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The Miracle of America: The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief Review by Brandy BrockhausenAngela E. Kamrath
American Heritage Education Foundation
3100 Weslayan, Suite 375
Houston, Texas 77027
The Miracle of America is a high school course dedicated to showing the connections between America’s founding principles and Biblical ideas. It argues many American ideals are rooted in Christianity and traces the roots of those ideals all the way back to the start of the country. The program consists of a textbook and teacher’s guide. The cost of the textbook ranges from $30-$45 dollars, depending on whether you want a hardback or soft cover book and the teacher’s guide costs $55. Student activities and reviews are included in the textbook however there are no answer keys for the questions. You could simply use the textbook if you wanted to, but the teacher’s guide includes additional research, printed charts, lists of vocabulary words, points of discussion for you to use with your child, goals and objectives, and additional suggestions for activities for each chapter.
This is definitely an upper-level course aimed at high school students. It would be appropriate for a study of American history, or you could use it as a supplement to an American history curriculum, pulling out the portions that apply to what you are already studying. It is written like a high school textbook and includes charts but no pictures. Visually, there is a lot of text on each page, with the chapters broken down into sections. The teacher’s guide is in a 3-ring binder with tabs for each chapter. The activities include different forms of notetaking and class discussions, so you could easily do this course in a co-op setting. As you go through the lesson, the reading is broken down into sections, with activities and discussion for each one. I think this program would work best for highly motivated, self-directed students, as there is a lot of reading and writing. If you wanted to modify it for visual learners, you would need to use some of the suggested resources in the teacher’s guide to create power-point presentations and other visual aids. You could also read the chapters yourself and teach the course in more of a lecture format, using the textbook as a resource.
I was really impressed with the scope of the content in The Miracle of America. It goes into topics so deeply and really connects Biblical principles with the founding principles of this country. After completing this course, I feel like a high school student would have a thorough understanding of American history itself, and also a good foundation for recognizing the influence of God in the history of America. I think the teacher’s guide is an excellent complement to the course as well. I visited many of the websites in the suggested resources in each chapter to prepare for discussions with my son. I also like having the printed charts available for my son to use as he takes notes. The note-taking aspect is another part of this course I really like. I remember learning to take notes in my social studies class in high school. Our teacher felt that having effective note-taking skills was essential to our success in her class and beyond, and she was correct. The Miracle of America employs many different note-taking strategies that your child can apply to other classes, and being able to take good notes is important in college too.
My son enjoyed this course very much. As a family, we love history anyway, and realizing the connections between Christian beliefs and America’s history was exciting for him. My husband also enjoyed participating in our discussions. I think this course works best if you can have more than two people involved in the discussion anyway, so if you can get other children or your spouse to join in, it will be a benefit. I am very excited about continuing this study this year because I believe that understanding this country’s history is a key part of becoming a solid citizen who is prepared to take ownership of America and participate fully in government processes. The only drawback I see to this program is that it does not include an answer key for the review questions in the textbook. In high school, I like to grade my children’s work, and I counted the reviews as quizzes, but it was time-consuming to go back and find the answer to each question. I like things to be as simple as possible. However, I feel like this is a great course overall and I would definitely recommend it as an American history study.
-Product review by Brandy Brockhausen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016