Teaching and Learning in the Primary Grades with the Principle Approach

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Teaching and Learning in the Primary Grades with the Principle Approach

Primary Grades

The Primary Grades lay the groundwork for all of life:

  • Teach Biblical ideas and reasoning in every subject
  • Teach all materials identifying the principles or rudiments of that subject and expanding those principles to the level of the student

Key subjects

History –

The Mighty Works of God Providential history series provides all the resources necessary to achieve the goal of Psalm 78:4 

Showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord. 

Since 2002

Mighty Works of God

• Presents opportunities to reason with the student from basic Biblical principles of government
• Teaches them to reason from cause to effect, internal to external
• Builds understanding of the westward movement of Christianity, using a timeline

Our mission is to help the children of the 21st century appreciate His Story.

Self Government (Primary Level)

Students read rich text and discover that His Story is meaningful to them. They learn the Biblical instruction for personal self government and the beauty of God’s plan for men and nations. Tracing the timeline of history, students grasp the significance of major events, from the beginning of time through America’s journey as a self governing nation.

Primary level students begin their mastery of His Story by learning that the heart is the key to self government. Building on this understanding, students trace the principles and practice of self government throughout history, focusing on Christ, the center of history and the One who made the way for individual, Christian self government. They follow the westward movement of the gospel to Europe, the Word of God becoming available to the English people, and the subsequent discovery and colonization in North America, where the principle of individual self government became the foundation for local self governing cities, states, and our nation.

Although the Self Government Teacher’s Guide does not recommend any supplemental reading resources, suggestions for Kindergarten are here  and early learners are recommended here. 

Sample pages for Student Text and Teacher Guide found here.  Read reviews here

The Teacher’s Guide, written by Mrs. Ruth Smith,  includes:

  • Suggested Lessons
  • Leading Ideas
  • Reflective Questions
  • Student Activities
  • Student Written Work
  • 192-Page
  • Resource CD with
    • Maps
    • Charts
    • Coloring Pages

“The teacher’s guide has several additional resources to help expand or further explain the lessons. It includes review questions and questions for reflection and reasoning. It also has questions for cultivating student mastery. This resource was able to be easily adapted by me to lead discussions with the children regarding the text. There is also a teacher’s disk which has handouts you can print to go along with the text. I know you will enjoy this curriculum as much as I do!” Malia Russell, Homemaking 911

Video of Lynn Meier demonstrating how to teach the elementary history, the Mighty Works of God.  VIDEO

“It’s not about memorizing dates, it’s about how God used people and nations for His Story. I’m so thankful my children are learning History this way, actually all three of us are now.”

—Jen, Homeschool Mother

Liberty and Justice for All (Elementary Level)

Realizing that history is God’s Story, and that liberty is a gift from God, students trace the foundations and development of liberty, originating with the author of liberty, God Himself. Students learn about significant events over the course of history, with particular attention to the growth of liberty during America’s colonial, revolutionary, constitutional, and pioneer periods. The final chapters highlight the Statue of Liberty, exploring Antarctica and the Arctic, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Samples pages for Student Text and Teacher Guide found here. Read reviews here.

The Teacher’s Guide, written by Mrs. Ruth Smith, includes:

  • Suggested Lessons
  • Leading Ideas
  • Reflective Questions
  • Student Activities
  • Student Written Work
  • 224-Page
  • Resource CD with
    • Maps
    • Charts
    • Coloring Pages
    • And More . . .

“I believe the author added more in depth content to the Teachers Guide, to further educate the teacher. Actually, I especially like the portion of each lesson, under the Leading Idea. I use that in depth content to ask follow up questions to my girls, it helps me get a better understanding of the person or the event.” – Jen,  home educator, Kentucky

Video of Lynn Meier demonstrating how to teach the elementary history, the Mighty Works of God.  VIDEO

“Learning is life long! I have learned and gleaned so much from the resources that Pilgrim Institute has available. I have fallen in love with Providential history and the richness in the material available for our children to help instill a biblical worldview. I still have a long way to go in teaching and learning this approach but am continually inspired and drawn to it. Thankful that we never stop learning and that God gives us wonderful teachers and resources such as this!”

—Stephanie, Healthy Homeschool 101

“The Mighty Works of God History curriculum was an absolute joy for my children to read.”

