The Reformation


Part of teaching Renaissance history is learning about the Reformation. My husband and I listened to some Reformation sermons years ago before the kids were born, and we bought a set of six tapes. Yes, the church sold cassettes 15 years ago, even though no one uses them today. When we arrived at this point in history in our homeschooling, I whipped out the cassettes for my children to listen to. Only one of them got swallowed up in the cassette player and had to be thrown in the trash. It must have been the hundreds of sermons my children listened to back when we were at a family-integrated church, but my kids actually learned by listening to the Reformation sermons. They commented and wanted to discuss different issues, and they enjoyed the Gregorian chants.

For some reason, I didn’t feel like we had adequately covered the Reformation, so I was still looking for more materials about this event in history. While at a used curriculum sale, I found a boxed video curriculum of six half-hour programs on different major characters from the Reformation. This “Reformation Overview” came with a booklet with teacher’s notes and discussion questions. I forced myself to read all the teacher stuff so that I could accurately discuss the videos with my kids, but I did not use the discussion questions. We enjoyed the video, and I often paused the video to explain something like “indulgences.”

Before I put the first video in, my 8-year-old son asked, “Is this going to be boring?” I said, “I have no idea if it’s boring or not, but I want you to pay attention to it anyway.” Thankfully, the videos were actually interesting and moved at a good pace. They did not drag on or feel musty or like you had to force yourself to watch it. No, they were good. I never learned so much about the Reformation until I went through this program with my kids. The series includes John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Anabaptists, and William Tyndale. It was actually enjoyable.

Since I only paid $5, I have no idea where normal people would buy it, so you can do your own search for “Reformation Overview.” I don’t care if you buy it or not, but I know someone will ask me who produces it. It’s Christian History Institute. Now that I think about it, this would be a good purchase for a larger homeschool group, who could get together for discussions. The discussion questions are really for high school students or adults, so it should be more free-form if you are teaching it to elementary kids. And you could have a Reformation Day at the end of a six-week study where everyone dresses up like Reformation people. Only make sure to tell the kids not to be nailing things into doors without permission…

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