If this is your first year or your fifteenth year of homeschooling this fall, it might be helpful to take some time to consider some important questions as you prepare for the new year. For example, how does your ‘world view” affect the way you teach your children? What is God’s purpose for homeschooling? How do you integrate biblical principles with your curriculum, and apply them to real life situations? Have you developed your own homeschooling ‘Manifesto’?
Most of us who are now homeschooling our own children tend to teach our children as we ourselves were taught. But as we closely examine God’s instructions for educating children, we need to make sure that how and what we teach our children lines up with a true biblical world view. To help get a little perspective on this, we might ask ourselves, “What curriculum did Jesus use with His disciples?” He did not send them off to get a world-class education with Greeks or Romans or even respected Rabbis—He taught them himself, using God’s design for teaching children.
The ‘how to’ is given to us in Deuteronomy 11:18—we are to teach our children as we sit in our house, as we walk, lie down and rise up. This biblical Hebrew model actually involves a 24 hour/day discipleship program. The first goal of our instruction is to teach our children to fear God as well as to love Him with all their heart, soul and might. Secondly, through apprenticeship, we teach them to be of service to the community and to earn a living. Thirdly, we prepare them for relationships and, God willing, a good marriage, so that this process carries on from one generation to the next.
So what do we teach them? Dr. Ruth Haycock says:
“If we actually believe that the Bible is authoritative in every subject it addresses, in history and science as well as in Christian doctrine, we are obligated to find out what it says about every topic we teach…”
If we present a biblical worldview in regard to everything we teach, then each subject will deepen our children’s understanding of God and their relationship to Him. So then, when we teach science, our children will learn that creation reveals the Creator through an ordered universe. And history, or “His Story,” is not just memorizing facts and dates, but it involves subjectively analyzing the consequences of obeying or disobeying God’s laws throughout history. The language arts reflect the wonderful gift that God gave from creation—the ability of mankind to communicate, not only with one another, but with God Himself. Even in a subject like mathematics, which seems more secular than spiritual, God’s order is evident. And home economics, business, and government take on new relevance when they are taught from the perspective of scripture.
In order to help keep you on track (and for those days when you or others question your decision to homeschool) it is important for you to develop your own homeschooling ‘Manifesto.’ For our family, it is summarized by the 4 S’s.
Spiritual Skills are the most important.
We’re preparing our children for eternity.
We want to teach wisdom not just knowledge.
Survival Skills are not just for survivalists.
We teach practical life skills (cooking, nutrition, laundry, gardening, car maintenance, first aid, camping, etc.).
We teach a marketable skill (apprenticeship) as well as character qualities needed to be a good employer or employee.
We teach a global vision, giving them experiences in living in other countries.
We provide challenging and difficult opportunities in order for our children to learn contentedness in every situation.
Social Skills involve being Christ’s hands and feet to our world.
We prepare them to relate to people from every age group/nationality.
We help them look for opportunities to serve Christ in each encounter (“in as much as you do it unto the least of these…”).
We teach them to built healthy friendships and prepare them for marriage.
Study Skills must be taught systematically.
We teach math and language (or the 3 R’s) as foundational subjects, and present them in an orderly way.
We teach our children HOW to learn; HOW to think; HOW to question—not in a quarrelsome or argumentative way, but with insight and love.
We want them to have an avid interest in learning, to know where to look for research/resources, and to have spiritual discernment about those resources.
In conclusion, as we prepare to teach our children this year, the most important thing to remember is that we are training our children to be like us. So, do our children see us responding to situations with fear of man or with faith in God? Does what we SAY match up with what we DO? Our goal should be that of the Apostle Paul, who was able to say in all sincerity—“Follow me as I follow Christ.”
Betty Smith, July 2005
Optional Resources: (besides a Bible, Strong’s Concordance, etc.)
Encyclopedia of Bible Truths, by Dr. Ruth C. Haycock; 1993, ACSI.
Goals 2:52 by Cindy Downes.
Luke’s Life List, by Joyce Herzog.
Mathematics: Is God Silent, by James Nickel; Ross House Books.
Remembering God’s Awesome Acts (and Chosen Children), by Susan Mortimer.
The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum by R.J. Rushdoony; Ross House Books.
The Institute of Biblical Law, by R.J. Rushdoony; Ross House Books.
Understanding the Times, by Dr. David Noebel.