Do you have an educational philosphy? It can help guide your homeschool decisions and help you through the difficult times. This is my educational philosophy, divided into three parts: my beliefs about education, my goals for education and how I plan to go about getting there (actions).
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
God is completely sovereign. As such, He directs our paths and we answer to Him not man in all we do. I believe that the Christian is to be governed internally, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in voluntary obedience to Him. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10), our first and primary task in education is discipling our children to understand the nature of God.
The Nature of Knowledge
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
Mary Slessor, former missionary to Nigeria, said she did not consider a man educated until he understood that God was Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So that is where she began. This challenged me to really begin looking at knowledge in a different way. I view the basis of knowledge to be the recognition that God is holy, we are sinners, there is but one path to salvation and all of scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness. This is the firm foundation upon which we may build our house.
Achievement in other areas serves two purposes. First is to glorify God. We learn more about Him through His creation. This includes works of great literature, science, mathematics, history and all the subject areas. Second is to “subdue” the earth. Essentially this means (to me) that mastery of a subject should lead to useful application to our lives or the lives of others.
Learning occurs by the guiding and direction of someone who knows more than the child. Delivery, or transmission (also known as lecturing), is an efficient means of delivering the facts of a subject, but it makes the student dependent upon the instructor for his ideas. The facts of the subject are important, but they are secondary to the purpose of the subject. True knowledge of a subject comes from an understanding of its principles and purposes. A child needs to learn to reason from these principles and purposes, using the facts of the subject to support his views.
Role of the Child
Children are considered “the heritage of the Lord.” (Psalm 127:3) They are entrusted into our care to lead and prepare for service to Him. We are to “train up” our children, a word which in its original language means something closer to initiate or educate. God has a plan for their lives and we have a responsibility to help them discover that plan and prepare them for it. We are to love them unconditionally, accepting them, encouraging them and challenging them. Most important is developing in them a sense of their own worth in Christ.
Because I view each of us as independently accountable before God, I believe we must do our best to instill in our children a sense of ownership and accountability. We need to challenge them and allow them to struggle with their decisions. We need to allow them to fail occasionally, although we certainly do not set up failure for them. We need to set up clear boundaries and clear objectives. When a child does not meet an expectation, I believe he should be held personally accountable. “I forgot” means it wasn’t imporant enough to me to take the effort to remember. “He started it” means the child thinks he is accountable to man and not to God. I do not believe that children should be allowed to blame mistakes on environmental conditions because I want to teach them to overcome their environment rather than be a victim of it.
Role of the teacher
I believe the parent holds the sole authority for the education of the child. I do not have a problem with the idea of public education, but in our current system, that involves giving over parental authority to the state. Wherever and however we choose to educate our children, the consequences will be born by the parents.
James chapter 3 gives warning to teachers and tells us we will be held to a higher standard. We cannot expect our children to follow anywhere we do not lead. The most effective teaching is through the leading of godly parents. My children imitate me in everything, both the good and the bad.
A good teacher is temperate, merciful, loving and leads by example. I think that all of Titus, although not specifically directed at mothers raising their children, is applicable to the most desired character traits of one who would be considered a teacher.