Here are two excerpts to help illustrate the difference between typical school fare and the kind of books children will be reading at RiverTree School.
First, an excerpt from a forth grade social studies text used in many Christian schools:
The Lost Colony
Queen Elizabeth I was the powerful ruler of England in 1585. She was proud of England and wanted all Englishmen to be proud, too. A successful English colony in the New World would boost her people's pride.
Walter Raleigh [rô'lē] was a good friend of the queen. When he asked for permission to begin a colony, Queen Elizabeth gave it to him without hesitation. But the queen told him that he himself could not go to America - he had to choose someone else to go!
How strange it seems that the man who was to plan the first English colony in America never went to America himself! The queen had very good reasons. England was having trouble with Spain. If a war broke out, she knew she could trust Raleigh's judgment to help England.
Raleigh sent two sea captains to find a good place in America for an English colony. When they returned, they reported finding an island called Roanoke [rō'ə‧nōk] that would be a good place to begin a colony.
Queen Elizabeth was as delighted as Raleigh. For his excellent plans, the queen added a title to his name. From now on, he would be called Sir Walter Raleigh. The land the sea captains explored was also given a name. This part of the New World belonging to England would be called Virginia, after Elizabeth, the "Virgin Queen."
Notice the helpful bold type and underlining to help a child figure out the parts he can safely ignore. See how the "author" in the third paragraph cleverly tells the students what to think! What a strange use of an exclamation point! Notice also the short, declarative sentences designed to minimize any strain on young minds.
Now an excerpt from H.E. Marshall's This Country of Ours:
ABOUT SIR WALTER RALEIGH'S ADVENTURES IN THE GOLDEN WEST
The first attempt to found an English colony in America had been an utter failure. But the idea of founding a New England across the seas had now taken hold of Sir Humphrey's young step-brother, Walter Raleigh. And a few months after the return of the Golden Hind he received from the Queen a charter very much the same as his brother's. But although he got the Charter Raleigh himself could not sail to America, for Queen Elizabeth would not let him go. So again he had to content himself with sending other people.
It was on April 27th, 1584, that his expedition set out in two small ships. Raleigh knew some of the great Frenchmen of the day, and had heard of their attempt to found a colony in Florida. And in spite of the terrible fate of the Frenchmen he thought Florida would be an excellent place to found an English colony.
So Raleigh's ships made their way to Florida, and landed on Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now North Carolina. In those days of course there was no Carolina, and the Spaniards called the whole coast Florida right up to the shores of Newfoundland.
The Englishmen were delighted with Roanoke. It seemed to them a fertile, pleasant land, "the most plentiful, sweete, fruitfull and wholesome of all the worlde." So they at once took possession of it "in the right of the Queen's most excellent Majesty as rightful Queen and Princess of the same."
The natives, too, seemed friendly "and in their behaviour as mannerly and civil as any man of Europe." But the Pale-faces and the Redskins found it difficult to understand each other.
"What do you call this country?" asked an Englishman.
"Win gan da coa," answered the Indian.
So the Englishmen went home to tell of the wonderful country of Wingandacoe. But what the Indian had really said was "What fine clothes you have!"
Exit Question: Suppose you were going to be trapped in a school room for a whole day and could only take one of these books with you. Which would it be?
I thought so.