F is for…FACE

The Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) is the largest organization in BPA. Originally in California, they moved to the east coast. Visit their About Us page here. They are the publisher of the Red Books, the Noah Plan and hundreds of other materials. (They have trademarked the phrase Principle Approach.) They are an invaluable resource for Christian history and home education the BPA way.

The Commonwealth is an online community that members can use to connect with other members, to access material from FACE and  to interact with FACE staff.

Please visit their site for info on everything BPA. They offer many articles and materials that will help you on your way.

B is for…Bible

In our trip through the BPA alphabet we can’t pass up the chance to highlight the Bible. It’s our most valued tool and our educational guidebook. All subjects have their foundations in the Bible and therefore this book must be honored here.

The Bible is also irreplaceable in core subjects like literature and HisStory. It is full of material to help your family master the subjects and see how they fit into Providential history.

As Christians we should look to God’s Word for help in every area of life. There is wisdom for how to gain wisdom, what true wisdom is and more. We learn how to interact with one another, what God feels is most important and how to relate to Him.

The Bible is the foundation for all subjects and as we turn to His word we are changed into His image more and more.

Summer Splash Tonight!

Join me and several other BPA families at 7pm CST for the Summer Splash! It kicks off our BiblePrinciples group Faceboook presence and [re]introduces our online BPA community.

We will have giveaways, door prizes and lots of great information. I’ll be there, along with Lisa of Me and My House Ministries, Renae of Life Nurturing Education and Gina of A Cherished Keeper. Mrs. Smith of Pilgrim Institute will also be on hand with information you won’t want to miss.

It only lasts an hour so don’t miss a minute of it! Be online at 7pm CST and click the picture above to join the conversation and to get in on some fantastic giveaways.

If you know a parent-teacher whom you think would like to join us, please let them know. See you there!

What exactly is a principle?

What is a principle? I’m so glad you asked! It is best to start at the beginning, after all. Webster’s 1828 defines it generally as:

PRIN’CIPLE, n. [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.

In the Biblical Principle Approach, a principle is that from which a subject springs. Principles are the foundation of the subject. It is the seed from which the subject grows. Like a seed, it contains the life and everything needed to grow in the subject.

Where do they come from? In a word, the Bible. All subjects find their origin in God as Creator. He is the source of everything.

What’s the big deal about using Biblical Principles? Well, the point is that you get to the source of the subject, the origin. Also the principles apply to the whole of the subject, helping you form a deeper understanding to (hopefully) master it. It also helps you develop a deeper appreciation of God’s way of doing things when you see how a subject is constructed. You can discover all sorts of things that apply to other areas of life and it can actually make teaching FUN because you are learning as well. It also makes teaching easier on one way. Because your lessons always point to a principle, your learning has a point beyond just filling in a worksheet. It has a greater focus which can help you do more than just get through another consumable book. It has a goal beyond finishing, and to me that helps make teaching easier.

Why teach from Biblical Principles?

It’s the way Jesus taught.The Pharisees didn’t like his approach much. They wanted facts, rules. He got to the heart of the matter. He was able to sum up the 10 commandments in two principles. His approach frustrates the flesh but gives life to the spirit. There are more examples of His teaching methods than I can list here but I recommend the book Teaching Techniques of Jesus by Herman Horne.

It’s good to begin at the beginning. You must get to the foundation of a subject in order to master it. Beginning with principles is the first step toward subject mastery.

You can teach multiple levels because you are teaching the seeds of the subjects , so you can easily adjust it for different ages. More seed for older children, little bites of kernels for  younger ones.

There is proven success teaching from Biblical principles. America’s founding fathers were educated by principles and were able to reason from God’s word. Their excellent reasoning and ability to form our constitution were a result of their Biblical education.

The subjects are alive in His word and it makes each subject exciting and important when you see how it fits into His Story.

You learn how to learn by beginning with the foundation of a subject. The steps to discovering Biblical principles apply to any subject at any time and carry across the curriculum.



Gentle BPA

With all the trappings of Biblical Principle Approach–word studies, 4-Ring, notebooks, the Red Books, Rudiments, etc., you can easily get overwhelmed and frustrated. Your idea of home education is not caught up in books and all that research, but in being with your children, learning alongside them. There is a way to do both.

