Two of my favorite topics to study are history and religion. So when I was presented with the opportunity to review the Association of Religion Data Archives (ADRA) website, I said, “Yes, please!” As always when I do reviews, I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive perspective.
Okay, I am going to say right up front I am going to gush a tiny bit about this website. It’s SO COOL. This is like the promised land for kids (and adults) who love to study history and religion or kids who need a highly-visual, interactive experience to learn best.
One note: This is a website focused on history and religion. It is not a theological website. There are statements on the site that I don’t agree with theologically, but I still find it an interesting learning tool. If you are looking for something to study the Bible, this is not it. If you are looking for a site where you and your children can investigate a wide variety of religious beliefs in historical context, you’ll like this site.
Free Teaching Resources
The ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives) is a free website with a significant amount of information. I’m going to focus on the Teaching Tools page which is especially geared with resources for junior and senior high. (And even if your kids are younger, you will want to visit and bookmark the site for future use!)
There are five sections geared toward Jr/Sr High students:
- Historical Timeline
- Theories, Concepts and Measures
- Compare Yourself Surveys
The two that stand out to me as being the most helpful for a homeschooling mom are the Historical Timeline and Dictionary.
Historical Timeline: Students can explore various important events and people throughout the centuries of American religious history. The timeline is fully interactive, so students can view by different categories (people, events) or change the view type. Within each entry, there are pictures, explanatory text, and additional source links allowing students to continue their investigation. There are also historical timelines of important Baptist and Catholic events and people (with new timelines in the future).
You can see here how you progress through the different levels of the timeline:
When you click on Continue, you end up here:
You move that red rectangle along the timeline and different events, people and historical contexts show up. When you click on More on any of those gray boxes, you get this:
These include information, graphics and more. Seeing all of it put together on a timeline is really helpful!
Dictionary: The religion dictionary contains hundreds of entries and is fully cross-referenced. Moms with kids who never stop asking questions will like this feature! There is enough there to keep the best rabbit trail chaser occupied for hours! LOL!
Religious Groups Worship Examples
I also want to point out one other section that is really cool if your family is looking for a bit of an understanding about how different denominations and beliefs work out in worship services. ARDA has compiled an extensive group of YouTube videos that show worship services in a wide variety of settings. I found myself watching many of them as I have never been in those kinds of services. For children who are curious about other beliefs and styles of worship, this is a fantastic resource to use.
So there you go! An overview of a great free site you will definitely want to visit, bookmark, and use as you study history and religion in your homeschool! Definitely a thumbs up!