Noah Webster wrote, "Education is useless without the Bible." With this in mind, our family considers Bible study the most important part of our homeschool time. Our school-age children read their Bibles every morning, before they do any other subject. My husband and I have learned that we need time, wisdom, knowledge and commitment, not extra money, to bring our children up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." (See Ephesians 6:4.)
In order to read God's Word for themselves, our children needed to know how to read. In the early grades, we practiced writing large letters on a marker board, on sidewalks with chalk, and in inexpensive dollar-store workbooks. We borrowed reading software, phonics books, tapes, and videos from the library. We made our own phonics flash cards and games. Our children practiced reading and writing with Mom's homemade "dot-to-dot" Bible verses. Reading is a treat, not a chore, because we allowed later bedtime for readers. Our kids literally slept with books.
We're homeschooling on a shoestring, so we imitate Abraham Lincoln's education strategy, and borrow most of our materials. Still, we try to examine each book, CD, DVD, and CD-ROM according to God's standards, not the world's.
It saves time as well as money to check out book reviews before buying, or even borrowing, a book. You can find reviews in this magazine, Mary Pride's Big Book of Home Learning series, and online Christian sources. Veritas Academy, www.veritaspress.com, teaches classical Christianity, and offers free reviews in their catalog, free consulting by phone (May to August), and curriculum guide downloads from their web site. You can also find Christian education resources at my web site, www.eaglesnesthome.com/sources.htm.
After Bible, reading, and writing, we consider math a high priority in our homeschool. Math proves that God created order in the universe. Ten plus ten always equals twenty. God also created spiritual laws, such as the law that sin causes death. Every time. Truth is truth. The Bible talks about weights, measures, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, tithing, debtors and borrowers (don't be either one). If you'd like to find out what the Bible says about math, use a concordance or Bible search program to look up math terms.
Our family usually just used inexpensive department-store math workbooks instead of expensive textbooks in K-6 grades. We also practiced real-world math activities to teach God's view of wise spending and generosity. We hope to help our children avoid our financial mistakes in buying, borrowing, lending, or spending.
Just as math demonstrates God's consistent laws, so does nature. A scientist has a religious bias (the religion of humanism) if his worldview will not allow the possibility of intelligent design in creation. Books with an evolutionary bias include facts that support evolution, and exclude facts that support intelligent design.
We regularly hear reports of scientific mistakes, arguments, reversals, and outright fraud. The scientific wonder of the hour is next week's joke, or tragedy. Christian families can choose to scrutinize the shifting changes of science, ignore them, or blindly accept them. We can examine scientific claims carefully, and believe God's word over current scientific fads.
Evolutionism bombards our children everywhere, in popular magazines, toys, news programs, storybooks. Science resources that support creation may be limited, and hard to locate.
Look in Christian resource catalogs to find interesting science titles. Libraries will usually put the few available creation science books in the "religion" section and the evolutionism books in the science section! If your local library doesn't own the materials that you're interested in, don't give up. Somewhere in the country, a library owns the book you want. Most libraries will order resources for you through inter-library loan. Just ask your local librarian. In addition, you may unearth Christian science texts at your local used bookstore, garage sale or thrift store. I have even found creation books (mysteriously in perfect condition!) sold at library book sales. On the Internet, check out the Institute for Creation Research at www.icr.org and Answers In Genesis at www.AnswersInGenesis.org.
What about all the "extra" subjects? Your state or district may require that you teach them. However, you can choose "how" you teach. Major differences exist between the concepts of social studies and history/geography. Christianity and Western civilization will appear to be the villain in social studies textbooks. You won't learn that our legal system developed from English Common Law, and prior to that the Bible. You won't read about the influence that America's pastors had on the Revolutionary War. Social studies texts may subtly or bluntly endorse socialism, and systematically eliminate references to America's Christian heritage.
Due to this change in worldview, "It is painfully apparent that many of our own youth have lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Many no longer pursue their parents' dreams and values but instead absorb the warped values of a sick society." (Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler, Right From Wrong, Word Publishing, Dallas, TX, 1994)
Many Christian homeschool families opt out of social studies, and choose to study history and geography. They order a few books from catalogs and borrow the rest. Historical literature can nourish a love for history in the elementary grades, if you also supplement your studies with timelines and maps. You can create your own timelines on inexpensive mural paper. I've even used old discarded wallpaper books for timelines.
