Why Christian Homeschooling Parents Need to Define Education

As a Christian homeschool mom, I have come to love many things about education. In fact, Word studies are just one of my favorite activities to do. And they’re an integral part of our Christian education in our homeschool because essentially they’re Bible studies for our homeschool subjects. In addition to digging deep into God’s Word, I enjoy pondering and seeing connections. Plus, they help with developing pictures of ideas in my mind. As a result, they aid me with better understanding of the subject at hand.

For our Christians Homeschooling With Bible Principles facebook group, members may participate in a bi-weekly Word Study Wednesday challenge. And these are perfect for practicing the 4R method of research, reason, relate, and record. To begin with, our first word to study is education. Therefore, this word is the focus of this article.

Now, perhaps this idea doesn’t thrill you. Even so, I’d love for you to accept my invitation to go through this Word study with me. And see for yourself how rich it is. If you find that it’s something you’d like to participate in, please send  a request to join our group. In the meantime, why not learn what it’s like to apply the Principle Approach® method to your personal education?

Modern Definitions of Education

Although you may be familiar with the modern definitions, let’s cover two examples to be sure.

Dictionary.com defines education as:

“1. The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life; 2. The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession;  a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education; 4. the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education; 5. the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.”

Merriam-Webster.com defines education as:

“a. the action or process of educating or of being educated; also a stage of such a process; b. the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process: a person of little education; 2. the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools.”

As can be seen, these definitions are similar to each other. Since they’re modern, are these the definitions that you’re familiar with? And are they what you embrace as the true meaning of education? Important to understand is that these definitions leave out integral aspects to the true meaning of education. But perhaps the most upsetting matter of all, is that Merriam-Webster.com claims to be “since 1828.” However, their definition is quite a contrast to the original definition that Mr. Noah Webster researched and penned.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Comparatively, this is what Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines education as:

“Educate, v.t. [L. educo, educare; e and duco, to lead; It. educare; Sp. educar.] To bring up, as a child; to instruct; to inform and enlighten the understanding; to instill into the mind principles of arts, science, morals, religion and behavior. To educate children well is one of the most important duties of parents and guardians.

“Educated, pp. Brought up; instructed; furnished with knowledge or principles; trained; disciplined.

“Education, n. The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

Catching the Differences

In the first place, where in the modern definitions do you see that teaching and learning morals is present? Do you take notice of how Webster connected, “religion and behavior” together? By this he means to be self-governed under Christ for character formation. Additionally, parents and guardians seem to be missing from the modern definitions. In the light of Scripture, which Webster turned to, the weight of education is given to the parents and guardians. This does give one pause, doesn’t it? By omission of parents and guardians, it’s implied that education belongs to the state. And many of us see a plethora of problems with that right there.

Plus, the root words and their meanings are missing. And as you keep reading, I think you’ll see how it’s important to have access to those. Because they help to form images and ideas about the true meanings of the words. Furthermore, they act as an anchor for true definitions. And in a world where some try to make definitions drift away from the ship of Truth, we need to have the anchor.

Equally important to those areas of education are manners, correcting the temper, training, discipline, and principles. Of note, each of these tie into self-government.

An Example of How Root Words are a Benefit

If you pay attention to the root words for habit, you’ll get a clear picture of why this is important.

HAB’ITnoun [Latin habitus, from habeo, to have to hold.]

Right there: “to have to hold.” For whatever has a hold of an individual, it will manifest as either a good or bad habit. It’s the whole internal to external and cause to effect matter. In order to bless individuals and those who live with them throughout life, self-government must be taught. Thinking governmentally must be what has a hold of individuals.

Parents, listen to Webster’s admonition: “…an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.” We each need to be intentional about our duties as correctly defined in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. If we don’t, we’ll only participate in the downward spiral that we’re currently witnessing in our nation.

Defining Key Words

In the definitions of educate, educated, and education, I made bold key words that I want to define. Provided that you’ll hopefully do your own Word study on education, I’ll not go into each possible keyword. But I’ll share a few from my study and my thoughts on them. To be clear, these are the keywords we’ll dive into: instruct, inform, enlighten, and principle.

Defining Instruct

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines instruct as:

“Instruct, v.t. [L. instruco, instructum, in and struo, to set up or to put on, to furnish…] 1. To teach; to inform the mind; to educate; to impart knowledge to one who was destitute of it; 5. To model ; to form; to prepare.”

Some key Bible verses I look noted: Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:9; Proverbs 19:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 6:4

Defining the Keyword Inform

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines inform as:

“Inform, v.t. [Fr. informer; Sp. informar; It. informare; L. informo. to shape; in and formo, forma, form] Properly, to give form or shape to, but in this sense not used. 1. To animate; to give life to; to activate by vital powers; 2. To instruct; to tell to; to acquaint; to communicate knowledge to; to make known to by word or writing; usually followed by of.”

Defining Enlighten

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines enlighten as:

“Enlighten, v.t. enli’tn. [from light; Sax. enligton, onlightan.] 1. To make light; to shed light on; to supply with light; to illuminate; as, the sun enlightens the earth; 2. To quicken to the faculty of vision; to enable to see more clearly; 3. To give light to; to give clearer views; to illuminate; to instruct; to enable to see or comprehend truth; as, to enlighten the mind or understanding; 4. To illuminate with divine knowledge, or a knowledge of the truth.”

Some key Bible verses I look noted:100

Defining Principles

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines principles as:

“Principle, n. [It. principio; Fr. principe; L. principium, beginning.] 1. In a general sense, the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds; as the principle of motion; the principles of action; 3. Ground; foundation, an action, or a series of actions or of reasoning.

“Principle, v.t. To establish or fix in tenets; 2. To establish firmly in the mind.”

Defining Moral

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines moral as:

“Moral, a. [Fr. Sp. moral; It. morale; L. moralis, from mos, moris, manner. The elements of this word are probably Mr.; but I know not the primary sense…] 1. Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong.”

Writing Out My Philosophy of Education

As I give it more thought, I’m certain that I’ll refine my definition from last year’s. But instead of reading my summary of reasoning and relating, you have the pleasure of writing your own.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, as individuals, your Word studies will differ from mine. Instead of settling for aspects of mine, I hope you dive in and do your own Word study on education. As parents we’re busy, true. But surely we can set time aside to get into God’s Word and look up definitions and jot down our reasoning, too. Among the many hours of the day, we need to make time for this. Truly, it’s a part of our self-care. Because it has to do with our personal growth.

May you find encouragement and make the time for this much needed area of self-care.

The Principled Academy, Principled Academy, Principle Approach, Homeschool, Hebrew Homeschool, Homeschool Torah

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