My husband has nearly a decade of Jr. High and High School teaching experience and comes from a family of teachers from both Christian and Public Schools. I, on the other hand, was a philosophy major, so while I’d done a whole lot of thinking about education I didn’t have any practical field experience. Their observations and experience have influenced me a lot in designing an education plan for our family. My own father who is almost entirely self-educated has also been a huge influence. Before our first child was even born I thought I had a pretty thorough idea of what a good Christian education should consist of and how it should be implemented.
Then we had boys. None of the dozens of books on parenting and homeschooling I read could prepare me for the unique challenge of creating a healthy learning environment in a house full of males. The God Made Known plan was born through a lot of trial and error and an understanding of the special giftedness God equipped men with to carry out His mandates.
In the first 2 chapters of Genesis eight different directives are given to Adam to fulfill. Four are found in chapter 1 verses 26-30: to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, to subdue the earth, to have dominion over it, and to use the plants (and later on animals) for food. Four more are in chapter 2 verses 15-19: to work the garden, to keep it, to obey His commands and to give names to all the creatures. The dominion mandates were not given to Adam without the appropriate skills and drives to carry them out. Adam was perfectly capable of fulfilling every task God called on him to perform. Unfortunately, sin marred all that and now a fallen world not only encourages the sons of Adam to indulge those God-given drives in ungodly ways but at the same time seeks to subdue and emasculate them all together.
Our biggest challenge in educating boys is to do it in a way that both equips them to fulfill the dominion mandate and nurtures and appropriately directs their God-given drives to fulfill it. This means preparing them to joyfully anticipate their roles as husband and father, but also to abstain from immorality. It means giving them a shovel and letting them dig senselessly in the dirt as long as they leave the neighbors posies alone. It means letting them have pets to train and take care of but never to show cruelty to one of God’s creatures. It means letting them eat (and eat and eat) while keeping their bodies healthy and strong. It means giving them a space of their own to tend and letting them play at war to keep and defend it. It means training them to obey without making little Pharisees out of them. And it means teaching them the names of everything in the world around them and showing them God’s divine design in it all.
With all this in mind, our intent is to provide an environment where our boys are free to be boys and instill in them a love for learning about God through the World He has made, the Word He has breathed, and the Workers He has commissioned to carry out His plans. An immersion approach to the natural sciences following the order of their creation has offered the perfect framework for our boys to truly dig-in and explore the world around them. Foundational to this is the discovery of light shed from scripture on the sciences through the memorizing of topic related Bible passages and the singing of related hymns. God’s work in and through His people throughout the ages provides structure and context to the histories. I highly recommend with young children to take a Jerusalem, Judea …Ends of the Earth approach to the social sciences by spending a year studying family history, then a year on local history and another on state history before tackling any traditionally structured history texts. Phonics, reading, writing and math we keep as simple as is appropriate for their age and understanding. Literature for boys means reading aloud as many action packed stories as we can possibly fit in, many of which are straight from the Bible. Art is simply giving them lots of supplies and time enough to make whatever kind of mess or masterpiece their heart desires. And P.E.? Well that just never ends.