More on homeschooling

Many of you who check my blog regularly will remember me mentioning the SOW Curriculum. Well while catching up on the SOW Yahoo group today I came across a great post. It really hit home to me! I will post it here in a minute. First, some of my own thoughts on homeschooling. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my goals are in homeschooling my children. My greatest goal in homeschooling my children is that they will grow up with a great understanding of God’s Word and have a close, deep relationship with Him. In most curriculums both of those things are lacking or, at best, secondary to all other “subjects.” Why do we put God’s Word last? Why do we concern ourselves with Latin and Calculus but leave the most important things for later? (That is not to say that Latin and Calculus have no place or value.) I want our focus to be on the eternal not the temporary. At times in the past I’ve struggled with wanting my children to be the best and smartest children in my family, our church, etc. As I realize how trivial this line of thinking is I also realize what truly is important. If my children grow up loving the Lord our God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength then I will feel I have been successful in homschooling them. I will definitely put effort into teaching many other “subjects” but they will all be secondary to God’s Word!

Now for that post I mentioned from the SOW Yahoo group.

10 Commandments for Homeschoolers

1. Thou shalt have no curriculum before me. Will I put the book or
tape before what God has called me to teach my children? Will it
interfere with or enhance our studies?

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image of education….thou
shalt not bow down to it, nor serve it. Will this material make
education a stronger emphasis in our home than wisdom? Will I find
myself structuring my school day around this curriculum or book instead
of around God’s Word?

3. Thou shalt not buy a book that takes the name of the Lord in vain.
That should go without saying, however it is not just His name we
should
be concerned about, but also His principles, His commandments, His
teachings.

4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Does the book uphold the
religious beliefs that we’re teaching our children? Does it undermine
what we’re striving to do? Does it support Christianity or does it
teach from “other” viewpoints?

5. Honor thy father and thy mother. Does this book enhance the
family values that have been passed from our parents? Does it malign
heritage and tradition, or does it uphold the heritage of my parents
and my dh’s parents? Does it encourage respect toward elderly people?
Does it teach clearly and precisely the role our ancestors played in
our nation’s history?

6. Thou shalt not kill. Does the curriculum or book that I’m looking
at endorse abortion, euthanasia, suicide? Not just openly, but in
hidden cues that are picked up in the reading? Does it contain
unmerited violence? Does it teach the sanctity of human life or the
“disposability” of human life?

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Does the book contain examples of
adultery? Does the material support “one marriage for life”? Does it
uphold courtship or will it lead my dc to hunger for “companionship”?

8. Thou shalt not steal. Does this book contain so many “fun
things” and so much “busy work” that it steals valuable time that would better
be spent on other endeavors? Will it “steal” my children’s heart?

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbors. Does
this curriculum malign other cultures or individuals? Will it bring
pride into our home, “At least we’re better than……”?

10. Thou shalt not covet….. Do I want this because someone else has
it and I want to have the same material they have? Or is it what is
truly best for my family? Am I buying this so it will look
“impressive” on a transcript or am I buying this because it will truly
equip my children to serve God?

I’d love for all of you readers to share with me what your goals are in homeschooling! Let’s inspire and encourage each other to continue on with this great challenge called homeschooling! God has given us a great responsibility but He has also given us everything we need in His Word to be successful at it!

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6 thoughts on “More on homeschooling

  1. Hey Leah! Thanks for the post on homeschooling. It is something I enjoy thinking and talking about these days, knowing that the time is approaching when I will be in full swing of it. My thoughts are a bit scattered on the topics that you have brought up but, since you asked, Here you go! Most of it has to do with the thoughts you have been having on homeschooling, but toward the end I refer to the 10 commandments you posted.

    Matt and I both feel, like your family, that the goal of homeschooling academics comes SECOND to training our children in the Lord. If we raise our children to be some of the most intelligent people in the world, we STILL fail if they do not love and live for God and use those gifts for Him. That is why,in some respects the book A Well Trained Mind falters a bit. (Have you read it?) It focuses so much on academics that it is SCARY-it ACTUALLY scared me when I read it, thinking I would be a complete failure! 😉 (BTW~I have read an article or something by the author that explains that they were limited in what they said and how they said in regards to Christianity due to the publisher.) So-in a sense, it is a GREAT relief and comfort to me to know that the burden is not on academics-because I don’t know if you know this about me-but I am pretty stupid. 🙂 I KNOW I will fall short in so many areas in teaching.

