Lesson planning with Mr. Rose

Those of you who know me well know how dear Mr. Rose’s book is to me. It is invaluable in my BPA quest. I thought I’d share a way of planning lessons using his book. It’s not the only way, but one way it can be done, even for new families who want to create their own BPA lessons but don’t know where to begin. This is after you have gone through the section on p. 118, have a working knowledge of BPA and a personal philosophy of education written down (mine is in the clear pocket on the front of my teacher’s notebook).

(Re)read the section on ”Education for the American Christian Home” (beginning on p. 85).

Starting on p. 119,  you can see the subjects broken down into goals and objectives. Here is a list of page numbers you can write in under each subject:

  • History (Elementary): objectives p.204
  • History (Junior High): objectives p. 204
  • Geography: goals–p. 259, overview p. 260
  • Literature: see charts pp. 343-351
  • Arithmetic: goals p. 241, rudiments p. 237, biblical origin and purpose p. 236, 234
  • Algebra: objectives p. 445, vocabulary of algebra p. 427
  • Science (A&P): rudiments p. 467, goals p. 468, overview p. 469, principles p. 457
  • Economics: goals, overview p. 415, rudiments p. 402

Of course, you need to read the section for each subject, but this will give you a quick reference from the lists on p. 119-123.

As an example, take geography. I am planning for a 4th grader and a 1st grader. Here’s how I plan these lessons.

  1. Prayer. I have to have the Holy Spirit to help me plan what my kids need to know this year.
  2. Make a grid with the months on the side and the subjects across the top, so I can see what I am studying in each subject to create cohesive plans. 
  3. See the geography topic on p. 120 for a quick glance at the subject.
  4. Read the section on geography, written by Katherine Dang (259-273).
  5. Note the goals on p. 259. (If I have 4 R’ed this, then I refer to my own goals.)
  6. Note the overview on p. 260 (If I have 4 R’ed this, then I refer to my own overview.)
  7. I make note of what I am studying in His Story and try to work geography alongside the subject. If it will not work there, then I will look to literature.
  8. Using my overview and goals, I chart the months out. From there I am able to plan weekly lessons, using the biblical principles and leading ideas I deduce from 4-Ring and from The Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects. I also add living books, mapwork, reference books and more to enliven the lessons.

I put the year’s master sheet into my teacher’s notebook so I can see my whole year on one page and how all the subjects are connected.

I love planning my own lessons this way because I can meet the objectives using the overviews and still create individualized lessons for my family. And Also I have a plan until I have 4-R’ed that subject and found my own objectives and so on. For more help on utilizing Mr. Rose’s book to the fullest, read my posts under the category Rose’s Guide.

Because we work with the seeds of principles, our lessons can look very different from yours and still we can both teach the same rudiments. With the overviews in Mr. Rose’s book I have a general direction to head in, but I can take my own path to get to the destination. I love that!

Simon the ruler

Continuing along our theme this week of dictatorships, we discussed the difference between leaders and rulers. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, they are defined as follows:

  • Ruler–any one that exercises supreme power over others.
  • Leader–One who goes first; a guide. (I rearranged these a bit.)

There is a marked difference between the two. One seems benevolent and one does not. We discussed the differences and the type of government these two would look like. We also talked about the responsibility of the people under these types of civil government. Here is what she reasoned:

  • The people have no need for self-government under a ruler. They are told everything.
  • The people have some need for self-government with a leader because it is up to them to follow.

We created a page with flaps that fold up to see what’s underneath. We defined them both (above), listed the responsibility of the people and gave an example of both from real 7 year-old life.

The Holy Spirit gave me an idea as we were talking about what these two types look like to a kid. Here’s what we discovered:

  • Simon Says: ruler. You are told what to do. You can govern from anywhere. There is no mercy (one miss and you’re out)
  • Follow the Leader: leader. You are shown what to do. The leader must be in front to set the example. There is mercy because even if you miss something you can still start again.

