The Noah Plan ® was developed over many years and is based upon the use of foundational books from F.A.C.E. that document America’s Christian history and teach the American Biblical-Classical approach to education, the Principle Approach ®. This approach has been developed by drawing upon the classical form of education used in the United States in the times of our Founding Fathers as well as upon methods used in Scripture. The Principle Approach includes a religious/historical philosophy based on the idea that there is a geographical and chronological “Chain of Christianity ®”, defined as “God’s use of individual men and nations to move the Gospel westward and to effect internal liberty in the civil sphere.” It holds the view that America is a Christian nation in that it is established on biblical principles in its governmental form. From these historical and biblical premises, the Principle Approach derives seven vital principles. As the F.A.C.E. website explains, these principles “are fundamental to American liberty…” The Principle Approach philosophy presupposes that the upholding of these seven principles is the means to preserve America’s Christian birthright of liberty and form Christian character in children today.
The Noah Plan follows a challenging scope and sequence incorporating foreign language instruction throughout all grade levels; research papers in the elementary grades; and other high-level, challenging, academic goals. Throughout all levels, students are developing a biblical Christian worldview.
In all subjects, students create their own notebooks as they “4-R” each subject: research, reason, relate and record. The Noah Plan uses many “real books” with a great deal of writing and discussion rather than traditional workbooks. Parents/teachers lead the educational process and must do quite a bit of preparation and reading to properly teach with this method. Because of this, parents or teachers need to prepare by using either the The Noah Plan Self-Directed Study in the Principle Approach (available as a book with CD’s or as a downloadable e-book) or The Noah Plan Academy, a more extensive training course on DVD. Home educators would also benefit from the booklet The Noah Plan Homeschool Companion written by experienced home educators who share practical helps for implementing the program at home.
A number of other resources are essential for teaching the Noah Plan. These include the American Dictionary of the English Language, The Christian History of the Constitution (Volumes I and II), Teaching and Learning American’s Christian History, The Christian History of the American Revolution, Study Guide to the Christian History of the Constitution, The Family and the Nation: Biblical Childhood, The Bible and the Constitution, The Value of the Bible and Excellence of the Christian Religion, the Providential History Teacher Guide, and the King James Bible. Most of these items plus the Self-Directed Study are available as a digital library, The Christian History Library in Libronix™, that you can use on your computer. In addition to these foundational books, you will need the six Noah Plan Curriculum Guides that provide an overview of principles and teaching methods for History and Geography, English Language, Literature, Reading, Mathematics, and Art. The Noah Plan Biblical Foundations of Natural History (Science Guide) will be available soon in a download format.
Since all the resources I have mentioned thus far are for all levels, you also need the lesson plans for whatever grade level(s) you plan to teach. For grades K through 3 these are available as spiral-bound books called The Noah Plan Lessons for each of those grades. For grades 4 through 12, it is The Noah Plan Program Overviews for each grade level on CD-ROM. If you are teaching more than one child, you should consider using the same level of Noah Plan Lessons or Program Overviews for two or more children so you can consolidate your teaching for Bible, History, Literature, and Science. You will still need to adapt Math and English to each student’s skill level.
The lesson plan books or overviews provide details regarding other resources needed for each level. This might include teaching resources published by other companies such as RightStart Math, The Writing Road to Reading, and How to Teach Spelling. (RightStart Math and The Writing Road to Reading are used for grades K through 4 in the Noah Plan.) Newspapers, maps, craft or experiment materials, microscope, pictures of cells, etc. are also listed as resources for specific subjects and units of study. Reproducible grading and report card forms are also included. Weekly lesson plans are presented in chart form in the K through 3rd Lesson Books. There is quite a bit of detail, often referring to the Noah Plan Curriculum Guides or other resources for further information. Lesson plans are divided into subject areas for teaching as you would in traditional schools as individual class periods. However, there are elements of unit study with connections between history, literature, geography, and the fine arts within the lesson plans. Note that even math is taught from a biblical worldview, so while the program incorporates RightStart Math in the early grades, it includes lesson plans that apply the Principle Approach methodology to that program, studying the vocabulary of mathematics and investigating how the basic principles are revealed in mathematics.
The Noah Plan highly recommends fluency in foreign languages, so it directs parents/teachers to teach French beginning in kindergarten Latin beginning in middle school, and an additional language in high school. While there are no lesson plans or instructions for teaching foreign languages, F.A.C.E. does publish Mes Premiers Pas de Francais.
Likewise the Fine Arts are to be taught every year, but they are not included in the lesson plans. However, F.A.C.E.’s The StoneBridge Art Guide should be used as your primary teaching resource for teaching the arts.
