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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What Makes a Homeschool Christian in Nature?

I received a question from Evers's brother regarding the classical education information I provided in the below post. Since it is a good question, I thought it would be beneficial to respond in a new post rather than in the comment section.

Question: is there anything that makes a classical education particularly more Christian per se, or is it simply one of a number of options for education consistent with Christian values and/or priorities?

To answer this question, I'll direct you back to the interview with Susan Wise Bauer. Mrs. Bauer said:
Why haven’t I said anything about “Christian”? Because I strongly believe that parents who are Christians will give their children a Christian education while following this pattern. . . . .
She then defines what Christian education is:
a Christian education is one that grapples with the ideas of history, science, and literature in the light of God’s truth, revealed in Scripture and through the faithful obedience of Christ’s church. If you want to give your children a classical Christian education, you’ll have to work at it; there are plenty of resources to help you, of course, but you’ll have to commit yourself to faithful membership in a local church, and to continual self-education in the foundations of your own beliefs, so that you can provide your children with the wise discipleship they need as they encounter the ideas – good and bad, true and false – of men and women throughout history.
She further defines what a Christian education is in her article entitled "A Neutral Education?" (This is a very long article but definitely well worth the read for the interested)
Christian education is that which has the knowledge of God at its core.
Christian education is not which method you employ nor what curriculum you use, rather, it is how parents educate their children. I know there are non-Christian homeschoolers who use Christian curriculum such as A Beka. These parents certainly don't uphold the Christian doctrines and will thus provide a secularized education for their children. On the other hand, Christian parents can utilize non-Christian material to give a very Christian education.

So then, does one have to employ a classical method in order for it to be Christian? No. Can one use a different method such as unit study, Charlotte Mason, or unschooling and still have a Christian education? One certainly can as long as the parents uphold the "knowledge of God at its core." I personally don't believe that classical education has an advantage over the other methods for being more Christian. Evers and I have decided on classical education because of its model (trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages). We especially like its emphasis of teaching children how to learn thus producing a lifelong love of learning. Because we are Christians, we are striving to give our children a Christian education to the glory of God.

To summarize, I'll leave you with a quote from Mrs. Bauer:
In the end, Christian education is that given to children by Christian parents who are in obedience to the elders of Christ's body, the local church.