I is for…Individuality

The next letter in our alphabet is fundamental, not just to biblical principles or to home education, but to all of life.

Individuality is where it’s at. It’s our relationship with God. It’s the biblical principle from which at the others spring. It is what gives us liberty in home education and in life. Independently dependent upon God. As we understand individuality as God intends it our relationships flourish, our liberty grows and our faith deepens.

Once we are able to truly be what God designed all the masks come off. Once we shake off conformity to the world and embrace independence in Christ we can enjoy life as God intended. It is not easy but it is immensely rewarding.

This doesn’t mean we don’t lean on others or seek relationships or guidance. Far from it! God’s Principle of Individuality helps us form tight bonds. Embracing others in their uniqueness and pulling on their strengths only serves to benefit a relationship. We add to one another and we celebrate the differences.

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.



R Road book giveaway

I haven’t had a contest in a long time and I love this book, so I thought I would give away a copy to a fortunate reader.rroadcover

Lisa Hodgen’s new book Freedom & Simplicity on the R Road to Biblical Wisdom: A “How to” Guide to Biblical Learning in Home Education is one of new favorite books. I reviewed it at The Curriculum Choice so I won’t rehash it here. Just know that I think this book gets you where you want to go in your home education journey–Wisdom’s house.

How do you win? Leave a comment about something related to Biblical wisdom–a scripture, a question or just a comment. And please read the review before you enter so you have a good idea of what the book is about. One entry per person please. I will draw randomly from all entries stamped by 9pm CST on August 31, 2009. If the winner does not claim the prize within 7 days another winner will be chosen.

Book Review: Beyond Numbers

I bought this book a year or so ago and wanted to give a review of it. Actually it will be more of a “why I like this book” kind of post. Beyond Numbers book

Beyond Numbers: A Practical Guide to Teaching Math Biblically by Katherine Loop is the most helpful introduction to teaching math with Biblical principles that I have come across. She packs a lot of food for thought into less than 100 pages, and as a busy mom I appreciate that I can read it in one night.Chapters include “Where Did Math Come From and Why Does it Work?,” Math is Not Neutral,” and “Teaching Math Biblically.” It is a concise synopsis of math’s origin, exactly how to discover principles and how to teach them to your children of all ages. She also offers  curriculum suggestions, supplement resources, and help to overcome challenges (which we all have with some child at some time).

BPA requires you to internalize the principles and ideas in order to teach them to your children and she does a good job of helping you do that.If you have a hard time with math yourself or if you struggle to get your children when math lessons come around, this book will bring the subject alive for you. As she states in the chapter “Adopting a New Heart Toward Math, “…I would encourage you to do more than just add Bible verses to your curriculum. Let God change your heart toward math….As you begin to see and use math Biblically yourself,you will be able to teach math Biblically to your children so that they too, can behold God in math.”

For more info on this book visit Christian Perspectives. They offer many mathematical resources.

Christian History Lesson 1 part 2

I am not going to list all the questions from T&L here because it is copyrighted material. I will list my answers and discuss ideas but I am not going to copy and paste all the lessons. That wouldn’t be ethical (or legal!). It is up to you to go through these lessons yourself and answer the questions and do the reading.

What is a Leading Idea?

It is an idea that leads the reader down a certain line of thinking, toward a Biblical Principle. Leading ideas get you to think and not simply regurgitate facts. They help you to form your own thoughts on a topic.

Thoughts From the Leading Ideas

America is associated with the “principle of individuality” because we were founded upon Biblical principles, this being one. Without a Christian basis, the “principle of individuality” goes away. It is a distinctly Christian idea, so if the basis is removed the idea of the individual is replaced with a socialist one.

The socialist form of government is oppressive and over reaching as it demands conformity, redistribution and dependence upon the state in lieu of individual responsibility. This is what the founding fathers understood and worked to avoid. Their knowledge of God’s Word and His plan for human government helped the founding fathers to form a government that would maximize the potential of the individual without exploiting him for the state’s benefit.

Christian History Lesson 1 part 1

To begin our study of America’s Christian History we must discuss some basic ideas.

The Christian Idea of Man

The Christian idea of man is the basis for our form of government. It is also the foundational principle that the other 6 principles of America’s Christian History and Government. It is the idea that man is created in God’s image as a unique individual. All men are therefore created equal with independent value. This is a wonderful principle to meditate on. If we are unique, equal and have value, then the state is servant to us and not master.

The Purpose of Government

The state was created for man, not the other way around. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are rights from God and the responsibility to keep them is delegated to the state. Today this weighty task is not respected by federal government, but rather it is becoming more and more irrelevant. Our government (state and federal)  is moving more toward a pagan idea of government.

The Pagan idea of Man

To the pagans (pagan meaning those who are not Christians) is that man has value as related to the state. The state has all the power to control, not protect, our liberty. We also have a society that looks to the state as keepers or even dispensers of liberty. It is a socialist idea that pervades our society today. Our citizens have not been educated on the Christian idea of man so we should not expect anything different.

I will go into more detail on the Leading Ideas (step 2) in the next post.

Individuality of subjects

The first Biblical principle we study, and the overarching principle as well, is “God’s Principle of Individuality.” This principle can be seen everywhere, and we focus on seeing it in the subjects.

If God cares about individuality, then if we study the subjects individually we are enjoying the distinctiveness of each subject. There is a rich history, diverse vocabulary and important principles that each subject contains. A goal of learning with the Biblical Principle Approach is not fact mastery but subject mastery (through principles).

We are not discussing facts but principles, so multiple grades are able to learn together. There is no need for complicated lesson plans for each child. A little modification and all your children can learn at the same time.

How can we understand the unique vocabulary and rudiments of a subject if they are all lumped together? Each subject has its own language and foundation. It is important for children to learn these in order to master the subject.

When you understand the rudiments of a subject, along with its vocabulary, you are able to see how the subjects naturally overlap and fit together. There are common principles that bring the subjects in harmony and bring a richer appreciation of all the subjects.

For more reading on the subject, these two PDF handouts are available for download.

Selected Quotes Concerning the Individuality of Subjects

My personal notes concerning unit studies vs. individuality of subjects

I have nothing against unit studies per se, I just prefer a distinct subject methodology with natural subject integration. What I mean is I do not rally around a topic but around the principle of a subject. I may pick a certain topic that several subjects will naturally fit into but I do not try to contrive lessons to fit a topic.

Once or twice a year I will do a study on a subject and the subjects will naturally integrate, such as a study on Bach (which we are starting this week). HisStory, geography, literature, English and music are all naturally covered as we read through the book, adding to our enjoyment and understanding of the life and times (and character) of Bach. The subjects add to our understanding of cause and effect, of the things that made Bach who he was. They are not disjointed facts but parts of the whole under the principle of individuality. We see how, where, with whom and when he lived contributed to his character. Along with this study we continue our math, Bible and science separately.

The subjects are beautiful and unique. I don’t want my children to miss out on the treasures that each subject contains. 

I hope this post will spark some conversation regarding the topic.  I will begin over the next several weeks to go over each of the individual subjects, beginning with history. Our Thursday chat will also correspond to the weekly subject.