    Another thing we discuss often is the interesting phenomenon in ‘mature’ Christian individuals to become very gnostic in their thinking. We mistakenly focus on God’s omniscience (which is certainly His own characteristic) but then forget his OTHER characteristics. By doing so, we forget that Christianity isn’t tracked by your level of ‘knowledge’ in or of God’s word. We put ourselves in a box if we judge a person by their intellect and pretty much caste our children from all of God’s promises. I say this, not because I think you disagree-but only because we have spoken recently about this very topic. It is a danger to put knowledge of ANY kind as an idol. It is not only KNOWING God’s word, attributes, etc. but in LIVING them, applying them. It is not enough just to KNOW it. So-we as Christian PARENTS (not JUST homeschoolers) need to really TEACH our children how to LIVE like Christ (which, to qualify, means we must KNOW how to live like Christ.) and to guard them from becoming too arrogant of their biblical training. I don’t know if this makes sense as I am typing it, but basically, the two should go hand in hand. You must have knowledge to live a godly life, but you needn’t live a godly life just because you know what it is to be godly. The latter is a temptation that must be avoided at all costs. (Commandment #2 is not just a concern as far as making graven images of academics-but also of a false sense of self-righteous biblical teaching.)

    THAT said…I don’t really agree with the 10 commandments post, though it was interesting to read. Of course, there were many good points to be deemed from the ideas, but I feel it perhaps goes too far and begins to…idolize the ‘purified’. That doesn’t make sense but I don’t know how to explain it any other way. It is like this. I feel that as Christians, we can look to resources from all sorts of different people and places, though they may be sketchy. For example Pythagoras was certainly not a reformed individual, or even a Christian, and yet we use his theories and mathmatical equations in math in every day life. We shouldn’t avoid teaching anything from anti-biblical persons just because they did not realize these scientific, mathmatical, geographical discoveries with God’s name first. I don’t think the author of the 10 commandments post realizes how much of her lessons would be nonexistent by adhering to her commandments.

    Commandment number 1 seems a bit silly to me. In no way do I see how having a ‘curriculum before me’ would interfere with what God has commanded me to teach my children. We will in all likelyhood use a bonafide curriculum (especially at first) as well as drawing from other resources at least in the beginning. But even when I feel comfortable enough NOT to use a specific purchased ‘curriculum’, I will make a curriculum anyway because I feel that, while teaching our children of the Lord is first and foremost-it shouldn’t be one or the other or even requiring to sacrifice one for another. We should be able to teach our children all there is to know about every subject without turning the focus away from God, because our God is the Creator of all subjects and the institutor of all history, the author of LIFE. Having a set academic goal does not diminish lessons of God, but should enhance those lessons by offering a guideline; a focus to keep us all on track and examples of his mercies and grace upon all his people throughout history.

    That is why I feel it is an unnecessary adjustment to decide to ‘postpone’ official homeschooling in order to teach godly traits and characteristics. You shouldn’t have to eliminate one for the other. In fact, I think it would be MORE detrimental to do so because, very practically…how do we learn of God and thereby to adapt our lifestyles to meet His desires for our lives? By reading God’s word. And how can we do that if we are not taught to read until the age 10 or 12? It seems like we are unnecessarily segrating too things that God joined together for a purpose. Learning and living should go hand in hand.

