or even seems hopeless. Don’t give up!

Because with our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, there IS hope. He is our Hope, our Everlasting Life, our true focus. Eyes up, Mama. So keep weaving that tapestry . . . it’s beautiful. As for now, His hand is on your head today. 

-gena
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Staying Relational    
Why History?

Dear Friends,

In teaching American history to 9th and 10th graders at a co-school this year, I’ve been amazed at how central the Constitution has been to the political arguments and tensions of opposing parties from 1789 to the present. Regardless of whether it was Federalists versus Republicans, Jacksonian Democrats versus Whigs, or Democrats versus Republicans, the U.S. Constitution was cited by each side—though they each used it to defend their position.

It’s an incredibly complex and fascinating topic—well worth the time to study and explore! Today, though, I want to talk honestly with you about a more foundational aspect of history . . . one that could actually change your life. So. . .

Why history?

In the 30 years of writing and speaking about history to homeschoolers in this nation and around the world, I’ve often encountered an attitude that history is merely an academic subject. Many people view it simply as:
  • a graduation requirement.
  • a group of random names, dates, and places that few find interesting.
  • a boring, tedious subject for most.
  • a fairly useless area of study, apart from providing history teachers a job.

As homeschool parents, it often feels like one of those classes you simply have to get your kids through—like grammar. You look for textbooks that “might” be interesting enough to help your kids make it to the end of the year. When your kids complain that it’s not interesting, it’s boring, and they can’t remember it, you square up and say, “Well, guess what? That’s what EVERYBODY thinks, and they make it through. I know because I did. So, quit complaining and get back to studying.”

I understand! The history classes I had in school (prior to university) were impossible for staying awake. But, it’s not the fault of history . . . it’s the way it’s been presented to us in our public schools—even our private schools and homeschools. To understand how to change that in your own homeschool, here’s a five-minute video on Dried Up History Facts—And How to Fix That!

But an even more primary answer to the question, “Why history?” is that, when we go beyond a superficial glance at what has happened prior to today, we will catch brief glimpses of the penetrating work of God in the lives of people and nations. We will discover more about His ways and His faithfulness. It is much deeper and far more personal than a simple recounting of “church history.” All of life— and all of history—vibrates with the pulse of His redeeming love. We don’t always see it, just as we seldom recognize that the entire universe is held together by His unfailing power.

I encountered God’s faithfulness in history when I was a young homeschool mom, teaching my 11-, 9-, and 7-year-old children. The early 90s was a fearful time to be a mom, as the headlines screamed unrest, terrorism, scandal, and more. Friends of mine had even chosen to not have children because the days seemed so terrifying and unstable. And, yet, as my kids and I made our way through ancient history—with constant references to the Old Testament to learn where it fit with the history we were studying—I became increasingly aware that God kept providing, leading, delivering, and redeeming. The startling part was that He not only did that for the children of Israel, but for people, leaders, and even nations that did not know Him.

One day, I realized that this redeeming God of history was also leading me. And the fears I had held about raising children in such a tumultuous time faded before His faithfulness.

That’s why I do what I do. History is not merely an academic subject—it’s a window into the works of God through the ages. And He is the same today as He was then.

Remember, stay relational.

Diana
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Young
History: The Real Story

When we were new homeschoolers in Louisiana, the local school system opened up the district warehouse to homeschoolers looking for material.

“Hooray!” we said. “Free books!” 

Hal is our history buff, and he quickly picked out a middle school text of state history. After all, he thought, this is a fascinating state—the explorer DeSoto, the Cajun resettlement, the Louisiana Purchase, the Battle of New Orleans, the Civil War, Huey P. Long, Bonnie and Clyde . . . this should be good!

To his disappointment, the book was as dry as dusty bones. It was little more than lists of names and dates—no story line, no flair, no interest, no lesson. What sixth grader is stirred to greatness by a former governor’s education policy? Ugh.

History is really about the story. In fact, the word “history” comes from a Greek term which means “narrative.” Look for books and materials which bring raw facts to life. If you don’t think history can be great entertainment, you haven’t read Shakespeare, Theodore Roosevelt, or Winston Churchill. We love classics like the Landmark Books or Childhood of Famous Americans series. 

Biography is a big part of history. Academics debate whether history is about movements or individuals, but it’s clear that special men and women do appear at critical moments that guide the course of events. How would American history differ if there had been no George Washington, no Abraham Lincoln, no Carrie Nation, or no Martin Luther King? 

