How to Find the Right Christian Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family
“Not another article on how to find the right homeschool curriculum! Seriously?!” Yes, and I hope you stick around for this one. As I have something fresh to say about it. And I think there are things for you to consider which you may not have heard before. So, please lend me your ears. Er… please lend me your eyes. Well, anyway, keep reading as I share some thoughts on how to find the right homeschool curriculum for your Christian family.
To begin with, please entertain a few questions. And then you’ll see why I lead into the considerations that I do for curriculum.
Why is America’s Character Struggling Despite All of the Sound Christian Curricula Out There?
I think what has happened to evangelical Christian homeschoolers is that many of us have reduced Christian education to “our” category of religion. Because of this, many curricula tend to isolate the Bible as its own subject. Or else there may be a Bible verse sprinkled here and there in another subject. And God may be mentioned here and there as well. In general, Christian curricula doesn’t teach Bible Principles in each subject and how to reason from the Bible in the areas of gov’t, economics, education, and social issues. These thoughts are translated to homeschooling from Dan Smithwick’s thoughts on the church:
“What I think has happened to evangelical Christianity is that we’ve simply reduced Christianity to “our” category of the PEERS Acronym: Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues. Evangelicalism is stuck in religion. It does not address gov’t, economics, education, and social issues. That’s the problem. That’s the worldview problem in the church.”
Furthermore, Nehemiah Institute has a PEERS test which tests in these key areas that Christians should be educated in:
- Social Issues
You can take a gander at their PEERS Worldview Grid to see the differences between Biblical Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanism, and Socialism. All of these are worldviews and the consequences of what one believes truly matters. We must be especially alert to the fact that the latter three are commonly weaved in curricula… even if unintentionally by an author. How so? Because most authors haven’t received an education which helps them to reason Biblically in these key five areas of life.
What if My Child is Bored with Aspects of Our Curriculum?
Well, I currently have few thoughts on this. For one, so what? It’s actually a shame that we’ve come to a point in society where entertainment has captivated individuals to the point that everything has to be fun. As I think back to what I learn in the Bible and imagine about ancient Biblical times, fun isn’t mentioned in conjunction with learning. Also, this is true of the Pilgrims and of the Framers. Yet, their minds were full of wisdom because they were educated in the full counsel of God’s Word.
Secondly, it may be a textbook and workbook issue. There’s a tremendous loss for individual children and our nation when parents choose curriculum that is a workbook format. Why? Because the Bible teaches us that, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” -Luke 6:40(NASB). Therefore, in order for our students to learn well, we need to be like living textbooks to them. We we need to be able to reason from Scripture and teach them how to. Plus, they need to be producers of their education to keep them engaged (think notebooks), not consumers (think workbooks). The question is,” Notebooking vs. workbooks: which one unlocks Biblical Scholarship”?
Thirdly, as parents we need to check our own attitudes about learning. Do we display a “know it all” attitude? Or do we genuinely display a teachable spirit? Are we setting an example of not having time to learn? Or are we setting an example of making learning a priority? Because our kids read us like a book. And with each chapter they soak in traits that become a part of themselves. So, it’s key to check in with ourselves and to be a good example of what furnishes our own minds regarding education.
What if My Child’s Learning Style Doesn’t Match Up with a Curriculum We Choose?
Again, I wonder if this is kind of a modern-day trap in our thinking on education. As we consider Scripture, we see that God uses kinesthetic, auditory, and visual means of teaching. In my view, any curriculum can be easily adapted with the use of these. There are so many ideas out there (hat tip to Pinterest) that a parent can apply. It’s really not an issue if a curriculum does or doesn’t say: “Have your learning style child do this.”
What are Things for Us to Consider When Buying a Curriculum?
Well, here are my thoughts. Especially as a Christian who is American (but God’s Biblical Principles do apply to all people, all nations). So, what is the goal of the curriculum? And does it teach the following?…
- God’s Providential Hand in the lives of men and nations,
- America’s Providential History,
- The Christian form of our government,
- Christ is the Focal Point of History (His-Story),
- How Christ changed History,
- Christian character and self-government,
- How to reason and relate from the Bible in all subjects,
- Bible Principles in each subject,
- Sinful man’s response to Holy God (NOT glossing over the faults of the Founding Fathers or other individuals in history in case you read that somewhere),
- Notebook work… students are producers of their learning and own their education,
- Literature-based with quality literature,
- It’s Biblical-Classical and not rigid… some memory work is involved but the heart is to teach children to reason from cause to effect, to think governmentally, and to think internal to external,
- It uses the Principle Approach® philosophy and method of education which is America’s historical form of education that produced (and produces) Christian leaders and gave us our Constitutional Republic,
- To raise up Christians who will help restore and keep our Christian form of government… our Constitutional Republic
For me, the Noah Plan® Curriculum meets all of this. But, you can use any sound Christian curriculum and apply the philosophy and method of the Principle Approach® to it. Materials from the Foundation for American Christian Education will be helpful (shop here).
Does it Really Matter if Bible Principles are Taught in Each Subject?
Great question! Yes, I believe it does matter. See, our oldest is science guy. He’s NASA man in my eyes. And I thought for certain that during all these years he’d certainly go into some field in science. You know, the whole follow their interests the most type of thing. But I was wrong! And I’m so glad that I pursued teaching Bible Principles to him in more than just Bible, History/Gov’t, and Science. Because God is actually directing him to be involved with the Christian Film industry. It’s pressed upon this graduate’s heart to influence others for Christ through media. He sees the impact that the arts have on individuals and the shaping of a nation. And if I hadn’t pursued teaching him Bible Principles in Art as well, he may not be ready for this. Praise God!
That said, I urge you to be faithful in teaching all subjects to your students. Especially with Biblical Principles applied. And know that you can do it!