Discipleship and Curriculum

by Email Question
(answered by Belinda Letchford)

Q.I like the idea of discipleship. How do you implement it into your curriculum?

Discipleship is more than a Christian education, it is more than the way we use curriculum. It is a way of life that means looking at education in a slightly different perspective. To disciple someone means to have them at close range so that everything you do is observed and explained to them, living life so close that the disciple-er is having a direct affect on the life of the disciple.

So the first shift towards Discipleship that I had to make was to change my focus from lessons to heart/relationships issues. This meant that I needed to make time to build relationships with my children, and I needed to allow time for them to build relationships with each other. We needed time to be a family, rather than be a mini-school. Relationship Based Activities are a key to this happening.

Even though we use curriculum a Discipleship education is not based on such curriculum. We have discussed this regularly with our children so that they too begin to see that they learn in many situations, using a variety of resources (not just books). The challenge is to balance our time between formal studies and life experiences that offer learning opportunities. Any curriculum that is used is selected to meet a specific need, not just because it is the “done” thing.

Our discipleship heart needs to come through to our children even during the times we are sitting at desks doing formal studies. It is so easy to become task orientated but we need to always be heart orientated. This does not mean that we let our children off or be slack out of our “love” for them, but rather that when we come across difficulties we look for the undermining heart issue that needs to be addressed in order to assist with the academic learning.

• Have things been tense and relationships been broken this day?
• Is there a lack of character being displayed?
• Where is your child’s heart with God?

These are all relationship issues that need to be addressed before success can be found in academic pursuits.

The heart for relationships, the basis of a discipleship education, needs to be reflected in our routine.

• Time for everyone in the family to have personal devotions (or to be trained in such)
• Time to complete responsibilities without undue stress – which damages relationships.
• Bible Study and/or Character study as a consistent start to the academic day

A few relationship based thoughts in choosing a curriculum:
• A curriculum has to suit each individual child
• A curriculum has to suit the family’s goals and purposes (not the Education department)
• A teaching method has to be successful else we try another method
• We go at our own pace, which rarely lines up with the publishers ideas

So it isn't so much how we use discipleship in our curriculum but how discipleship affects how we use our curriculum.

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