Often Christian families focus on unit studies for history and geography. They intensively study a topic, say, toys. Families could study toys in ancient civilizations, in the Middle Ages, in the Renaissance, in the Reformation, etc. They study maps to find out where the children lived who played with the toys. They may even want to reproduce historical toys. A creative family could easily and inexpensively learn everything about toys through library, encyclopedia, and Internet resources. As you learn together, ask your children, "What did the toys of the period illustrate about the society's worldview?"
If you prefer to avoid textbooks, try Peter Marshall's American history storybooks and coloring books for children, such as The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea. Diana Waring offers high-interest history tapes and books, at www.dianawaring.com through her Elementary Activity books series (for instance, World Empires, Missions, Wars). Study geography and current events from a Christian perspective with World magazine at www.worldmag.com, or your church's missionary magazine. You can also rediscover your nation's Biblical heritage from used texts and original historical sources. Look into William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, and the diary and journal (travel log) of Christopher Columbus.
Find original historical excerpts at libraries and on the Internet. Search on the Internet for the exact title, in quotation marks, plus the author's name. "Of Plymouth Plantation" + "William Bradford" netted the Mayflower Pages web site at members.aol.com/calebj/bradford.html, as well as many other web links.
Homeschoolers can consider foreign languages, art, and music in the context of what God says in the Bible. A study of the arts and languages can develop skills for ministry, aid in worship, bring joy to others and self, and even provide for an eventual career.
If you have little money, interest, or talent in the arts, you can still find ways to develop your child's gifts. You can learn computer graphics, painting, crafts, keyboarding, guitar, and many other instruments from borrowed library books, CD-ROMS, DVDs, and videos. If you have Internet access, you can use a search engine to find free music and art lessons to download. Be specific. The keywords "free Christian guitar lessons" netted over 72,000 web sites. A search for "free homeschool Christian worship guitar lessons" yielded only ninety.
One homeschool family receives the gift of piano lessons from a grandparent. Some families trade for lessons or instrument rental or join homeschool co-ops. In a co-op, families meet together and take turns teaching classes. One crafty parent may teach art, while another might excel at and teach writing.
You don't need an expensive instrument, unless your child shows an unusual interest or talent in music. Quality recorders, harmonicas, and keyboards can make beautiful music, and can cost less than a meal away from home. You can also buy used instruments at thrift stores, music stores, garage sales, or from private individuals.
I collect and play about a half dozen instruments - all of them badly, unfortunately. I acquired most of my instruments used. One instrument - an inexpensive lap harp - is so easy, it even makes me sound like a musician. You place the music sheets under the string, and follow the dots. You can buy a new lap harp for as little as forty dollars, and they make great birthday or Christmas gifts from grandparents (hint, hint!) Art materials can also make great gifts, and because they get used up, you can give them again and again.
Find inexpensive instruments from RhythmBand at www.rhythmband.com and Mountain Ocarinas, mountainocarinas.com/index.htm. Locate ideas and resources for Christian arts and crafts from sources such as Keepers of the Faith, www.keepersofthefaith.com and Christian Creations, www.christiancreations.com.
Whatever the subject, a biblical worldview will "take every thought captive" to the glory of God (2 Cor. 10:5). Alpha Omega (www.home-schooling.com), Bob Jones University Press (www.bjupress.com), Christian Liberty Academy (www.homeschools.org), Mastery Publications (www.masterypublications.com), Vision Forum (www.visionforum.com), and many other publishers, offer unapologetically Christian education materials.
Also try these free or inexpensive Bible study publications:
- Online Bibles and Exhaustive Concordances at www.biblegateway.com
- Download a free electronic Bible, in many different languages at www.scriptures.com.
- Seeds, PO Box 563, Monroe, CT 06468, www.tracts.com, offers free Christian tracts - sent by mail or electronically. Use them to teach your children, or reach out to others.
- Chick also offers free tracts online, at www.chick.com.
- Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 80587, Atlanta, GA 30366; 770-458-9300, 800-763-5433 (to order) www.walkthru.org, offers materials such as memory cards and coloring books to memorize the Bible.
- Bold Christian Living, www.boldchristianliving.com, provides materials for memorizing Scripture as a joyful part of home schooling.
- You may wish to search www.yahoo.com or your favorite Internet search engine, under "tracts," "Bible study," "Bible" or your denomination for other free offers.
Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library