for the Discipleship Homeschool
When we take on being a homeschool family, the first thing we think about is the academic studies – we want our children to achieve well academically, we want there to be no gaps, we want to prove that homeschool is on par with any other educational option. But is this the way to determine our children's academic studies?Academics vs. WisdomUsing our Brain to the Glory of GodBasic SkillsThinking SkillsGeneral Knowledge
Computers and Technology
Character Traits specific to Formal Studies
Academics vs. Wisdom
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
And we are all familiar with the verse that says
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This world sees wisdom in terms of academics, in terms of success, in terms of wealth. Our son Joshua helped me write a short article on
which takes a look at what God deems as success – it certainly isn't in terms of scholarly pursuits.
Proverbs is full of comparisons between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. Godly wisdom will preserve you, will satisfy you, will guide you, will give you peace, will give you eternal life.
This is what I want for my children.
So it is with care that I set out my children’s formal studies. I want to keep it in balance with what God desires for His children. At no time does the Proverbs presentation of wisdom appear to be purely academic; wisdom is a practical outworking of knowing Jesus.
This helps me place these studies in their right place. I encourage you to read our
Scope and Sequence
as it shows very clearly where our priorities lay.
Using our Brain to the Glory of God
God has given us a brain, and I believe the story of the 10 Talents
(Matthew 25:14-30) is an appropriate reminder here. God gives us different talents and abilities and we are to do the best with them that we can. God doesn’t want us to bury our brains thinking that it will become corrupt, or thinking we will gain worldly wisdom and become “puffed up”. God has given each of us a brain to put to work for His Glory.
Our first goal in using our brain is to learn to think like God, to understand the Word and to apply the principles He lays out there for us to live our life by. This is the second part to relationship – the first part is to know God; that is a heart response. The second part is to understand His Word; that is the brain part.
So though academics are at the lower end of our priority in our Scope and Sequence we are using our brain when we pursue Relationships especially in terms of speaking and listening. We are using our brain when we master our Responsibilities. We are using our brain when we understand ourselves and practice our Talents. We are in no way encouraging laziness in this area of our children's lives, rather an excellence which comes from broad and practical applications.
The pursuit of academic studies studies does not have to be working toward the success of man; worldly wisdom. God wants us to understand His creation (after all He commanded us to have dominion), He wants us to understand His Story (history), He wants us to go out and tell the world (Communication), He wants us to give an account for the hope that is within us (Biblical world view, thinking, reasoning skills). Our goal in all that we study needs to be for the glory of God.
We have divided our formal studies into three areas. They are prioritized and this helps us with keeping our days in balance – keeping our eyes on what is important. It must be understood though that in all that we do we are presenting to our children what God says about things. Even before we start to look at these areas of study we are quoting scripture to them, helping them memorise scripture, and understand who God is, what He is about, and why these things are important. Attaining a Biblical World View begins from toddler – way before we begin to think about their formal studies.
The first area that we study is the 3 R’s. Obviously this is the main focus for a young child who is starting their more formal education but these areas are visited by every student (youth and adult alike) as we pursue learning.
It is in reading the Word of God that we learn more of Jesus, it is in writing (and speaking) that we are able to share what we have learnt. If we are to be practical solutions to people in this world we need to know Math – it is the basis for our practical world hanging together; its principles do not change.
- Living Math - using literature to find everyday examples of math has helped me teach these concepts to my children.
The idea with this area of learning is that students (and we should all be students as we pursue a life long learning lifestyle) learn to think rather than just digest facts that people present to them. At a young age they may not actually do research but they will learn that we get information from a book, and their first book should be the Bible. What does God say about that question?
Children should learn to ask questions and find their answers. They should be able to record their questions, thoughts and answers. They should be able to share with others what they have discovered. As children grow in these skills they will become life long learners who pursue wisdom (practical application of knowing Jesus).
Our goal in giving our children a broad general knowledge is based on the importance of Relationships. We want our children to be able to converse with a broad spectrum of people. We want them to be able to understand the events of the world around them. We want them to be able to give answers to people who are seeking to understand God’s World.
As our children are introduced to the people of the world and the creation itself, often a passion arises within an individual child. It is at this point that we allow them to narrow their focus on a particular element of History or Science but they need to continue their broader studies as well. Having studied topics from a big picture also gives context and perspective once you narrow your focus.
There is no possible way that our children will know all that there is to know in regard to these subjects. We want them to have first a thirst for understanding, and secondly the ability to pursue questions when they arise. Any focus study that the children take hold of we would expect to be a life long pursuit should they want to know that much knowledge about it. It isn’t my job as a homeschool parent to deliver all knowledge by age 18.
- History – the study of People
- Science – the study of the World
Computers and Technology
Computers – parents either love them or hate them but often we are concerned about how much time our children spend on them! I believe we need to make a distinction between using our computers and associated technology for recreation or productivity. Often we see it in terms of productivity for ourselves, and yet only recreation for our children.
And I agree – if it is used primarily for recreation we need to be concerned, we need to monitor it and ensure that our children are getting a balance of real life experiences, that they are outside exercising and having opportunity to interact with their family. But children can begin to use this technology in terms of productivity, they can learn the skills necessary and they can learn it from a very young age!
Depending on how we handle technology in our children’s lives will directly impact how their thinking develops in regards to the use of computers. Do we limit their time at the screen, only letting them play educational games. Educational games have their place in learning but a modern technology can take your child far wider and further. Is our limited understanding limiting our children and the preparation they need to have behind them as they approach their adult life.
Learning to Type
Office Applications used in Family life and Homeschooling situations
Children and Blogging
Technology may well be one of the hardest learning areas for homeschool mums to get their heads around. There is such a steep learning curve, and to balance that with cooking, cleaning and teaching the 3 Rs it can be very overwhelming. And yet I believe we must rise to the challenge.
Character Traits specific to Formal Studies
As in all that we do, our academic life should be shrouded in godly character. These are the traits that I have found emerge and re-emerge as we pursue the discipline of formal studies.
Live life with your kids!
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