This was really fun. We played both games so she could follow and see which one she would rather follow. Of course she chose the leader. But for a moment she thought she might like to be the ruler. I see we still have some work to do! :)


daughters and dictatorships

For our Bible lessons we use the Judah Bible Curriculum, which I can’t rave about enough. It looks at the Bible governmentally, that is, who or what is directing, regulating, controlling or restraining men and nations. (JBC doeas a lot for Christian scholarship and learning to study the Bible for yourself too.) It has been such a wonderful time together.

This week were are discussing Egypt and their government–Pharoah (dictator), man over man type of government. Now my Princess G is only 7 but she was able to reason some profound reasons why she does not want to be under a dicatorship. Keep in mind that she really did get this on her own. I did not tell her what to think.

We discussed what a dictator was and what that type of government looks like in chart form.

Then we discussed the passage in Exodus 1 about Egypt and what that society was like. Not a great length, just the basics. We discussed why Egypt was unhappy that the Hebrew numbers were growing and what that meant to Egypt.

Then I asked her, looking at the chart, why she would not like a man over man type of government. These are the reasons she listed:

  • I would worship him instead of God.
  • I wouldn’t get my prayers answered becasue he is only a man.
  • He would be controlling and tell me what to do all the time.
  • He would be unknown and I wouldn’t know what he was thinking (she was saying he was highly undpredictable).

This was really exciting to me. She really understood what we were saying and was able to reason why it wasn’t a good thing to have a dictator. God bless her! We made it into a paragraph for her notebook:

When she came up with the reasons I was quick to praise her and give her ownership of her own thoughts. “I am so proud of you! You came up with those reasons yourself; I didn’t tell them to you. What a smart girl you are! God has blessed you with such a bright and wonderful mind.” This really encourages her to keep going. The more I encourage her to think the more she does. I can’t wait to see how this reasoning looks in 5 years. This BPA philosophy of education is awesome!

Leading Ideas

This seems to be a stumbling block to many a Principle Approach family. What exactly is a leading idea? How is it different from a principle? Why is it important and how do I find it?
FACE defines a leading idea as “…an idea that leads the reason down a pathway.”
Actually the leading idea (LI) is a very simple one. A LI is simply the bridge between the concrete and the abstract. It helps your child learn to reason from the concrete (information) to the abstract (principle). It points to, or leads you, to the principle. The LI says, “Hey, over here! Here’s the principle!” And it points with a big sign. Well, at least it gets you in the same ZIP code.

It is related to the principle but is not the principle itself. I hope this helps you understand how it “works”. LI’s are another thing that makes BPA a philosphy and not a curriculum. When you can offer the leading idea your child is able to see into the abstract and reason in a profound way.

For example, in the NP 1st Grade Lessons when we talk about Columbus this is how they created the plans:
Principle: God uses individual character to forward His Gospel.
Leading idea: Queen Isabella listened to her conscience when she aided Columbus financially.

Do you see how the LI points to the principle? You can state that and then let your child come to the conclusion himself. It’s a basic but important part of learning to educate with this philosophy. Yes, it takes time and diligence, but the rewards of a child who can reason from God’s word for himself are priceless.

The Foundation for American Christian Education has some very helpful methodology in the Mathematics Curriculum Guide. It shows how to 4-R to create lesson plans, what leading ideas are and how to use them and much more. (These tools alone make the Math CG worth the cost, not to mention all the terrific material they offer inside.)They also have a helpful article on Mastering the Leading Ideas of the Red Books.

American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences

I am taking this outline from a Biblical Principle Approach course my mother took in the mid-80′s. I hope you find it helpful in creating your science lessons.

from David Holmes, Christian Heritage Academy

American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences
1. Develop an American Christian Philosophy
2. 4-R the course title
a. Define the vocabulary and properties which make up the basis for the subject
b. Research the vocabulary from scripture
c. Write a brief course description
3. Deduce the biblcal origin of the subject
4. deduce the biblical purpose of the subject
5. Begin to deduce the principles or rudiments of the subject
6. Uncover the American Christian History of the subject
a. Identify God’s providence in the discovery and development of the subject
b. develop a timeline showing relationship between the subject, America, the Bible, Christianity and America’s Gospel purpose
c. Research individuals who demonstrate God’s providence in the American Christian history of the subject
7. Write American Christian course goals
8. Write a course overview with an approximate time schedule
9. Develop an introductory unit which will lay the foundation for the entire course
10. Develop each succeeding unit until the course is complete

