Principle Approach

The Great Depression

We typically follow history in chronological order on the Liberty History Timeline. However, at the beginning of the school year, I feel led to cover the Great Depression with our children. But how does that tie into the Bible? Well, I begin with research.

Expansion and Erosion Link (1929 – 1939) on the Liberty History Timeline

Great Depression Primary Resources

As I research for primary resources from the Great Depression era, I come across a book at the library titled: We Had Everything But Money. What a wonderful book! It’s comprised of letters from people who were adults and children during the Great Depression.

Praying for Direction

As I create my lesson plan for our family, I seek the Lord for direction. I ask the following:

  • What does He want me to learn and meditate on?
  • What is He wanting me to impart to our children?

There are many themes throughout We Had Everything But Money, but Holy Spirit directs me to focus on the following themes:

  • Work
  • Thanksgiving
  • Brotherly Love (love your neighbor)
  • Selflessness
  • Who is the ultimate provider during “easy” and difficult times? (This has to do with Providential History.)

Searching for Biblical Principles

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

After knowing the themes on which our family is to focus, I set out to search for Biblical principles (Truths) that pertain to our lessons.

To begin with, I do this by using Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and look up the thematic vocabulary words I list above. Below is one word as an example:

2. To labor; to be occupied in performing manual labor, whether severe or moderate. One man works better than another; one man works hare; another works lazily.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, work

That definition gives me more ideas on what to discuss with our children as we go over the letters in We Had Everything But Money.


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Using a Concordance

After defining the thematic words, I choose to look them up in a reliable concordance. This allows for me to find principles from which to reason and reflect.

As an example, I choose the following Bible verse that teaches us what God says about work:

“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

2 Thessalonians 3:8-13 NKJV

Thinking Cause to Effect

We discuss about what causes the Great Depression to occur in the first place. Which of God’s Principles of Liberty are being violated between nations that ensues oppressive times like that? How do individuals handle the circumstances? And, how is economic liberty restored afterward?

Furthermore, as we read through We Had Everything But Money, we would discuss different aspects. For example: back then, if people went on the “welfare” system, they did it only if they HAD to. Their names were put on a list for others to see. They were diligent in finding work or creating work. Also, they were diligent at paying back every penny to the government so their names were taken off the list. People still worked when on the “system”—they didn’t “work the system.”

Reflecting on Biblical Principles and Lessons From the Great Depression

We learn how faithful many were to apply the principle from 2 Thessalonians 3:8-13 to their lives. And, they do that despite the economy—despite the challenges. They did not rely on the government to do everything for them. That’s quite the contrast to many today—especially when considering socialism among homeschoolers. Many individuals today don’t comprehend that “welfare” programs are socialist programs.

Additionally, we learn of some very creative ways people earned money! Then we talk about the principle of individuality:

  • God has created us uniquely and how no two people are exactly alike.
  • He is creative, and man being made in His image, is creative too!

The Biblical Principle and Application to Life

So, the kids learn to reason from Scripture that we are to work and not expect hand outs.

Sometimes work looks differently. We may work for pay check and can go buy food. Or, sometimes we work for someone who needs something done, and they provide a need for us as payment (such as lodging, food, clothing, etc.). That happened a lot during the Great Depression.

Recording What We Learn

We do a few things to record what we learn. To be sure, we add notes of our Biblical reasoning to our notebooks, but that’s only one way to record. The following is one definition of record:

To imprint deeply on the mind or memory; as, to record the sayings of another in the heart.

-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Great Depression Day

We did a small version of a “Great Depression Day” that I had come across on a blog. On the blog, this family invited friends over, they looked up art from that time period and created posters, they did a huge meal theme, the kids dressed in period clothing.

Great Depression Movie

We are not big on movies, but we did watch Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. We also borrowed the Kit Kittredge: An American Girl book from the library and discussed Biblical Principles further.

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