G is for…GACE

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?)

It is inspirational and challenging, practical and comprehensive. We have a GACE study group on Yahoo! that goes through Mr. Rose’s study that is comparable to the Self-directed Study from FACE.

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!

Kindergarten surprises

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)

Rose’s Guide: PA for the home

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:
money issues
voluntary consent and private property (aka sharing)
voluntary union
home government
a home constitution
Christian self-government
corporal punishment
activities and free time
and more…

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.

Rose’s Guide: reading

  1. The section starting on page 153 begins with the problem of illiteracy in America. He states on p. 155 that “Literacy is one of the keys to liberty and freedom.”
  2. Then move on to the paragraphs on p. 155 about the enfluence of the Bible on early American education. He quotes Rosalie Slater, “The HOLY BIBLE has been documented as the single greatest reason for the reading, writing, speaking, and reasoning ability of our American colonists…”
  3. You may recognize his History of the Look-Say Method of Reading (p. 156). A lot of today’s parents were taught to read this way and struggle with reading (or like my brother, you might hate to read because it was difficult without a phonics foundation).
  4. Now it’s time to get into teaching reading the PA way (p. 157). This includes intensive phonics (the building blocks of reading) and quality literature, the Chief being the Bible. “Reading is not merely a basic subject in school; it is the basic subject (p. 158d).” He recommends the Little Patriots series but I don’t believe they are still in print. You may find them at an auction or rare/OOP book store. He also recommends The Writing Road to Reading, which uses the Spalding Method (p. 160).

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.

Rose’s Guide: elementary arithmetic

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.

  1. The basic principles of math are illustrated on p. 232. This will give you definitions and help you understand what he talks about later. This is must-reading for anyone afraid to teach math to their kids, even at an elementary level. Of course you can do this! And read the section on the language of math (p. 233). This is helpful for planning your lessons.
  2. As always, we begin with the beginning. Page 234 defines for us the Biblical Source and Origin of Mathematics. To understand how to teach it, we must understand its roots and its Creator.
    Next there is the Biblical End and Purpose of Arithmetic (p. 236) and the Rudiments (p. 237). I really loved his subtopic “The Principle of the Plan for Solving Problems (p. 239d-241).” This was very helpful.
  3. Next I would recommend reading his part on the Seven Principles and Mathematics (p. 247) to get you in the PA frame of mind for lesson planning.
  4. Now it’s time to start planning your lessons. The Course Goals (p. 242) will give you a direction. The stories he highlights here are also helpful. His chart on p. 244 gives you an at-a-glance view of K-4 mathematics, which is helpful if you are planning to teach multiple grades. It’s good to see what everyone will be learning at the same time. And keep in mind that these are guidelines.
  5. Don’t freak out if your child isn’t at the same pace. Maybe he just needs more teaching. He’ll catch up. Or maybe your child is ahead. Don’t hold reign them in because a chart said they should be at a certain level. Let them excel.
  6. Now that you have your goals you can read his section on organizing your course (p. 245). If you are wondering about using textbooks, read his section on “Resources” (p. 249).
  7. As you are planning your lessons, make time to read “Arithmetic and the History of Liberty.” It will add depth to your lessons.
  8. The bibliography (p. 250) has a great list of books for you to peruse at your leisure. His bio on p. 251 is also quite interesting. I really like to see how other families get into PA.

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.

Rose’s Guide: elementary history

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.

