Teaching World Religions in Middle & High School

While teaching World Religions is not a specified requirement for our homeschooling, it is something we have chosen to add in throughout the years. This has often happened naturally as topics have come up in our reading, history, and everyday life.

Teaching World Religions in Middle & High School from Starts At Eight

One of the best ways to approach this type of learning is by having great resources to go to when you have questions.

One great resource we have found for our kids to use (especially during their middle and high school years) is the ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives). {Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The ARDA. I was compensated for my time in sharing this information. I only participate in sponsored posts that I would use myself. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

the ARDA header

The ARDA was featured on the American Library Association’s 2010 Best Free Reference Websites List. You can find out a bit more about the ARDA as a whole here and on Wikipedia.

Reasons To Use The ARDA

Not only is the ARDA site a comprehensive religion reference, but it’s easy to navigate, has a section totally dedicated to Teaching Tools – both for middle/high school as well as resources for college, and it’s totally FREE!

World Religions for Middle & High School

On the Teaching Tools page you can head straight to the Resources for Jr. + Sr. High tab to find both the resources for students as well as an extensive set of resources for you (the teacher or parent).
The ARDA Teaching Tools Jr Sr

For Students

Historical Timeline

Here your student 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.


In this section your student can examine Americans’ attitudes and beliefs on a host of issues, as well as their religious behaviors and beliefs. Many people hold assumptions as to what other people believe, but QuickStats allows students to locate empirical evidence that can either support or refute those assumptions. These could be especially useful in teaching about hypothesis testing: making predictions about relationships and then testing those predictions.


The ARDA’s religion dictionary contains hundreds of entries and is fully cross-referenced. Students investigating world religions, for example, could search for Islam and then follow the links to other entries in the dictionary explaining the five pillars of Islam, or the two main branches.

The ARDA Dictionary

{This happens to be one of our favorite sections. It makes it so easy to plug in one term and then find tons of related terms and definitions, even things you hadn’t yet heard of or thought of yet!}

Compare Yourself Surveys

Here students can answer a number of questions to see how they are similar or different from other youth across the United States.

For Instructors

If you are looking to have a more focused study of religion, the ARDA offers a wide variety of lesson plans on things such as:

  • Defining Religion
  • The Scientific Study of Religion
  • Introducing World Religions
  • Religion in America
  • Secularism
  • and More!

Each lesson has specific learning objectives, relevant readings from which to choose, learning activities to utilize, and assessment tools to gauge student learning on the topic.

There are also resources for building your student’s research skills, a Press Room where you can find the latest religion news and research from around the world, as well as a myriad of Religion Quizzes to test your knowledge! And all of it is FREE!

Even if you aren’t homeschooling middle or high school yet I highly recommend you bookmark the ARDA site for future reference. It can be a great research tool and reference for you and your children at all ages and stages of your homeschooling.

Follow The ARDA on Social Media:

In the Resources + Tutorials column you can find a link to the ARDA YouTube channel where they have collected over 100 videos of the worship services of a number of religions. This can be a great way for your family to virtually experience the worship services that may not be readily available to you.