  • Ease into the whole BPA mindset. It takes time and effort to reformulate your ideas of American Christian education, to get a handle on the terminology and to reflect on what you are learning. Give yourself time. How much time? As much as it takes.
  • Take one subject and deal with that. Don’t take the whole homeschooling elephant in one bite. You’ll just pull something and you’ll still be hungry.
  • Don’t make everything formal. You can ease into word studies and literature studies without making a big announcement. It’s okay to just fold these things into your homeschooling day. Pull out the Bible and the 1828 dictionary and just ask a few questions. The children will do the work for you.
  • Lower your expectations. That seems counter-intuitive to BPA philosophy, at least at first blush. But we are home educators, not classroom Master Teachers. We [probably] teach multiple grades with many subjects and to expect to become a Master Teacher in every subject is asking for a breakdown. Just keep ahead of your students. Learn alongside them. Discover things together as you dig into the Word. It’s amazing how lowered expectations can set you free and actually produce better results in the long run.
  • Think of teaching deep, not broad. The principles expand through the grades, so you get deeper and deeper, as Ms. Dang says, going 20 years deep. It’s not a smattering of learning but more like digging a well. A well your children can draw from as they learn to teach themselves.
  • Take one principle per subject per day. No need to overwhelm baby birds with too much food. It will just fall to the ground. One idea to reflect on and discuss will lead to exciting results.

What challenges do you encounter with the Biblical Principle Approach? If you are new to this methodology, what questions do you have?

5 myths of Biblical Principle Approach home education

  1. It is too labor-intensive. Yes, it does require much from the teacher. Everything in life that is worth anything has come about through struggle and toil and patience and diligence. You must internalize the principles in order to teach them. And that takes time. Too much time, it seems sometimes. But in the end the price is small compared to the rewards of seeing your children maturing in the Lord, reasoning effectively form God’s Word and exhibiting Christian character.
  2. It is too expensive. Actually the Biblical Principle Approach is economical. Real literature and other resources can be reused and enjoyed. Compared to consumable programs, BPA is affordable.
  3. It is only focused on American history. It is not. We study the whole chain of Christianity, that is, the whole timeline. Nothing in His Story happens in a vacuum. Since we study from cause to effect, we study all of history all around the world.
  4. It is classical education. BPA is not classical education after the Greek model. It is considered Biblical classical, after the Hebrew model.
  5. I can pick it up and use it right away. While the Noah Plan from the Foundation for American Christian Education has lesson plans for grades K-3, but is difficult and burnout-inducing to jump in before you have renewed your mind and formed your philosophy of education and at least gotten the basics of a BPA education under your belt. It’s not a race or a canned curriculum. It is something that takes time and effort to implement.

Best PrincipledMom Posts of 2009

As the year draws to a close, I want to list a few of my favorite posts from this year. I hope you enjoy a post or two you may have missed.

Relating to Life and Biblical Principle Approach Home Education

My place in God’s Symphony

The encouragement addiction

Creating unit studies using the Biblical Principle Approach

We are history

Average kids are gonna rule the world

Yes, home educating is my job

Life is tasty in small bites

Commonplace blogging

Relating to Bookbinding

In art, bigger really is better

Slow books

Bookmaking fun with kids

Which came first, content or concept?

Using your artistic voice

Transitioning to Biblical Principle Approach

butterflyBPA is so exciting, so life changing, so excellent that those new to this approach can, in their zeal, overdo things and burnout quickly. It can leave you feeling like you have failed or that BPA is not a fit for you. Because it requires more on the part of the parent-teacher, it takes more time to make the changes you desire to see in your homeschool.

It is not a matter of simply tossing out the old and starting fresh Monday morning. There is a process that will keep you growing, learning, and on track. I cannot stress strongly enough the word transition. It is a process, not a box you open and use right away.

First you must renew your own mind. You cannot teach it until it has been made light to you. Take time to internalize scripture, principles and the ideas of America’s Christian history before you even begin to add it to your lessons.

Then you choose one subject and 4-R that. Leave all your other materials as they are and teach only that one subject BPA. Introduce this new way of learning in history, literature or whatever subject you feel led to choose.

Add one subject each year that you teach from a BPA perspective. Baby steps will prevent burnout. Jumping in and trying to teach every subject this way from the start will leave you exhausted and frustrated.

Keep your standards high and your expectations low. Your children may struggle with ideas and producing their own work. Present one idea per lesson per day. Don’t overfeed and be patient. Let them sit with ideas and wrestle for their own education. They will own it and real learning will happen.

Making small changes over the years will get you where you want to go. Displacing ideas, Biblical reasoning and producing your own work all take time, effort and patience. As long as you understand it’s not a race but a journey, your transition can be a happy and painless one (but not without struggle!).

We have a winner!

And the Freedom & Simplicity on the R Road to Biblical Wisdom ebook goes to…

TRICIA!

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Thanks to everyone for playing. I love giveaways and hope to have another one soon. Tricia let me know where to email your book!