Friday, July 9, 2010

Learning About Church History

I was excited to learn that a book about some heroes of the Faith of Church History has been published.  When I was growing up, I learned a lot about Quaker History--all about George Fox and William Penn as well as many others.  But, I didn't learn a lot about church history beyond Quaker History.  I want my children to have a more well rounded understanding of church history and more knowledge about it than I have.

Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard have published a new book called The Church History ABCs:  Augustine and twenty-five other heroes of the Faith.   Here is their website for the book:  The book begins with a short introduction and then a brief page on each of twenty-five people who lived as early as 110 A.D. and died as late as 1940.  (There is a gap between St. Patrick, who died in 461 and Martin Luther who was born in 1483.)  Each letter identifies a person important to church history such as Spurgeon, Martin Luther, or Anne Bradstreet.  I was glad that several women were included.  At the end of the book, there is a long paragraph about each person that gives more description about who each person was and why they are significant--how they glorified God in their lives.  There is also a timeline list of the 25 people.  I wish there was also a visual timeline with a few historical events identified to help place these people in history (I'm going to email them and ask if they might think about posting one on their website =)).  On the website, there are several coloring pages and activity pages to go with the book.  I like the illustrations and the writing.

One question I asked myself was how could I help my kids relate to this book?  How could this book be useful to me and my kids?  I homeschool and my girls will be in 2nd grade and kindergarten.  This year I have decided to start reading through A Child's History of the World by Virgil Hillyer.  This book was recommended to me by several people.  They read the book withe their children and then had them draw pictures about what they have listened to.  One downside to using this book is that it doesn't address history from a Christian perspective or include much of the history of the Christian church.  My plan is to read each of the ABCs in chronological order as we get to that period in history in the book.  It will help bring in the history of the church for my kids as we learn about the past.  One reason I've chosen to teach history this way is that I realized I have been trying to cover too much in our homeschooling and I am trying to simplify.  I also have the ValueTales books and I am also going to integrate them into our reading in the same way I'm going to use this church history book.

If I weren't homeschooling, how would I use this book?  When would I read it?  It would be a good reference book if my kids asked me questions about who these people were.  It might spur on discussions about history and the things that happened in the early Christian church.

Honestly, I don't know of any other books on church history, so this is a unique book for children in grades K-5.  I would love more--more content, more description.  I'd love more of a timeline about history and the part that these people played in it.  In short, I'd love a great history book of church history for children.  But, this is a good place to start.

You can view a sample and excerpt of the book at this website:

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway Books for review.


Kim said...

That sounds neat. Can I look at it next time we visit?

Suz said...

Sure =) I was thinking of you when I read through it and thought you would like it. I'll bring it over when we get together!