—Malia Russell, Homemaking 911


Supplemental Resources for The Mighty Works of God History Series for Children:

Kindergarten

Recommended supplemental resources for The Mighty Works of God: Liberty & Justice (Primary Level):

Snowflake BentleySnowflake BentleySnowflake Bentley: Man of Science, Man of GodSnowflake Bentley: Man of Science, Man of GodBenjamin West and His Cat GrimalkinBenjamin West and His Cat GrimalkinJED SMITH, Young Western Explorer, Childhood of Famous AmericasBlack Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the AntarcticBlack Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the AntarcticRobert Peary, Boy of the North Childhood of Famous Americans Series #11Robert Peary, Boy of the North Childhood of Famous Americans Series #11

Additional Recommended history resources: 

A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School The Principle Approach
By James B. Rose

The Classic Curriculum Guide for the Principle Approach Application to Home – School-at-Home – Christian School

The Guide provides an in-depth, detailed and historical explanation of the Principle Approach and of “how to think governmentally” from a Biblical perspective. It breaks out the principles of America’s Christian history; provides direction in how to teach America’s Christian history and government; includes charts, diagrams, and a Biblical index to explain the Principle Approach and how to apply it in the Home, School-at-Home, and the School curriculum.

DVD- Teaching Elementary History: The Mighty Works of God

By Lynn Meier

How important is the History program in establishing a student’s philosophy of history and government? How can the teacher direct young students in identifying God’s Providence in their history lessons? Can young children understand history in the light of Biblical principles?

This workshop will address the answers to these questions. Using the Chain of Christianity as the foundation of the Elementary History program, the teacher can assist the students in mastering a knowledge of America’s Christian history. Direction will be given for preparing solid history lessons which teach ideas and principles, rather than just facts and dates. Specific examples of student work which promotes reasoning from principles and ideas will be shown.

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CD – Teaching Elementary History- The Mighty Works of God
Lynn Meier

Hear an Audio Clip

How important is the History program in establishing a student’s philosophy of history and government? How can the teacher direct young students in identifying God’s Providence in their history lessons? Can young children understand history in the light of Biblical principles?

This workshop will address the answers to these questions. Using the Chain of Christianity as the foundation of the Elementary History program, the teacher can assist the students in mastering a knowledge of America’s Christian history. Direction will be given for preparing solid history lessons which teach ideas and principles, rather than just facts and dates. Specific examples of student work which promotes reasoning from principles and ideas will be shown.

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CD – Planting Seeds of Patriotism
Lynn Meier

“Patriotism! There is magic in the word. It is bliss to repeat it . . . The most beautiful pages of history are those which recount its deeds. Fireside tales, the outpourings of the memories of peoples, borrow from it their warmest glow. Poets are sweetest when they re-echo its whisperings; orators are most potent when they thrill its chords to music.” (Archbishop Ireland)

“But what is it to love one’s country? Is it to carry a banner in a procession? Is it to shout as we see the flag? Is it to fling bunting from the tops of the buildings and send off sky-rockets in the evening? Vastly deeper than that is love of country –deeper than any soldier’s uniform, deeper than any pictures of battleships with which we adorn our walls. To love your country . . . is to love that for which your country stands. . .” (Rev. W. H. P. Faunce) The one who loves his country loves the ideals and principles which run through the history of that nation. This is true patriotism.

Sample of Student Work via a Letter Written to Mrs. Ruth Smith-


Literature – Walks hand-in-hand with history

Do you hope to teach to your student’s heart? Would you like to inspire an appreciation for noble and worthy ideas, values, character and principles?

Literature is a key subject for influencing the next generation. It walks hand in hand with history, reflecting the course of liberty in the lives of men and nations.

Are you wondering just how to incorporate Literature studies with your students? Could you use some help choosing books and making practical plans that will work? For four decades Pilgrim Institute has been helping parents and educators to succeed with Literature studies.

  • Building a love for great literature and learning
  • Deepening reasoning skills
  • Encouraging imagination
  • Cultivating good writing skills
  • Exercising governmental thinking

Literature studies are so much more than just reading. Together with your student, you will read, analyze, discuss, and record, with an emphasis on ideas and principles. You will be richly rewarded as you see your students recognizing the Biblical principles of self government and liberty, and applying those principles in their own lives.

Miss Rosalie Slater inspired me first as a student and then again as I began teaching children. I pondered her words about home and family in her Little House in the Big Woods Teacher’s Guide, “God has used this home to teach what it takes to build a nation, at any time in its history.” I found it difficult to imagine primary students understanding what it takes to build a nation, but I discovered over the years that they really do understand self government. I pray that God will use them to restore this nation to its original foundations. — Jeanette Whittaker

Recommended Resources:

A.A. Milne

CD – Teaching Literature in the Primary Grades: The Works of A.A. Milne

Lynn Meier

Since 1924, children have delighted in the poetry and stories written by A.A. Milne. Milne was first an editor and author for adults, but after his son, Christopher Robin, was born, Milne turned his writing abilities to new fields. His first book of poems, When We Were Very Young, thrilled readers of all ages. For Christmas of 1925, Milne wrote a new story for the Evening News. With that publication, “A New Story for Children Winnie the Pooh about Christopher Robin and his Teddy Bear,– the story of Winnie the Pooh and his friends was born. Additional stories and poems were written and published through the years, and each was greeted by the readers.

