I’m reading through The Shaping of Things to Come slowly, bites at a time. It’s packed with good, good stuff. Stuff I’ve been believing and talking about and seeking out for the past six years. Stuff I’ve completely
ruined altered my life over in order to take part in. As a Christ follower, it’s full of the stuff that I breathe. But I’m trying to read it through the eyes of a homeschooling mom.
It’s obvious this isn’t the perspective that the authors intended their audience to have. But one of the tenants that sent my husband and I on our present journey is to be a part of a 7-day a week church… to be the church and not go to it. You know?
So, if I’m the church every day of the week, what does that mean for my home schooling? It should have a tremendous effect. In fact, I would venture to say that Christ-centered, missional schooling at home should not at all look like schooling in a classroom. It should look more like touching the lives of others and being flexible in scheduling and curriculum. And yet at the end of the day we need to be able to say we can read and write and do math.
The three principles for the missional church are to be incarnational, messianic and apostolic. Seriously, I can’t draw direct parallels between the church and schooling at home in these terms. But there are ways to apply them.
The one thing I’m chewing on right now – because it’s the easiest – is the idea of being holistic rather than dualistic. There should be no dividing line between school time and regular time, you know? We can learn always. But I am totally guilty of wanted to “get school done” so we can get on with the rest of the day. What does it mean to “get school done” in this context though? Just cover the stuff on the S.A.T. and then we're done or merge purposefully from one idea to the next taking into consideration the needs of those both within and outside the walls of our house?
Similarly, the teaching approach needs to be holistic. And I think, in our home, it is. We do unit studies which means we integrate all the learning subjects into what we’re studying. We begin with Scripture (not saying it’s the first part of the day because it isn’t anymore) and we let where we’re going to be at in the Scripture launch us into a unit of study. For instance: We just did the Miracles of Jesus. Talked about all the different kinds of miracles (over distance, nature, disease, death), read the stories, thought about why he performed them and even memorized some scriptures. Then we moved into studies about matter, water, germs, the immune system, communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases, first aid, meeting needs, and death. We read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to see a miracle in a different context and added some activities to go along with our reading. We studied adjectives in an attempt to better describe miracles and J learned to interview someone about a miracle God did in their life (thanks Tarver!) and he wrote a feature article about it. Math was in there too, but that tends to stay on a steady path toward mastery and relating it to our subject, truthfully, doesn’t happen often.
To me this is a holistic approach to schooling. Teach to the whole child all the areas, show them WHY it’s important to know the Scripture, or know some scientific/geographic/historical/political details to help us better understand the Scripture. Conversely, show them something about the world and then what the Word says about that principle or a time when that principle is utilized in the Word. It’s all about connecting learning to life. And as much as I can involve the whole child in the process, then the more holistic our process becomes.
Anyway, lots to chew on. So, I’ll try to spit it out here from time to time. Feel free to rub off my rough edges for me.