Gary DeMar's American Vision is a Reformed ministry helping Christians develop a worldview to stand against secularism. With that in mind, To Pledge Allegiance is a series of American history books focusing on God's providential direction of our nation's history in its early years. DeMar spearheaded the effort, co-writing each volume with one or more Reformed authors (including Fred Douglas Young, George Grant, and others). The three volumes (contained on a single CD-ROM) cover early European exploration to the end of the American War for Independence.
Each title features a timeline across the top of every page marking important events. Frequent insets provide interesting asides related to the cultural era and its key figures. Plenty of colorful pictures (mostly period woodcuts, maps and portraits) illuminate the text. Discussion questions and suggestions for extra research and activities wrap up each chapter.
The CD also contains answers to discussion questions and test blanks to be printed for students. There isn't a lot of teacher support beyond that (a few limited notes on the disc), though the text itself is pretty self-explanatory. While the questions can be answered essay-style, a better option for many is to simply discuss them as a family.
Designed for use starting in 6th grade, the content and nature of the discussion questions might make this a more suitable series for junior high and high schoolers. At the same time, the engaging text and illustrations will certainly appeal to younger kids, and you could have them read the chapters without answering the questions.
This is a very Christian American history course. Emphasis is placed on our nation's Christian roots, and many of the figures are discussed in terms of their faith or lack thereof. While there is plenty of straight fact, there's also plenty of interpretation, though not your typical revisionist "all the Founding Fathers were dedicated Christians" rhetoric.
Christian and secular history is fairly balanced, and kids will get a good handle on the basics. This is a good series for discussion; as it doesn't aim at objectivity it may take more effort than usual to keep your kids thinking clearly and on their own (though they also won't be confronted with humanist ideologies non-stop). Since the series only covers through the end of the Revolutionary War, you'll need to find another option for the next 220 years of United States history. To Pledge Allegiance is a very good introduction, however, and will probably leave your kids wanting to know more about their nation and its history.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviewshere.
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