Most of us have deeply rooted concepts of education and learning, based primarily on our own educational experiences. But rather than automatically replicating that system at home, we have an opportunity to begin at the beginning: redefining education. We have an opportunity to start over, sowing new seeds whose vines will grow into a hearty framework with strong, healthy roots, and blossoming flowers!
All Wisdom and Knowledge Come From Above
For the Christian, our source of wisdom and knowledge is not a textbook, a seminar, a conference, or the world. Rather, all wisdom and knowledge come from above. Seek Him first.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Wisdom Starts With the Heart
Knowledge for its own sake is anemic. If the core of what we teach our children is dates, facts, and arithmetic tables, will they be any wiser?
As parents who teach our children at home, we have a unique opportunity to impart the foundation of wisdom — to shepherd our child’s heart. Dates, facts, and arithmetic tables, which have their place, will be in their proper place — not as the goal, but as a tool for reaching the goal, which is for our children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind and to love their neighbor as themselves.
Education is the Training Needed to Develop the Tools of Learning
“Lift up your eyes for a moment from the curriculum guide, teacher’s manual, math problems, and state-imposed guidelines. Look at the high goal of education — a virtuous man or woman who loves the Lord — an individual who thinks rightly and acts righteously. This is not the work of day, or a week, or a year. Progress is not measured by checking off a finished assignment. Though we must give attention to the details of the journey, fix your eyes on the goal as often as possible, though you can do no more than take one step at a time.” — Karen Glass, Magnanimity: Volume 1, Issue 1
If we have been properly trained, we have the tools we need to learn any subject on our own. These essential tools are reading, writing, arithmetic, and reason. One’s ability to “catch on fast” or “think out of the box” is correlated with this ability to learn.
Whatever method or approach we use, the basis of our approach should teach our children to learn for themselves. If our children are properly educated, then the end of our mentoring should leave them able to procure knowledge on their own. Besides providing our children with an invaluable skill, we will have given them a lifelong gift!
- “The Lost Tools of Learning”
“For the tools of learning are the same, in any and every subject; and the person who knows how to use them will, at any age, get the mastery of a new subject in half the time and with a quarter of the effort expended by the person who has not the tools at his command. To learn six subjects without remembering how they were learnt does nothing to ease the approach to a seventh; to have learnt and remembered the art of learning makes the approach to every subject an open door.” Complete text of the essay by Dorothy Sayers that is the basis for modern classical education.
Learning is a 24-7 Proposition
There is no time frame capable of containing meaningful and authentic learning. Learning takes place constantly — for good or bad. Consider the myriad ways we learn: modeling, experimentation, research, investigation, manipulation, play, exploration, reading, apprenticing, and of course drill.
What type of activities do your children involve themselves in outside of “school” time?
- Do they spend hours in front of the television? Or are they interacting with a rich environment of literature, music, art, and nature?
- Do they spend hours with computer games? Or are they developing their interests and hobbies?
Keeping a 24-7 mindset helps us remain aware of what is being learned every minute of every day in every situation.
True Learning is Finding Out For Yourself
Have you ever tried to memorize something trivial and found it the most difficult of propositions? Ever amaze yourself with the things you can remember when it comes to your favorite subject? The difference is who or what is directing the learning process.
True learning is not a passive activity and it is much less cumbersome than trying to open up the mind of someone else and shove things in!
Children are Born With a Unique Purpose
Each child is wonderfully made with his own unique characteristics fitting the unique purpose for which he was created. No two children will respond in exactly the same way, or learn in exactly the same manner, or have the exact same interests. This is no accident!
The homeschool environment is an ideal place to nurture each child’s unique gifts.
Out of the Heart
A look at why reaching the heart of our children in education is so important!
10 Tips for Providing a Non-Generic Education
We can provide the “richest” education — whether that be classically-, literature-, or otherwise-based — and yet fail to provide an education specifically designed for each child. If we don’t allow our children the time to develop their strengths and interests, then even the best education will have nothing to work with. Our tips for providing each child with a unique education!
Bending Education to Fit the Child
More tips for personalizing education.
7 Ways to Identify Real Learning
The 24-7 learning mindset in action.
America’s Educational Crisis–A Christian Response
“How can we recover a concept of authentic education? The Christian response to this question will be very different from that offered by alternative worldviews. As the psalmist instructs us, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ [Psalm 111:10].” Dr. Albert Mohler explains that all true education begins with the knowledge of God.
The gods of Education
“An even harder question, will it be said of my children, ‘they have been with Jesus.’ While math is important, and grammar skills well and fine, reading the classics enriching, and high SAT’s nice, they are no substitute for being with Jesus. Educational success will impress others. Never will it be more important than Jesus.” Marla Nowak reminds us where we are to put our hope and why.
Just What Are Schools to Do? The Aims and Purposes of Education
It is always important to consider “why” we do a particular thing rather than accepting current wisdom without consideration. Does the aim of public education coincide with your idea of education? “Seen rightly, education is all about what we want children to know, how we want them to think, and what kind of people we want them to be. Education is never only about what most people think of as education.” — Dr. Albert Mohler