I’m so happy to come to this letter! GACE, or the Guide to American Christian Education by James Rose is my favorite go-to reference for BPA. It is chock full of almost everything you need to get started and stay going. I can hardly begin to list all of what’s in it. It addresses BPA in the home and in home education. There is help planning lessons, basic 4R’ing and other foundational concepts and disciplines. He addresses core subjects, enrichment and some subjects that are hard to come by in any other BPA materials–namely Kindergarten year full lesson outlines, economics and Anatomy/physiology. There are contributions from Katherine Dang and Mrs Ruth Smith, among others. (Did I mention how much I adore this book?)
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:
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.
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!
Okay, I know I said in the lesson plan post that we were just coasting in K this year. Well, Princess S is not a “coaster.” She’s more a force of nature. The more I pondered it the more I came to the conclusion that she would not be happy to just putter around. She needs structure and she needs to be challenged–and she lets me know that quite often.
So the Holy Spirit reminded me today that in Mr. Rose’s book there is a section just for K (starting on p. 165). This section is complete with principles, overviews and lesson ideas. They even included a resource list for each subject. (Math is even planned daily, in chart form, for the first 9 weeks!) And there are gentle reminders about pacing and scheduling the K day (p. 192). I know much of that is for schools, but there is much to be said for scheduling the home school day as well.
I am VERY excited about this because it is exactly what she needs (even though my lazy self wants to take it easy!). And it’s all laid out for me, so I just need to break it down into weeks and with a little preparation I’m ready to go!
The kindergarten curriculum is important because once the child enters the first grade there will not be the same opportunity to lay the foundations in such a full, unhurried and enjoyable way. (p. 167)
Yes, I’ll get to the upper grades too, but I wanted to talk a bit about the material in his Guide that will make you say, “Wow! I didn’t know that was in there! That’s very good to know.” Well, maybe something close to that anyway.
“Some Questions Answered” (p. 80-83) gives helpful answers to common PA concerns in a nutshell. He briefly addresses questions like, “Why the emphasis on American history?” and,
“We need a prepackaged program to implement this,” and, “Do I have to teach one of the seven principles all the time?”
“Part II: Education for the American Christian Home” (p. 85) is a practical synopsis of applying the Biblical Principal Approach to the home. Mr. Rose and his wife Barbara talk about their PA home, including almost any subject you’d want to see principles applied to. “Developing America’s Christian Character,”"The Seven Principles Illustrated in the Home” (good stuff) and”A Personal Application of This Approach in Training Children” (I LOVE thispart!) are the three subheadings here. The third part (beginning on p. 97) addresses PA thinking applied to everyday life:
voluntary consent and private property (aka sharing)
a home constitution
activities and free time
This will answer just about any question you have about what a PA home looks like. This whole part of the book will excite you because it shows PA, not in a classroom, but in a home. And it reveals how PA shapes your thinking and affects how your govern your family. I can really appreciate the practical insight because they aren’t talking “pie in the sky” intellectual mumbo jumbo. They speak simply, from a humble heart, about how PA worked in their family. Now I can see how “How the Seed of Local Self-Government is Planted” (p. 95) can apply to my family. Right now. Today.
For me it’s great to learn about these principles and how they apply to the world around me and to America. But to see how it applies to me and my little chicks brings PA to a whole new level for me. And that’s what it’s all about: bringing PA home to change my own world, so that I can go out from here and change the outside world.
I have used Hooked on Phonics and the Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking from Riggs Institute. The latter is very labor-intensive and a little dry for my taste, although I did like their 70 phonogram cards. They break down each sound in the English language and give rules for when each sound is used. That is really great. It’s set up more for a classroom so you must wade through a lot of useless teacher instruction. Overall it is an excellent program and it works well.
With Princess S (now 4yo) I plan to use McGuffey Readers. I may throw in some WSRT too.Some other moms have had success with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The obvious key here is to find a program that works for your family that is phonics-based.
This is strictly my own interpretation of how to go through this section (which begins on p.231). It was authored by James Kilkenney.
Rabbit trail here: James Kilkenney’s wife is named Barbara. My parents are James and Barbara. James Rose’s wife’s name is…you guessed it. Barbara. Three James and Barbaras. Kind of odd, no?
I must say that I really enjoyed this section more that I thought I would. It’s really amazing how exciting a subject can be when you get to the principles, the reason behind it all. I love how easy it is to see God in math (which I elaborated on in a earlier post). So here we go.
Personally I use Ray’s Arithmetic. The lessons are constructed in a simple sequential order so there are no grade restraints. We are free to go at our own pace. If you like worksheets you can find them that coordinate with Ray’s for the different lower grades here. And you can get higher math–even algebra, calculus and trig for the high schoolers-here. (And it doesn’t hurt that an entire K-12 curriculum on CD-ROM with teacher’s keys–a 20-volume set– is $59 !) But of course use what you are comfortable with.
When you read Mr. Kilkenney’s writings I hope you’ll consider planning lessons and teaching math yourself, and not simply going through a textbook. Especially in the lower grades it is so satisfying to instill these biblical principles that will last a lifetime. For more along this same train of thought read Lisa’a great post here.
This Guide will give you all the help you need to set up your teacher notebook and create your own plans. It even gives you resources for research and lesson development.The section is written by Ruth Smith and begins on p. 203. This is only my recommendation of how to read this section.
The information she gives in this section is a comprehensive resource to get started teaching history PA. From understanding the 7 principles and the links to preparing your teacher’s notebook and creating plans from her helpful charts and lists, she’s covered all you need.
Rosalie Slater has written this part. The steps for reading this section are only my suggestions.
Of course you must begin at the beginning, which is forming your philosophy of literature (p. 329).
She concludes with her autobiographical essay that is quite interesting . This is quite comprehensive for creating your own plans to enjoy with your children.
Well, since I talk so much about James Rose’s book, A Guide to American Christian Education, I thought I’d talk a little about where to start for those of you who haven’t jumped into it yet. While it is big and red, it is not at all intimidating. Actually it is quite the opposite.
There is so much here that I can really overwhelm you with all the great stuff. After you read the basics I really recommend reading a subject at a time and really get into it because even if you use the curriculum guides you can find helpful information in it. And especially sections like the Anatomy/Physiology and economics because I don’t think NP gets into that (but don’t quote me on that!).
I’ll put more details here in segments so you can find what you need and so you can search my archives for what you need (i.e specific school subjects or topics).