Monday, July 22, 2013

Studying the Reformation

I've mentioned a number of times on this blog that I love history, and thankfully my kids have adopted my love for history too.

I've also mentioned before that my favorite part of homeschooling is reading to my kids, and thankfully they enjoy it just as much as I do.

So when we got to one of my favorite periods in history, the Reformation, we went a little crazy.

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We actually are still working on the list -- we still have the bottom three books to read, but with ballet performances, travel schedules, and the general lack of structure to our summer days, we haven't made too much time for reading together lately.  But it's still quite the stack of books we tackled. We started our Reformation studies in March or April and just stayed there for a couple months. Then we finished out the rest of The Story of the World 2 while continuing to read our Reformation books.

We happen to go to a Reformed church, so I might spend more time on the topic than others would, but I do think it's important for all Christians to be familiar with this period in history. We need to understand what it was like to not have immediate access to God's Word and why people were willing to risk their lives for that opportunity. We need to understand that the Church is made of sinners and therefore the need to be vigilant about upholding the truth of the gospel will never go away. We need to understand what sacrifice really looks like by hearing the stories of those who faced great persecution. 

That is why we devoted so much time to this period of history. And it has certainly been worth it. What a treasure these stories have been!

Here is a list of the chapter books we've read (and are still reading):

The Beggar's Bible, Vernon (John Wycliffe)
The Man Who Layed the Egg, Vernon (Erasmus) - this is the only book we didn't enjoy as much
Luther the Leader, Robinson
The Carpenter of Zerbst, de Zeeuw (Luther)
The River of Grace, McPherson (John Calvin)
The Bible Smuggler, Vernon (William Tyndale)
Ink on His Fingers, Vernon (Gutenberg press)
The King's Book, Vernon (King James Bible)
My Escape from the Auto De Fe, Timms (Spanish Inquisition)
Three Men Came to Heidelberg and Glorious Herritic, Van Halsema (The Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession; two books in one)
William of Orange: The Silent Prince, Van de Hulst
When the Morning Came, Prins (Holland)
Dispelling the Tyranny, Prins
The Beggar's Victory, Prins
For the Heart of Holland, Prins
Huguenot Garden, Jones (France)
The Escape, Van der Jagt (Huguenots)
The Secret Mission, Van der Jagt

I'm not providing links for these titles, because I can't decide who to link to! My main sources for finding these books are Veritas Press, Rainbow Resource, and Inheritance Publications (which has been a vendor at my local homeschool convention the last couple of years), although some of the titles can be found on Amazon as well. I'm grateful especially to VP and Inheritance for their dedication to helping others understand Reformation history. I'll let you decide who to support! If you do go the Amazon route though you can find a few of the titles through the BHA Amazon store, which helps support our book addiction. : )

Picture books on the Reformation are a little harder to find, but we have a few in our personal library. (These are affiliate links.)

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We also have The Church History ABC's (Nichols) which is not limited to the Reformation. I've flipped through Reformation Heroes (Kleyn) several times and it is lovely, but I felt the books we already owned covered the same information.

Finally, to complete our Reformation studies I had the kids memorize some basic facts. I recorded their recitation on the last day of school. For whatever reason it was hard to get them reciting at the same time for this unless they spoke very slowly, so I apologize in advance if it seems to drag a little. : )

Of course, that's not all we read for history this year! The first time we went through Story of the World 2, I made a list of all the books we used and even rated each book. I'm so glad I took the time to do that because it made planning for this year so easy -- we mostly chose books from that list that earned 4 stars or higher and then added some new books.

In my next post I'll tell you how we manage to find time to read all these books!


  1. love it! Although it's been several years since we read through these same books (you have a few in there we didn't read), they have stuck with us. Makes us very thankful for the freedom we have to read the Bible whenever and where ever...even on our phones now. Great job on the memory work, Ryne and Grace! : )

  2. I'm so glad you post about your books. It's one of the most helpful parts of your blog. We have read some of the titles you listed, but I am marking this in my faves so I can look at your list again next year when Brian will study the Reformation again. I agree... such an important study! :)