Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free and Fabulous! American Heritage Education Foundation

Getting free material to review has certainly been a nice perk of being part of the TOS Review Crew! But I have some great news to share in this review...the product being discussed is free for you too! "Free" can be a realitive term, depending on the item. There are times that something is worth it, only because it is free, but that is not the case here. The American Heritage Education Foundation has put together such a fabulous (and--did I mention-- "FREE"?) CD to share with all educators everywhere, that I would have told you to run and get one even if there was a charge involved.

The American Heritage Education Foundation's mission statement is, "AHEF is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens." They certainly have done a tremendous job in preserving our "factual and philosophical" heritage and maintained---not glossed over or made more politically correct---the Christian, faith-based roots that have made our country great. The amazing part is that they have partnered with Houston Public Schools in developing this software to share with educators nation wide. If the schools in Houston are using this curriculum, there is hope for our citizens and nation yet! I am truly impressed with the wonderful wealth of truth and accuracy presented for grades K-12 on this one, terrific CD!

The CD loads easily on your computer, offering a full year of study (possibly more if you did everything suggested) for Elementary, Middle School and High School levels of study and also a Spanish Elementary version, in a PDF format. You can save it to your computer or just use the CD when you want to access the material. I believe you could go through it once at each level and still not grow weary of the wealth of information it has, although each level follows a similar time span and emphasis. This is a fully developed curriculum with text, questions, projects etc. Just print out what you need.

The curriculum is written with intended classroom use so many of the projects are written with a larger group in mind. However, as most homeschoolers have figured out, you can tailor most suggestions to work within the size of your family.

Emphasizing the character traits of Freedom, Unity, Progress and Responsibility (of a nation collectively and citizens individually), the curriculum begins with a discussion on forms of government worldwide (old and new) and even delves into the first representative form of governement that is a basis for our own: the Israelites in the desert, under Moses, dividing into groups and subgroups that were represented by individuals within each group.

There is a Forward that is titled, "The Miracle of America, A Revolutionary Idea." Here is an excerpt: "In only a little more than 200 years, our ancestors transformed this country from a wilderness into a great nation. This nation demonstrates what can be accomplished by free people who create a government limited to serving the people rather than being their master.The moral and ethical basis of good conduct was derived from the faith that built America.That faith grew from the common belief that each individual is endowed with basic rights and responsibilities by our Creator. That is the foundation of our democratic republic expressed in the Declaration of Independence." The whole tone of this curriculum is unapologetically patriotic. How refreshing!

The curriculum, even at the elementary level, delves into the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the men behind it, the reasons for certain inclusions of rights and more. What is a free market and why does it make our country thrive? What is honor and responsibility as citizens? There is also ample descriptions of the Founding Fathers as well as all of the documents that are the backbone of our country. Furthermore, there is indepth explanations of our National Anthem, our Flag, our official Seal, the symbols on our money and more. Well written and straightforward, you will find this curriculum invaluable for citizenship as well as American History. I cannot say enough about how beautifully written this program is!

So! Enough talk! I know you are just dying to get your hands on your own American Heritage Education Foundation CD, right? How can you do this? By clicking this link, here. Though the CD is free (the info contained is valued at $150), if you prefer your own hard copy of the curriculum, you can also order that via the website for a price of $19.50 per grade level.

I know you will enjoy this wonderful resource. Please feel free to pass this info on and share the blessing of this free and fabulous curriculum with others!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.