Developing an Educational Philosophy
By Chuck and Pam Geib
If you were a fly on our wall you would have seen a very silly sight recently. There sat a middle aged, gray headed grandmother weeping uncontrollably while she folded laundry. The truth is I was caught up in a moment with our Lord. The joy of loving Him and catching a small glimpse of how much He loves me overwhelmed me and the tears flowed. I made a mental note of admonition, “You are just an emotional Christian.”
From that thought others came tumbling into my mind. Why was I so emotional about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? My grandmother immediately came to mind. She was my role model along with my own mother. They loved the Lord and their love was openly shared and demonstrated to me often. One way of their showing me was in the tangible giving of my great grandfather’s Bible from my grandmother to my mother. My mother wept and cherished his copy of the Word of God. Both women often spoke of Albert’s love of the Lord and his faithfulness to Him.
Moving forward in time I could not help but wonder about my precious grandchildren. Would they one day weep with love for Jesus Christ? I did not have to think long, of course they would. Not only did they have a Christian lineage from their paternal grandmother but they also have a very long one from their maternal grandfather. His roots go all the way back to the Mayflower for he is a descendant of William Brewster (1565-1644) the Pilgrim’s first reverend Elder at Plymouth Plantation.
Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” This Scripture implies we have to do something to pass on our belief system to our children and they in turn to their children. In developing a philosophy of education one of the questions we may ask ourselves is “what” are we to teach our children. In our own family’s philosophy our what was a godly heritage. Discipling our children was a cornerstone of our philosophy.
When making plans for our school year a brief look at our philosophy of education always helped. It gave us a master plan of what we wanted to pass on to our children. It made making choices of what curriculum to use that much easier. It answered questions like, “Should we use these books because they were given to us and they are free?” Sounds like a simple question, however, if those books did not aid in discipling our children, if they were written from a humanistic point of view, then free or not it would not accomplish the master plan. Therefore the answer became easy. No, we will save our pennies and purchase books that will enable us to accomplish our goal.
Another cornerstone of our philosophy of education was the question “who”. To a homeschooling family this may seem like an obvious question. However, it can trip us up. Perhaps we are thinking of doing co-op classes or teacher lead classes or many-many other options of classes. By knowing the “who” should teach our children the question was made easier. Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” It is our responsibility to do the teaching. This gave us the liberty to refrain from many offerings made to homeschoolers. We the parents were the “who”.
Where should we homeschool? It seems obvious that the major part of the compound word: homeschool is home. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
One does not homeschool long before they learn that homeschooling is a 24/7 responsibility. Some of the best teaching times are when we are in our cars going to or from an appointment. However, our primary learning place is in our homes. Children love routines. They thrive on them. Giving them that routine daily in our homes helps their learning experience.
How do we teach our children? We very much wanted our children to become independent learners. We wanted them to be able to explore their interests not only when they were young and in our home but also when they became adults. Deuteronomy 6:2 tells us “so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
Children become independent learners by seeing that example set before them. Do we want them to know how to find answers in God’s Word? We example looking things up ourselves. Do we want them to be able to find out how something works? We example finding books that tell us how things work and have them available in our homes for our children to use and use them ourselves.
Why do we homeschool? Besides wanting to disciple our children we also wanted to instill in their hearts a love of learning. A life long quest to know more, especially more about our Heavenly Father. We see in Psalms 1:2 that the Psalmist delights in learning God’s law: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” This was our deepest hope and desire.
In developing your own family’s educational philosophy we encourage you to answer the questions: Who, what, where, how, and why. It will become a foundation for every important decision you make in curriculum choices and teaching approaches.
Copyright 2008. Chuck and Pam Geib. Reprinted by CHEA of California with permission of the authors.
Chuck and Pam Geib home educated their two younger sons through graduation and beyond. They have spoken at homeschooling conventions and have written many articles. They are presently serving as Regional Advisory Board Members for CHEA of California