Don’t be afraid of value judgments. The Bible is honest to note that even heroes of the faith had moments of weakness—think David and Peter, for examples—but the Scriptures freely say, “He did evil,” or “He walked with God.” It’s fair to point out the same countries which tolerated the evil of slavery in the 18 th century liberated millions from Nazism in the 20 th. Give credit and criticism wherever they are due, to people or to nations. 

Moses told the Israelites, “ Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you
(Deuteronomy 32:7). Just as God established memorials and feast days to remind His people of their history, we can use the stories and biographies of our own history to teach our children how God works through the lives of men and nations—and learn from their example! 

Yours in the battle,
Hal and Melanie

Did you know Theodore Roosevelt wrote a history book for children? He wrote one to teach character through the stories of America’s heroes—and we turned it into a series of audiobooks with sound effects . . . because history is much better with cannon fire! CLICK HERE and use the coupon thm419 to take $5 off the set! 
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Learn and acquire the original intent of the Constitution as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. It can be fun, simple, and easy to understand. 
Raising Educated Citizens

Civics is so important. Our kids need to know how our government works. It's important they know the history of how the United States came to be.

History can seem like a dry subject, disconnected from us by time, space, and timelines. Maybe that's because of the way we studied history when we were growing up. History isn't boring, though. It's fascinating. We can teach it in a way that will grab the hearts of our kids and help them envision a time that's far removed from them.

We started teaching history when our youngest boys were in first and second grade, using books and source documents. Literature-based history was such a blessing for us!

You can teach your elementary-aged kids about the Constitution of the United States of America with just a few great books:
  • Our Living Constitution: Then and Now by Jerry Aten - This activity book will take your kids through the Constitution and the Amendments, explaining each.
  • For You They Signed by Marilyn Boyer - This book offers brief biographies and timelines of the lives of every signer of the Constitution.
  • The Declaration of Independence: The Words that Made America illustrated by Sam Fink - This important document that led to the Constitution is presented in its full text as a delightful 160-page picture book.
  • Shhhh! We're Writing the Constitution! by Jean Fritz - A fun story of how the Constitution came to be.

To make a complete historical unit study, I'd add some narrative biographies about Christian figures at the time, historical fiction that covers the Revolutionary War and life in America and England at the time, as well as some notebooking and hands-on projects.

See what I mean? No dry, boring history in sight. You'll be serving up living history on a platter for your kids. Not only will they enjoy learning about the Constitution, they'll feel like they lived it—and they'll never forget what they've learned!

Danika Cooley is an award-winning  children's author and the developer of the popular Bible Road Trip™ curriculum. Grab your free  Sample Pack here .
Florida

Look What’s Happening This Month!

Florida Parent Educators Association is hosting the FPEA Annual Florida Homeschool Convention – Wild Florida – Live Free on May 23-25, 2019 at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL. Contact office@fpea.com for more details and visit www.FPEA.com/events to register online by May 3.
Washington

Look What’s Happening This Month!

Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington www.ChristianHeritageWa.org is hosting its Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference on April 25-27, 2019 in Redmond, WA.

www.ChristianHeritageWa.org/2019SpringConference To contact them, call 360-810-8018, or send an email to ContactUs@ChristianHeritageWa.org.

Register here: Registration Page
Colorado

Look What's Happening This Month!

Colorado Heritage Education School System (CHESS) in Greeley, Colorado is offering a Diploma Program & Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Registration. Contact Deborah Martin, office@coloradoheritage.org for more details. (April 15 is the registration deadline!) www.coloradoheritage.org 
Are you trying to figure out how to assign separate classes to each of your students within  SchoolhouseTeachers.com ? Watch this  tutorial  to learn how to use the great Bookmark feature to organize course assignments!
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No limits.
Whether you want your little ones to learn American history through picture books or your high schoolers are ready for an in-depth study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, you’ll find American history courses for all ages on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There are video-based courses like Drive Thru History: American History with Dave Stotts, interactive courses like American History for Beginners, text-based courses, and much more. 

If you haven’t yet joined SchoolhouseTeachers.com, come give us a try! Your first month is just $5. If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. Discover the wealth of materials available right at your fingertips at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. 


Bonnie Rose Hudson
Director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com
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