This workshop will overview the life and literary work of A. A. Milne, including selections from his poetry and the Winnie the Pooh stories. Suggestions will be made for teaching primary students to identify literary elements in the stories, including plot, characterization, setting, theme, and style.

CD – Sneezles and Wheezles, Heffalumps and Pooh: Teaching the Writings of A.A. Milne
Lynn Meier

Hear an Audio Clip

Since 1924, children have delighted in the poetry and stories written by A.A. Milne. Milne was first an editor and author for adults, but after his son, Christopher Robin, was born, Milne turned his writing abilities to new fields. His first book of poems, When We Were Very Young, thrilled readers of all ages. For Christmas of 1925, Milne wrote a new story for the Evening News. With that publication, A New Story for Children, Winnie the Pooh, about Christopher Robin and his Teddy Bear, the story of Winnie the Pooh was born. Additional stories and poems were written and published through the years, each greeted eagerly by the readers.

This workshop will overview the life and literary work of A.A. Milne, including selections from his poetry and the Winnie the Pooh stories. Suggestions will be made for teaching primary students to identify literary elements in the stories, including plot, characterization, setting, theme, and style.

Winnie the Pooh,  by A.A. Milne | isbn: 978-0525444435

Winnie-the-PoohWinnie-the-Pooh

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Aesop

A Guide for Teaching Aesop’s Fables
By Lynn Meier

This thorough and well-researched teacher’s guide offers a variety of approaches to teaching the timeless fables to students of all ages.

Includes:

  • How to develop a literature course
  • Sample overviews and lesson plans for preschool through junior high grades
  • Background information, teaching ideas, and instructions for student work
  • Fables as studies of character
  • Fables and literature of the Bible
  • Fables and poetry
  • Composition using fables
  • The life of Aesop
  • History of fables

CD – Literature that Teaches Lessons in Life –Aesop’s Fables for All Grades
Lynn Meier

For over two thousand years, individuals throughout the world have chuckled at the humor of Aesop’s fables, sympathized with the honest truths presented, and been challenged by the application to their own character and actions. From The Tortoise and the Hare to The Frogs Desiring a King, these fables teach lessons of wisdom to readers of all ages through their delightful representations of men and animals. This session will address the teaching of fables from kindergarten through the junior high grades, and will provide practical ideas for a variety of methods to be used, suggested fables for the different grade levels, and specific examples of lessons.

The Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables by Don Dailey | isbn:  978-0762428762

The Classic Treasury of Aesop's FablesThe Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables

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Poetry

Audio Download – Poetry – Inspiring and Challenging Themes for the Home or Classroom

Jeanette Whittaker

By its very nature and construction, poetry lends itself to the heart and memory of the individual. Teaching students to analyze its form cultivates observation skills. Introducing the classic poets causes the student to reflect upon worthy ideals. Reading humorous poetry offers enjoyment and variety to everyday schedules. Memorizing poetry can be accomplished simply by following specific steps, and allows the students to recall highlights of this study long afterward.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods Teacher Guide Syllabus: A Chronicle of Pioneer Life and American Christian Character By Rosalie J. Slater

This teacher guide prepares you to teach Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder to young students. It was developed by Rosalie Slater using the notebook method to present a literary study of the book and the author, with a background study of the Christian principles and leading ideas exemplified in the history of the American expansion.

CD – The Life and Contributions of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jeanette Whittaker

The remarkable life of Laura Ingalls Wilder spanned an extraordinary period of American history. As the nation expanded across the western frontier, Laura witnessed the development of inventions that replaced horse-powered machinery, steam engines, and kerosene lighting with the convenience of gas-powered farm equipment, automobiles, electric lighting, and even travel by airplane.  Recognizing the significance of her family’s place in history, she narrated for children the sacrifices, joys, and accomplishments of the stalwart pioneers who opened the western frontier.

This workshop commemorates the 50th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s death and will present biographical information, insight into Laura’s life, character, and beliefs, as well as highlight her career as a writer and beloved children’s author.

Little House in the Big Woods 

By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack.

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Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams – Teacher Guide Syllabus: Patriotic Women in the American Revolution
By Rosalie Slater

This teacher guide prepares you to teach the person of Abigail Adams. It was developed by Rosalie Slater using the notebook method to present a literary study of the book and the author, with a background study of the Christian principles and leading ideas.

