The Foundation for American Christian Education
When the United States was founded, she stood on the shoulders of centuries of devoted, brave yet ordinary men and women who loved the God of the Bible and understood how to nurture one of His greatest conditional blessings to mankind, liberty. The peace, security, prosperity, integrity and freedom that has longtime been the hallmark of the United States are all results of her distinctively Christian roots.
This simple yet profound truth was rediscovered by Verna Marie Hall
. During the 1930’s, Miss Hall had been working in Roosevelt’s WPA (Works Progress Administration) distributing benefits in San Francisco: initially a great believer in government entitlements, she witnessed the effect that these programs had on those who received them. The longer an individual received government assistance, the more he adopted a subservient, helpless mindset. Once the transformation was complete, he was unlikely to return to productive independence—Miss Hall realized that the very programs developed to aid the poor were, in fact, enslaving them.
Miss Hall began to research America’s history, and she saw a great chasm between the encroaching socialism of her day and the staunch independence and self-government of America’s early Christian settlers. She found America’s Christian history documented in hundreds of founding charters and state papers, in the personal writings of the early settlers and our founding fathers; she understood that the distinctive American Christian character, the foundation of our liberty and identity as a people, was being threatened. Miss Hall undertook the great charge to remind America of her Christian history in order to motivate Americans to shore up the foundations of liberty, to restore Christian character in the individual. By the 1950’s, Miss Hall was sharing her research in Christian History Study Groups in San Francisco attended by hundreds of ordinary, liberty-loving citizens. She compiled a book of primary sources, entitled The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States: Christian Self-Government, Vol. I
, that documented the history of self-government, its relationship to liberty and its essential role in the crafting of the United States Constitution. She dedicated her book in the following manner:
This volume and those to follow are dedicated to
the Christian principle upon which this nation is founded,
and to each American of this and succeeding generations,
that he may remember his Christian heritage and live so as to
raise the standard of his Pilgrim and Puritan fathers into its
larger and fuller expression of individual liberty.
This book, first published in 1960, opened the eyes of many Americans.One such American was Rosalie June Slater, a teacher who had come to her own understanding of the value of Christian self-government studying the contrasting educational system of the USSR. Miss Slater, passionately convicted that the key to preserving America’s future liberty lay in education, wrote a curriculum for teaching Miss Hall’s book. In her own words, "A nation which is humble enough to begin with its children in the constructing of its foundations for liberty may once again have the opportunity to lead nations to Christ.” Together, Miss Hall and Miss Slater established the Foundation for American Christian Education in 1965 to form Christian character in children and published Teaching and Learning America's Christian History: The Principle Approach®.Teaching and Learning was a momentous book in its own right: Miss Slater drew from The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States seven core principles essential in teaching America’s Christian history to children. She also rediscovered America’s historic method of education, which she called the Principle Approach. This unique philosophy and method encourages the formation of character in the hearts of students; it teaches children to reason from a Biblical perspective and results in academic excellence. In 1968, Miss Hall and Miss Slater began reprinting the first edition of the first American dictionary, Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. They were delighted to discover such a treasure—the eloquence, precision, and clear influence of the Bible (Webster’s 1828 often listed Scripture references in the definitions of Biblical words and concepts) is striking. Long overlooked as countless revisions in contemporary dictionaries over the years had introduced substantial derivation from the original meanings of many definitions, they determined to print the 1828 as a facsimile, an exact replica of Webster’s first edition, in order to demonstrate its faithfulness to the original. A comparison of the 1828 to the dictionaries of the day revealed a disturbing shift in the worldview undergirding the definitions, and Miss Hall and Miss Slater were concerned that the words of our founding documents would lose their original meaning in the minds of contemporary citizens, and thereby lead to the erosion of our liberty. In order to protect the unique freedoms enshrined in America’s founding documents in the years to come, our children—the key to our future—must fully understand the original intent and ideals of America’s founders.Together, Miss Hall and Miss Slater spoke, taught, and mentored countless teachers, school administrators, homeschool families and individuals. After Miss Hall’s passing in 1987, Miss Slater continued to lead the Foundation, eventually moving the Foundation’s headquarters from San Francisco to Chesapeake, Virginia; Miss Slater passed away on February 17, 2006.
The Foundation Today
Today, the Foundation continues its work from its headquarters in Chesapeake, Virginia under the headship of its second president, Dr. Carole Adams. Dr. Adams with her husband, John, founded StoneBridge School in 1980, which is now the national demonstration school for the Principle Approach. She was one of the many who was inspired and mentored by Miss Hall and Miss Slater, and a treasured friend of Miss Slater in her later years. Dr. Adams is the senior editor of The Noah Plan®, the Foundation’s Principle Approach curriculum that places the Bible at the heart of every subject.The Foundation carries out the intentions of the founding ladies by reminding America of her Christian history through compilations of primary sources, and invests in the future of liberty by publishing curriculum for teaching America’s Christian history to children. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is still in print, and it remains the only Webster dictionary still being published as a complete, original facsimile, without any abridgement or revision; now, it is available on CD as well.In addition to Miss Hall’s first book (The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States: Christian Self-Government, Vol. I) several other foundational books have been published to fulfill her original mission to publish and teach America’s Christian history (The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government with Union, Vol. II, The Christian History of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder, The Bible and the Constitution of the United States of America, George Washington: The Character and Influence of One Man).Pursuing Miss Slater’s vision for the education of children in America’s Christian history using the methodology that produced the character and academic excellence of America’s founding generation (the Principle Approach), a line of K–12 curriculum has been developed: The Noah Plan. Hundreds of Principle Approach schools have been established, and graduates demonstrate an extraordinary academic excellence and a solidly Biblical worldview that far outshine those of public schools and private schools (both secular and Christian).The Foundation reaches out to families and home educators; trains teachers, school planters, and administrators; and instructs and inspires individuals (students, parents, pastors, statesmen, lawyers, and other lovers of liberty) through books and publications, conferences, courses and lectures. The Foundation is seeking to open the Hall-Slater Christian History Library as a resource to students of America’s Christian history as they continue to uphold the integrity of Christian scholarship and tell the story of the Biblical grounding of America.
The Foundation is committed to continuing to fulfill the mission of the founders, Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater
, into the future. The need is great, immediate, and enduring—the remedy must be as well. God has called the United States in a particular, specific way to reach and bless the world, to preserve and spread liberty as the means to preserve and spread the Gospel. In order to answer this call, America—led by individuals faithfully joining together in obedience—must preserve the Christian character that made her great. We must each, in our own spheres of influence and daily life, seek to most fully love, trust, and obey God, and in so doing, reestablish America as a "city on a hill,” a light to the nations. In addition to being faithful ourselves, we must teach our children to be faithful—giving them every possible tool to fortify, instruct, and embolden them—for liberty will last only as long as those who love it live.