  1. It will be beneficial for you to 4-R the subject. Steps for that can be found on p.145.
  2. Page 208-211 gives an overview of the nine links with ideas for developing the teacher’s notebook for each link. This is extremely helpful I think. Then as an example she goes on to expand the 7th link, The Pilgrim Seed of Our Christian Republic. She includes more teacher notebook preparation and identifies the 7 principles in the pilgrim story on p. 219.
  3. She lists course objectives on p. 204. These you will consider as you plan each year because they do not change, they only deepen.
  4. On p. 205a she shows what rudiments to begin with each year and then she refers you to the chart on p. 207 to deepen the elements according to age. I must say here that this chart is how I first came to understand how to teach multiple grades. The chart shows each link addresses to different depths. Seeing this chart, it all made sense to me. That’s when I knew I could create my own plans and teach what I want to teach. That’s when school gets fun for me! (If you are interested in her history books like The Mighty Works of God[second year on the chart], her books go by this chart, so you can see what will be covered in each book.)
  5. So she lists 8 steps to follow to create your plans on p. 205. Some of these steps are for schools so just ignore those, but there is great information here just the same. Again, you want to take her suggestions and make them your own. I can’t stress enough the importance of making things fit your family and not the other way around. And check the bibliographies on pp. 222, 225 and 306-307 for resource ideas.
  6. She then lists some sample lesson plans on p. 222 and of couse you must keep in mind that these are for a school and not a home. Each subject’s section ends with a short autobiographical essay by the author and Smith’s is, of couse, enlightening.

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.

Rose’s Guide: elementary literature

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).

  1. The Seven Loves of Literature on p. 330 is a favorite of mine. It’s very inspiring.
    The “soil softeners” article on p. 380 is great reading which discusses the inportance of instilling the idea that internal actions have external consequences. This can be accomplished through literature.
  2. The overview details are the first of the real “nuts and bolts” of your lesson planning (p. 333-342).
  3. The chart on p. 531 gives the overview for K-6 literature with suggestions for learning the literature of the Bible, rhymes, poems, stories, highlighting individuality of nations, history as literature and notebook studies.
  4. Next you need to start with the Bible as the highest form of literature and how to study it. (p. 379)
  5. Pages 382-389 discuss many forms forms of literature and how to incorporate them in your studies. These are helpful when looking at the overview.
  6. Then read through America’s European Heritage of Liberty on p. 5352. This will take you through several classics that FACE also features: Pinocchio (Italy), Heidi (Switzerland) and Joan of Arc (France) among others. Then she gives you an example of teacher preparation for Hans Brinker (p. 355) so you can see her suggestions.
  7. She then covers classics that feature America’s Christian history and character. read through the “Teaching American Character Through Literature” section that starts on p. 364, reading only the key classic to be taught (refer to it for each classic you choose to cover. He offers one for each year K-6.).
  8. Page 378 has a blank chart you can copy and fill in to plan your lessons or you can create one like it on your computer.

She concludes with her autobiographical essay that is quite interesting . This is quite comprehensive for creating your own plans to enjoy with your children.

Rose’s Guide: where to start

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.

  1. Go through the “where to begin” on p. 118. It will take time (like everything PA) but if you don’t have the NP’s SDS this will do the same thing. And if you have done the SDS it’s still good (I did both). And in the little paragraph that starts on p. 117d titled “Using the Guide,” Rose tells you what this book can do for you.
  2. Read through the homeschool section starting on p.111. this section addresses issues like time mgmt. (p. 116), teaching multiple grades (p. 126-127), developing your own curriculum (basics on p. 119-123), schedules (p. 125), preparing for the school year and weekly lessons(p. 125) and notebooks(p. 124).
  3. The “some questions answered” (p. 80-83) doesn’t take long but the questions are great.
  4. If you need more explanation, the section on 4-R’ing (p. 145) explains it and gives an example.
  5. Then there are sections on literature, history, geography, science, mathematics and even economics and typing. Each section discusses how to create your own plans and the way it is explained it is very doable. And the authors are masters in their fields (Katherine Dang wrote the geography section).
  6. Some misc. helpful info in his book:
    rudiments Handbook outline (p. 279)
    chart overview of the CoC along the grades (great for seeing how you teach multiple grades the same principle, p. 207)
    How to study key events, individuals, institutions and documents (p.310-322)
    chart overviews for literature through the grades (p.343-351)

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).