CD – Home Influences for Character and Patriotism
Lynn Meier

Writing about the Christian home, Rev. S. Phillips stated, “It forms the citizen, lays the foundation for civil and political character, prepares the social element and taste, and determines our national prosperity or adversity. We owe to the family, therefore, what we are as a nation as well as individuals…It is on the family altar that the fire of patriotism is first kindled, and often, too, by a mother’s hand.” This truth, recorded by Rev. Phillips almost one hundred fifty years ago, is seen in the life of Abigail Adams, a true American patriot.

The life of Abigail Adams provides an example of American Christian character – Christian love, bravery, diligence, faith, and steadfastness. Her position as wife of an American president and the mother of another gave her a unique position in America’s history. The many letters which Abigail wrote to other women and to her husband reveal her intense patriotism, love of liberty, and commitment to her family. This workshop examines the influences which helped form Abigail’s character and the contributions she made to the lives of her children and her nation.

Abigail Adams: First Lady of Faith & Courage
By Evelyn Witter

The personal faith of America’s second First Lady kept her strong in a young war-torn country.

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Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin

Benjamin West Teacher Guide Syllabus: William Penn & the Colony of Religious Toleration
By Rosalie J. Slater

This teacher guide prepares you to teach Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by  Marguerite Henry to young students. It was developed by Rosalie Slater using the notebook method to present a literary study of the book and the author, with a background study of the Christian principles and leading ideas exemplified in the history of the American Christian founding.

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry | isbn: 978-1481403948

Benjamin West and His Cat GrimalkinBenjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin

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Charles Dickens

Audio Download – Introducing Children to a Master Writer-Charles Dickens

Jeanette Whittaker

Hear a brief biographical survey of Charles Dickens’ writing career. Listen to the recollections of Kate Douglas Wiggins’ childhood meeting with Dickens. Find works he wrote specifically for children, and find ways to discern the unique writing style of a masterful English storyteller.
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Additional Teaching Resources

DVD – Developing and Teaching a Literary Classic 
Jeanette Whittaker 

The American Christian literature course is designed to build a love and appreciation for reading complete works of literature, cause the students to deepen their reasoning skills, encourage imagination, and cultivate good writing skills. These goals are accomplished by effectively presenting the background of the book and the author and emphasizing the literary elements–setting, characterization, plot, theme, and style. Specific direction will be given for class notes and daily work from a variety of classics, for various grade levels.

CD – Developing and Teaching a Literary Classic 
Jeanette Whittaker

Hear an Audio Clip

The American Christian literature course is designed to build a love and appreciation for reading complete works of literature, cause the students to deepen their reasoning skills, encourage imagination, and cultivate good writing skills. These goals are accomplished by effectively presenting the background of the book and the author and emphasizing the literary elements–setting, characterization, plot, theme, and style. Specific direction will be given for class notes and daily work from a variety of classics, for various grade levels.

CD – Presenting Leading Ideas in Daily Lessons
Ruth Smith

Are the daily lesson plans of your classroom governed by easy-to-be-forgotten facts and information, or by the more enduring ideas and principles of the subject? American Christian educators must choose to avoid the pitfalls of an educational philosophy which leads to dependence and uniformity by consciously striving to inculcate upon the hearts and minds of the student that which produces the independent, self-governing character to support liberty in a republic. Information-gathering questions must be replaced with class work which promotes observation, reasoning, and consequently, the appropriate conclusions, thus understanding the “why” of the subject. This superior approach to teaching prepares young people for future leadership in their homes, churches, and communities.

CD – The Literature of Liberty

Jeanette Whittaker

The yearning for liberty, planted in the soul of man by God Himself, has been expressed by writers from many nations, over centuries of time. As the handmaid of history, literature reflects men’s struggles to achieve liberty, and gives opportunity to plant a love and appreciation for  liberty in the hearts of children and youth. This workshop will present great classics and suggest opportunities for their study and enjoyment in the classroom and home.

CD – Cultivating a Heart for Learning
Jeanette Whittaker

American Christian parents and teachers endeavor to instill in the hearts of children and youth a lifelong love for learning. How does this love for learning relate to the philosophy and methodology of the Principle Approach? Suggestions are given for the daily teaching of academic subjects and examples of subject-related special events and celebrations.

CD Treasuring the Literature Classics
Jeanette Whittaker

Miss Rosalie Slater inspired American Christian educators to impart to children and youth an appreciation for high ideals through the study of classic literature. Using examples from both elementary and secondary literature, this session will demonstrate practical ways to analyze books, draw out the literary elements in a variety of ways, incorporate writing, and lead students to grasp the lessons of literature in an enjoyable fashion.

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