We are, as I’ve shared before, a homeschooling family quite by accident.
It was never in our plan when we started our family to educate our children at home, but after a year in the public school system, we sensed God’s leading to pull our oldest out and start teaching him at home, beginning with the first grade.
So when I first set out to homeschool, I didn’t know what I was doing. I’d never looked into different methods and curricula, and I didn’t have much time to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I needed a framework for teaching subjects like science and history and math, and I eventually found some things that seemed to fit our family.
But when it came to religious education, I had trouble landing on something that I liked. There are a lot of comprehensive religious education programs for people in Catholic and liturgical churches. But my husband and I both grew up in an evangelical, Pentecostal church.
Where were the resources I needed to make a plan for teaching our kids the many facets of the life of faith we lived?
After thinking and praying about it a lot, I decided that there were four major aspects of our faith I wanted to focus on: the Bible, church history, theology, and apologetics (or why we believe the things we do about the truth of the Bible and the existence of God.) Obviously, there is some overlap between these areas, but since our history and science curriculum both used 4-year cycles, this seemed to fit nicely with that.
So last year, we dove into the Bible.
We learned the 66 books in order, and spent time studying the narrative arc that runs through the entire book. We used Bible storybooks, and the What’s in the Bible series. Our studies of Moses and the life of Christ also dovetailed nicely with our study of Ancient Egypt and Rome, so it was fun to get to place those events in their proper historical context.
This year, our history curriculum covers the middle ages, so it made sense to cover church history this year, since many critical event in church history take place during that time period. The major topics and people we are going to try to talk about this year include:
- Monks and the monastic tradition
- The rise of Islam and the Crusades
- Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
- John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and the translation of the Bible into English
- The Gutenberg Bible
And though it doesn’t fit into Medieval history, we’ll also try to fit in some time at the end of the year to study the Azusa Street Revival, the Pentecostal Movement and the founding of the Assemblies of God ( the church to which we belong.)
While I want my kids to know these terms and stories, it’s more important to me this year that they understand the underlying lessons we can glean from church history: the courage and importance of following God, even when it goes against established tradition, the enormous importance of Scripture, and the privilege it is to have it in a language we can read and study for ourselves.
Below, I’ve included a list of resources we’re using (and if you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comments) in case you’re interested in studying some of these things with your kids this year. You don’t have to be a homeschooling family to utilize these resources; they’re mostly just great stories I’m planning to read aloud, and they’d be easy to read with your kids in the evenings or over weekends, if that’s what works for you. Enjoy!
We will also watch some of the Pirate’s Guide to Church History clips in the Buck Denver series.