The Elements of a Principle Approach® Way of Learning
One of the most important things to understand about the Principle Approach is that it is both a philosophy and a method. That said, they cannot be separated from each other. Unquestionably, application of all of the Principle Approach elements must take place.
Since many parents look for what is easiest, they may fall into the temptation of wanting to use only a few of the elements. But, to do that isn’t really learning and teaching with the Principle Approach. While this may make it sound complicated, it isn’t. And, this is because every element of the Principle Approach renews the mind for Biblical reasoning. Let’s face it, most of us grew up with full-on secular-humanist worldview. Or, we grew up with a secular-humanist education (unbeknownst to us) with a Bible class and chapel to sprinkle in it. However, there is a huge conflict between secular-humanism and a Biblical worldview. Therefore, they can’t be equally yoked.
As Christian parents, don’t we really want a Biblio-centrical education for our children? Plus, as Christians living in America, we need to have our children receive an American Christian Education.
The Principle Approach is a Philosophy
Let’s get right down to it. What is the Biblical worldview definition of philosophy?
“PHILOS’OPHY, noun [Latin philosophia; Gr. love, to love, and wisdom.]
1. Literally, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation of the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject, are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God, etc. is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; or that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy or metaphysics.
The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness.
True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.”
Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
The Principle Approach Philosophy
Based on Webster’s definition, the Principle Approaches philosophy is to “ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things.” We look for the principles—the cause, source, or origin of any thing. And, there is a love for doing so.
Therefore, it truly is a biblio-centrical focus in each subject and area of life. In fact, the philosophy must be coupled with each part of the method which shows us how Christ is the Focal Point of His-Story.
The Principle Approach Method’s Elements
Principle Approach Timeline
To begin with, everything we learn is based off of the Chain of Christianity®. Clearly then, this is our first element. Each link has to do with Key Events, Key Individuals, and sometimes Key Institutions. And what we look for is the Biblical principles for each subject on each of those links. Plus, we look for the cause-to-effect and Biblical reasoning on each link. Ultimately, we are considering the culmination through these things that have helped to move the Gospel Westward.
Leading Ideas and Bible Principles
They work together in such a way that they bind the content of the lesson together. Specifically, the Leading Idea is the hook to draw the students in to the lesson. But, it also glues the content and the Bible Principle(s) of a lesson together.
Principle Approach 4R Method
Additionally, we use the 4R Method of Research, Reason, Relate, and Record. Of note, our research is directly from primary source documents and the Bible. Of course, Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language is our go-to dictionary for our Word Studies.
Principle Approach Word Studies
Pursing this further, Word studies are specifically done with Webster’s dictionary, a concordance, and a Bible. Then, we record our Biblical reasoning and write an emphatic conclusion.
Principle Approach Map Work
Furthermore, we use map work that helps us to see what was happening over the course of time:
- Who or what is in control?
- What is their form of government and belief system?
- How does that affect the people?
- What will have happen if certain nations take claim?
- How does God move the Gospel westward?
- We ask these kinds of questions as we observe the story while we study maps.
As I say, Geography is the handmade of History. In my How to Study History article I share several questions that we ask when we study His-story. Also, you can read through my article on The Principle Approach in Geography to learn more of this element.
The Principle Approach Lens
Besides that, we look at the internal-to-external qualities of individuals and nations as we study His-story. Actually, we do this in Literature as well as we observe the cause-to-effect. As we apply Word studies in literature, we’re able to find Bible principles in our character studies.
And, it’s looking at life, events, and individuals through a Providential lens. It’s kind of like how Corrie Ten Boom saw things—good, bad, ugly, whatever—it’s was about God’s Hand and what He was doing. Of note, she didn’t see some of what He was doing in individuals and in a nation until years down the road.
Principle Approach Element of Graphic Organizers and Charts
Many other philosophies and methods use graphic organizers. But it’s in the way that the Principle Approach uses them that sets it apart. But, there are certain charts that we use in our studies.
The Principle Approach Teaches Academics
Communication can be a funny thing can’t it? Sometimes individuals think that the Principle Approach is producing Bible scholars who lack academics. Quite the contrary!
But the difference is that we apply all of the above elements to our academics.
All of these elements—and some others not listed here—are used together for whole learning with the Principle Approach. So, even though they are all important independently, application of each needs to be done for a complete Principle Approach education. This is how we develop the eyes to see life with a Providential Biblical worldview.