    The author of the 10 commandments post seems to want to shelter her children and family from all things ‘ungodly’ or ‘unrighteous’ I don’t know if that is entirely wise. She spoke a lot about books. While I do see the importance of guarding our children’s hearts from ridiculous and non-intelligent books (meaning-they have nothing to offer other than a warped sense of entertainment) I do NOT feel we should guard our children from reading any books that are not perfectly saturated with Christian ideals. Many of literature classics feature love, deceit, illicet affairs, murder, revenge, blood, gore, etc. In fact, open up the bible and you will see these very same things. There are things to be learned from these things also-namely, the consequences of living a life away from the Lord. (I am sounding very much like John Owen here…) There ARE levels and variations of ‘means’. For example-I would let my child read The Scarlet Letter but not let him/her watch the movie. I believe not only do most movies distort any real THOUGHT processes, but for the sake of entertainment they turn ronchy. So-that is just an entirely different soap box so I won’t go there. BUT-I did want to point out again, that by guarding our children entirely from anything or anyone that does not speak only of commandment keeping individuals (#3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #9) , we are limiting ALL things including the Bible.

    So-I guess now that I have written an entire book and used up nearly all of my ‘naptime=free time’, I should end this.

    Those are just MY thoughts on the topics at hand. Let me know what you think, and I will be interested to see the other responses you get pertaining to this topic.

    Keep the homeschooling topics coming! 😉 (Oh-and it is good to see you posting more often-keep it up!)

  2. Rebecca,

    Have you read the book Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns? I’ve not read it myself yet but it a book very similar to TWTM but from a Christian perspective. I’m hoping to find a copy on eBay at some point in the near future.

    I think we agree more than we disagree in our basic thoughts on homeschooling. We have noticed the gnostic phenomenon as well. The last thing we want is for our children to grow up to be gnostics! We agree wholeheartedly that it is more important to teach our children to LIVE the Scriptures rather than having the all-too-typical knowledge without fruit.

    As far as the 10 “Commandments” go, I posted them simply as some general ideas to ponder. I was not recommending a strict adherance to them.

    You’ve brought up some good points. I think that the reference to curriculums was more of a reaction/response to “mainstream Christians” tendencies to put too much emphasis on out-of-the-box curriculums that try to replicate the public school at home.

    I’m curious as to where you came up with the “delayed” homeschooling thought. I agree that we should not postpone official homeschooling to teach godly traits and characteristics. It should just be a part of our everyday living!

    As far as non-Christian literature is concerned, we are still thinking about where lines should be drawn. We have a responsibility to guard our children’s hearts and minds which is something I am not willing to take lightly!

    Like anything else we should remember what Doug Wilson says, “There is a ditch on both sides of the road.” This is one of Scott’s new favorites. 🙂

  3. I don’t have time for a long post right now, but I really enjoyed both of your comments. I agree that education of our children is first and foremost to teach knowledge of the Lord and the scriptures and to live that knowledge in word and deed. (Any Christian who disagrees needs to read the Bible’s passages on education…)

    Argh! I want to write on literature and such, but Annie just started screeching for me. 🙂 Such is life. (Maybe I’ll save this one for the next campfire. Ah, a campfire.)

    Thanks for the post, Leah, and the enjoyably long comments by both of you!

  4. Yes, I knew that we did agree mostly. As I said about the gnosticism-it was just on my mind and fitting for the discussion to bring it out.

    I have never read Teaching the Trivium but will certainly look into it. I am currently enjoying listening (every so often) to a CD set that I got for Matt for Christmas called A Classical Primer, put out by Canon Press. Of course, it has been staying in Matt’s work truck most often, as he listens to it as he is driving all over creation. I guess I have to wait my turn…

    It sounded like I completely disagreed with the 10 commandments concept, and that is not so. There are many good concepts to be gleaned from it. You know, things to think about and be careful of. I especially appreciated #8 (as far as stealing time away from more important endeavors) and #10 because of the truths and ease of falling into such traps.

    The ‘delayed homeschooling’ concept-though not by that name, has been mentioned by several different homeschooling families I ‘know’ (on the internet) but I think I first heard about it from you. I don’t remember what it was called exactly-just the concept. I think you mentioned it on the way home from Women’s Presbyterial two years ago-of course, I can’t be sure since we have talked a lot since then! It was something you were thinking about-not entirely decided on (at the time). Anyway. Two years later, the idea has brought lots of thoughts and discussions and so, while I would not do it for the reasons I stated, the pondering of such has been useful.

    (BTW-I really like that quote of D.W’s too. In fact, it is one of the only ones I can remember word for word. hehehe 🙂 I wonder why…could it be any more simple?!?)

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