Friday, February 7, 2014

Pennsylvania History Class

Recently, I had the privilege to teach homeschooled children my favorite subject—Pennsylvania history!

We started with a learning web to see what they already know.
I explained how to draw a line from each circle and add a piece of information. They began to spout ideas! I love this class. The web that day included animals so that circle grew many more circles—bear, deer, grouse, and I told them what a fisher was. Transportation came easy—cars, trains, and planes. One knew about the coal industry. Major cities included Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg. Right on, kiddos!

Then came major events. “The Battle of Gettysburg,” cried out one.

“Yes, that’s a good one.”

They couldn’t think of any more major events. Then my brain started scrambling. I thought first of the Three Mile Island incident, but I’ve tried to explain that one before to a group of children. Difficult! Then the Johnstown Flood popped into my brain. “Did you ever hear of the Johnstown Flood?”

Silence.

“Lots of people died in Pennsylvania when a dam broke. More than one town was flooded.”

“But I thought God said there wasn’t going to be any more floods!”

My teen helper stepped in. “He said no more world-wide floods. Johnstown wasn’t world-wide.”

“Can you think of anymore major events?” I asked.

“How about Noah’s Flood?”

I stopped for a minute to consider this. I don’t usually teach the Great Flood as part of my Pennsylvania curriculum, but it did happen here.

“Yes, it would have been in Pennsylvania, but you have to realize that Noah’s Flood wasn’t what you often see pictured, the cute little boat with toy animals. It was a terrible thing.”

They got thoughtful looks on their faces, and we moved on to filling in other areas of the web.

That afternoon, while I pondered the teaching session, I thought about the Great Flood again. Yes, it happened here, and because it was worldwide, the area that eventually became Pennsylvania would have been covered. That made me think about all those people perishing back then which led me to think about how many are spiritually perishing today.

Many people perished. Is today any different? 

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