Program Goals of Elementary Heritage Studies
The BJU Press elementary heritage studies program helps students to understand and interact in God’s world. To do that, it shows them how they fit into God’s design. God created humans as individual and social beings. When people live and work together to develop culture in God-glorifying ways, honoring the institutions God has established, they fulfill His creational purpose for them. Students who have social studies skills and can evaluate their world from a biblical worldview are equipped to be lifelong learners who can propose solutions to the problems our society faces.
Developing Social Studies Skills
We have designed the elementary heritage studies program to introduce and develop in students key social studies skills as well as foundations in geography, economics, history, government, civics, and culture. Activities and skills sections in the student edition prepare students for learning these skills while lessons balance between each of the social studies areas.
The teacher editions include suggested discussion topics and activities that give students opportunities to practice collaboration and creativity. The student editions include numerous exercises that require students to observe and interact with information—they will need to organize information into chronological order and discern connections between events. Additionally, students will learn map-reading skills by interacting with graphic information in the form of charts, graphs, map illustrations, and diagrams. Teacher-directed discussions help students to make connections between the graphics and text.
Most importantly, every lesson in every grade focuses on developing student’s ability to read for understanding. Literacy skills and familiarity with reading informational texts are vital for studies in all disciplines, so our teacher and student editions focus on reading comprehension skills and include comprehension strategies.
Evaluating Problems from a Biblical Worldview
Our elementary heritage studies program develops students’ critical-thinking skills by encouraging them to evaluate sources, cultures, and events from a biblical worldview. Students need to develop a knowledge of our society’s past and understand the values that have shaped our nation’s story in order to make wise decisions about the values they will hold in the future. The student editions will help them understand the institutions that God has created that make up our culture. God has designed marriage, family, government, industry, economics, and the church to serve specific purposes. He has also designed the earth itself to serve specific purposes. Not only will it help them understand those institutions, our planet, and our history, it will also help them to recognize and critique secular representations. By studying culture and society from a biblical worldview, students learn to evaluate the effects of the Fall on their culture. They also learn to live in their world as God intended.
Activities will highlight founding documents, giving them an opportunity to evaluate the principles that our nation was founded on. These resources help the teacher to dig deeper than the dates and facts of history and social studies. History chapters in the student editions help students to understand that history isn’t just a random and meaningless series of events. As they evaluate historical events according to biblical standards, they will be able to clearly see how the Fall still impacts the course of human history.
Proposing Solutions from a Biblical Worldview
The BJU Press heritage studies program also introduces students to real-world social studies issues that they will encounter throughout their lives. As they develop a strong biblical worldview foundation of the social studies, they will be able to propose God-honoring solutions to those issues. In the student editions, students will be encouraged to relate humanity’s use of the environment to the Creation Mandate, and to propose ways to use the earth for the benefit of people wisely and appropriately. In economics, government, civics, and culture, they will be introduced to the biblical basis for hard work, the role of governments, our role as citizens, and the development of culture. These bases will help them come to effective solutions to social issues.
Becoming Lifelong Learners
Through captivating text, illustrations, activities, and extras, we strive to cultivate a lifelong interest in history, geography, citizenship, government, economics, and culture. Students who are informed and aware about not only their current society, but also the history of their society are better able to recognize the struggles it has gone through to gain freedom and equality. They will also know the importance of individual responsibility in gaining these things.