When developing the units, look for the following types of information:
a. Does any of the information in this unit apply to the five statements of an American Philosophy of American Science (see next post)?
b. Are there biblical principles or concepts which need to be stressed?
c. Do any comparisons need to be made between the Christian and pagan (evolution) perspectives on this subject?
d. Does any part of this section fit into the Chain of Christianity moving westward? If so, how can it be stressed? Does it need to go on a timeline?
e. Are there any individuals who made significant contributions to this section? Do these individuals demonstrate American Christian character?
f. What vocabulary words need to be defined by the students for this section? Do these words need to be researched biblically?
g. What is the biblical purpose for this section and how can proper responsibility or stewardship be taught? What is the application of the subject?
h. What principles of the subject should be stressed in this section?
i. Are there other goals which should be met from a study of this section?
j. What facts are necessary for a basic understanding of the subject?
k. Develop questions which will cause the students to use the 4-R’s.
l. Develop test questions which will test for learning levels above knowledge
11. Emphasis at the elementary level:
a. To capture the majesty and greatness of God’s creation
b. To begin to develop an idea of how science fits on the Chain of Christianity
c. To see America’s heritage of Christian Character through the men studied
d. To learn the basic principles which apply to that being studied
e. To understand how the body works to accomplish the specific function being studied
f. Learn how to be a wise steward of that specific function from both a medical and spiritual perspective

I hope you’ll prayerfully consider creating your own science lessons. It is rewarding (like everything PA) and fascinating. There is no end to the wonderful things you will learn about God and the creation He placed here for us to explore and enjoy.

Statement of an American Philosophy of Natural Science

Statement of an American Philosophy of Natural Science

1. God is the Creator who brought into existence all things from nothing. (Heb. 11:3; Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16-18; Neh9:6; Jn. 1:3)

2. All scientific laws and principles must be in submission to the Word of God, the source and origin of all truth. (Jn. 17:17; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; Job 12:7-10; Col. 1:17)

3. Man, created in God’s image, is given the responsibility of subduing and having dominion over all the creation. (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:6; Heb. 2:8; Gen. 9:2)

4. God’s providential hand can be seen in the preparation of the individuals to discover the scientific advancements needed for the movement of the Gospel westward. (Dan. 2:20-22; Amos 3:7; Deut. 29:29)

5. America is unique in the hostpry of science. Its form of government assured the individual the liberty to pursue and enjoy the benefits of his own productivity.

**Also see the post entitled American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences.

from David Holmes (Christian Heritage Academy) and Garnett Ingold (Arvada Christian School)

Preparing for the new year

We begin our new year next week. Since we school year-round, we take June off and then get back into things when the summer is really heating up. (And here it has been almost 100 degrees evey day this week!) I’ve been praying and looking over my plans for the year.

First, I think about what I want to cover. Sometimes I follow a suggested plan and sometimes I don’t. In science, history, math, Bible and French I will mostly follow their plans. But in everything else–English, literature, geography, music, art–I blaze my own trail.

I map out what I will basically cover each month throughout the year. Then I break it down into weeks. Then I make my daily plans from there, four weeks at a time. I plan the daily lessons as I go, so I don’t ever feel overwhelmed. The week we have off (every fifth week) I plan the next four.

Some PA moms plan a month at a time and then create daily plans from that. I like to see each week planned out. It helps me know that I have covered all I wanted to in more detail than a monthly plan. It may seem like a lot of work to do this but I like it. It helps me feel organized and peaceful because I know I haven’t forgotten anything. It also makes weekly planning easier because a lot of the work has been done for me at that point.

I’m really looking forward to this new year. We have some great things planned. I’m trying to do more activities and take more pictures. How do you plan your year?

Anna-Marie: treasure hunter

If my life would have taken a different turn I might have been an archeologist. Researching ancient cultures and plotting grids; digging away in the hot sun; sifting, sorting and cataloging the days finds. It seems so rewarding to uncover new clues about the past. Or maybe I’d have been a treasure hunter, always searching for the next big find. That would definitely be an adventure!