As I mentioned previously, real books are used in the Noah Plan. F.A.C.E. has created their own study guides for many of the novels to be studied. These guides teach the seven principles of the Principle Approach where applicable. For example, the story of Pinocchio teaches the principle that “Conscience is the most sacred property.” The study guides often serve as mini-unit studies as they incorporate geography, cultural studies, religion, composition, vocabulary, and other subject areas into the study of literature. The guides refer to the other “core” books listed above such as The Christian History of the Constitution, so they would be difficult to use apart from those resources. However, even if particular works of literature are used at a certain grade level, you could choose to use them at other levels since their individual guides provide detailed lesson plans for studying each novel. Some of these studies also have companion Student Notebook Packets that make it easier for students to create their notebook pages.
Brief reviews of some of the subject area guides follow.
The Noah Plan Reading Curriculum Guide by Martha Barnes Shirley is quite extensive in scope. It outlines a reading curriculum that recommends the Writing Road to Reading program and also uses the Bible for reading material. (Children’s versions of the Bible are used for the early grades.) It includes explanation of the rationale and organization of the curriculum; charts for each grade level showing purpose, objectives, scope and sequence, definitions, suggested teacher and student resources, and specific skills to be developed within sub-areas of reading (through eighth grade level, with a “Reading with Reason” enrichment course provided for high school); “Foundations for Teaching Reading”—teaching principles; extensive how-to-teach information; and an appendix of recommended resources, reading lists for children, and reproducible forms.
The Noah Plan English Language Curriculum Guide by Carole Goodman Adams outlines a complete language arts program aside from the reading instruction already covered in the Reading Curriculum Guide. Maintaining consistent methodology, language instruction also utilizes the Writing Road to Reading methods for handwriting and spelling. More extensive than most language programs, this Guide explains how to teach the foundations of English language, orthography (spelling/phonics, elocution, penmanship), syntax (sentence structure/grammar), composition (including various forms of public speaking), and prosody (understanding the forms of and writing poetry and prose). One-page charts outline what is to be covered within each area for each grade level K-12. The Guide offers a mix of background for teacher training and specific helps. I particularly like the presentation on diagramming and sentence patterns—one of the clearest I have seen. F.A.C.E. recently released a series called Classic Grammar (downloadable books) as a companion series to the Noah Plan English and Literature Curriculum Guides which further outlines a unified approach to teaching the components of English language and details the methodology using the literature pieces for each grade level.
The Noah Plan History and Geography Curriculum Guide by Elizabeth L. Youmans focuses heavily on the basic philosophy behind the Principle Approach. History has always been its strongest focal point within subject areas since the “Red Books” that first presented the ideas deal primarily with history. Curriculum charts for each grade level (K-12) for history are two pages each with a great deal of detail. Most teaching information is background for the teacher with strategies for using timelines, biographies, source documents, and activities. Developing a biblical Christian worldview is a dominant theme throughout the curriculum. About half the book explains how to teach geography with curriculum charts for grades K-8. A great deal of factual information and map masters are included. Detailed instructions show how to teach students to create accurate maps.
The Noah Plan Literature Curriculum Guide by Rosalie June Slater is similar to the Reading Curriculum Guide in format. It charts purposes, objectives, etc., although it focuses on content more than skills as is appropriate for the study of literature. It supplies some content coverage within the Guide. The Guide is very helpful, but it is uneven in the amount of information given from topic to topic. For example, extensive guidelines help us to teach Shakespeare while we are referred to other syllabi for teaching other classics.
The StoneBridge Art Guide by Wendy Giancoli and Elizabeth Youmans differs some from the Reading Curriculum Guide since it was developed for a once-a-week art class at StoneBridge School. Time limitations and the nature of art study demand a slightly different application of the 4R methodology (less notebook work being the most obvious). Homeschooling parents might choose to expand the lessons given more time. The Guide presents the rationale for an art curriculum built upon biblical principles of art. It then translates the ideas into application through a scope and sequence for grades K-8, sample lesson plans, background information for teaching, suggested projects, and timeline and illustrations showing how artists fit the model of Christianity’s westward movement. Articles at the end of the book provide additional background for the teacher on art plus the basics of the Principle Approach.
When home educators first started teaching the Principle Approach years ago, it was an overwhelming job since they had to create so much of it on their own. The Noah Plan has made the Principle Approach accessible to far more home educators as they have tested and refined their methods over the years, gleaned from those using it, and produced resources to make it much easier for parents and teachers to use. F.A.C.E. now also hosts an online community called the Principle Approach Commonwealth designed to deliver training and support for those using the Noah Plan and Principle Approach. The nine-session Philosophy and Methods of the Principle Approach: Foundations online teacher training course is featured as a member resource.