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Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journal: The Reformation Age (1350 – 1648 AD) Review by Christy Schaefer

Danika Cooley
Thinking Kids Press
PO Box 2084
Beaverton, OR 97075

Finding ways to keep middle school and high school students engaged in their history lessons without creating busy work can be time consuming, not to mention down right difficult. The process of notebooking allows students to narrate what they have learned along with providing their own analysis of the subject. While this is a fantastic method for many students, it is often not structured enough for those who need a little more guidance in their writing topics.

Danika Cooley has created as series of church history research journals that provide structured notebooking pages. Specifically, we looked at the Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journal: The Reformation Age (1350-1648 AD). This fantastic 294 page journal is available as a digital PDF download, which allows you to print only the sections you decide to use or the entire book if desired.

The journal starts with a brief introduction to the Reformation to set the stage. Next come landscape oriented timeline pages in five year increments from the year 1350 to 1625 with hash marks for each year, making this an easy to use timeline. There is plenty of space above and below the line markings for drawings or detailed information.  Throughout the entire journal you will find both color and black and white graphics of period art to help give the pages a feel for the time being studied.

Next comes a set of terms and concepts pages, where the student needs to complete the definitions. This is such an important aspect to studying the Reformation era, since many of the terms of importance are often unfamiliar in our modern world. 

The journal is then divided into three sections, one for each era related to the Reformation: Rumblings of a Revolution, Reformation Arrives, and Aftermath of the Reformation. Each of these sections contains notebooking pages to complete on just about every possible church history related topic. Religious leaders, out-spoken members of the public, political leaders, and important historical figures all have biography pages which include spaces for general information along with notes on how they impacted the future, the students’ own thoughts, and even some geography / map spaces.

Historical events such as wars, the plague, and the Spanish Inquisition, along with ethnic groups and ideological groups all have their own notebooking pages in the appropriate time period.  These pages do much more than ask the student to regurgitate information they might have read, but to analyze how these people or events helped lead to the Reformation and its aftermath.

Reading material on the Reformation is not provided in this notebooking journal, however if you have difficulty finding appropriate resources for your student there is a recommended reading list of both church history and Reformation period history sources to use. Of course, the students may locate their own information sources as well. The notebooking pages do not require information from specific books, but instead encourage independent research skills.

This Cobblestone Reformation research journal is a thorough means to study not only the church history of the time period, but as so much of Western history is tied to the church, it can provide a basis for an entire year of history study. The journal can also be used to supplement your current history program by selecting specific topics or people to be researched. Both methods encourage more independent learning and ask the student to see the far reaching effects of a seemingly small event.

My early high school daughter chose to use the Reformation period Cobblestone Church History Journal to understand a little more about the catalysts of the Reformation. We were not currently studying medieval history, but felt we had glossed over the church history portions of the Reformation period and could stand to do with a bit more study. We opted to print out the sections on the Augsburg Confessions, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, The Ninety-Five Theses, and Martin Luther.  Being Lutherans ourselves, I expected my daughter to know a great deal more of the historical details surrounding the Reformation than she did.

My daughter was able to use our existing history resources at home to complete all of the pages assigned, and worked completely independently. The end result was a much more thorough understanding of the Reformation than she had gained from our history curriculum alone, plus she was able to competently discuss the factors which lead to this momentous event in church history.

Available for only $20.00, the Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journal: The Reformation Age (1350 – 1648 AD) is an easy to use course in church history that doubles as a valuable supplement to any middle school or high school history course.

-Product review by Christy Schaefer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016