I fancy myself a kind of treasure hunter. Tools in tow, I search long and hard, consulting my map (my Bible) to make sure I’m still on the right track. When I believe I’m in the right spot I drop everything and dig like mad, kicking up dirt and making a mess (cue the Indiana Jones music). I may have to search around a little but I keep digging sweating and digging sweating and…”clink!” What was that!? Eureka! Ahhhh, there’s nothing sweeter!

I’m more of an “I can do that myself” kind of learner. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, seeking things out in a way that makes sense to me, which isn’t always the way others would go. It may take me longer to “get it” from time to time, but the treasures I unearth in my excavation mean more to me than anything anyone else could give me. The satisfaction that comes with the process is so very satisfying.

God has me on a journey to explore and to lead my little explorers right behind me. I must show them the ropes, where the pitfalls are and where the true Treasure can be found. And for me to do that I must own it. And to own it I must get it for myself.Now, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate help from time to time. I’m not stupid! It’s just that I need someone to kind of point me the general direction and say, “It’s that way.” I’m so glad that God planted the idea of the Principle Approach in Ms. Slater and Ms. Hall. I am forever indebted to them for blazing the way before me and leaving a trail for me to follow.

Well, I’m off on another exciting dig in Rudiments-land. Wish me well!

PA 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!

Charles Willson Peale


Charles Willson Peale


We are studying Peale for the next two weeks. I was fascinated with him. He accomplished many things and led an intriguing life. Among the many things I discovered: He learned saddlemaking, painting, metalwork among other things. He was friends with many of the founding fathers and as a patriot bravely fought in the Revolutionary War. He had 17 children, 11 of whom lived (most of them he named after artists) and held the controversial position that a woman could be as creatively expressive as a man. He started the first natural science museums, a revolutionary idea for his time. He loved his family and his country. Here is how I developed our studies.I searched my library for resources and came across these (there are many more, including an autobiography on microfiche):

  • The Ingenious Mr. Peale: Painter, Patriot and Man of Science by Janet Wilson
  • This biography is short (120 pp. or so) but thorough. It gave me enough information to flesh out his life without getting bogged down in a lot of unnecessary information.
  • Mermaids, Mummies and Mastodons: The Emergence of the American Museum published by the American Association of Museums Has an interesting timeline that documents the items procured for the different museums . Also contains sketches by his sons detailing the museums’ interiors.
  • The Joke’s on George by Michael O. Tunnell This is a children’s book detailing an true and funny incident when George Washington came to visit Peale at his museum in Philadelphia. This book really got me started on studying him more in-depth.

I also found more info on Peale online.

I discovered that one of my local museums also had some of his work. That was very exciting to me!

First I read through the biography of Peale and made notes on the following (according the the study outline in Dr. Rose’s Guide): Key People in Peale’s life, Key Events (in the form of a timeline), Key Institutions and Key Documents. I also kept a list of his character traits and insights as I went along.

From there I looked up key words in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and then looked up those words in the Bible to discover the Principles I need to discuss. After I had done all of this I assembled samples of his work and then I felt I had a good grasp on just who Charles Willson Peale was.

All of this information helped me formulate my weekly plans. We will incorporate Peale in every subject these two weeks. Some things we have planned are:

  • history study of his life.
  • field trip to the Gilcrease Museum to see his work up close.
  • creating a terrarium for science to study nature as Peale did in his own garden at Belfield.
  • creating our own living history museum, complete with stuffed animals and local flora and fauna.
  • We may “sell” tickets to family to come and tour our museum and see our hard work.
  • Coloring pages, definitions and other examples of Gabrielle’s work to file in her notebook. We will keep track of the four keys that we discover in our studies and document and color them.
  • Copying Peale’s art and discussing his influences and the attributes of his work
  • We will still work on handwriting and mathematics each day and try to fit it with Peale as we can.

This is just to give you an idea of how PA works for me. We won’t study in this way every time, that is, one single topic. I will begin to develop lessons in unit study fashion according to the Links on the Chain of Christianity. What I mean is we will study art, history, science and the other subjects that fit along the same link.