Friday, December 7, 2012

How Will I Know What To Teach?

Man is created by God in God’s image. We belong to God.

Man is a fallen sinner; (“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “There is none righteous, no, not one.”)Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10

“Children are a gift of God and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Psalms 127:3

We, as parents are responsible to God for all that our children learn, (including the words learned on the playground).

“Teach God’s Words unto your children when you get up in the morning, work, shop, and rest at night.” (Paraphrase)

This leaves no large amounts of time for children to be away at school unless we can trust the school to teach God’s Words as we understand them. We should keep our little ones with us nearly every waking moment, whenever possible, fulfilling God‘s commands by teaching them constantly.

But what are God’s Words? Well, the most obvious answer is the Bible.

A working knowledge of the Bible is essential to the Christian walk. Thus, in order to truly teach our children God’s Words we must teach them to read well, so they may read the Bible for themselves. You simply get a far deeper understanding of God’s Word when you do.

We must also teach the Bible directly. I believe we should teach the Bible as if our children are going to be tested on it, because you know what?

They will be.

Life is the most important test they will ever take and the Bible holds all the answers. I feel we should devote as much or more time to the Bible than to any other subject.

Actually, all Americans should study the Bible, regardless of their religious persuasion because of its historic, literary, and cultural value.

The Bible is a document of unequaled historical value. It was written by eyewitnesses to the events portrayed and has never been proven wrong, despite centuries of scholars and skeptics trying.

It contains some of the most beautiful poetry and prose the world has ever seen.

And much of our culture is based on the Bible. Without knowledge of the Bible, a person is severely handicapped in understanding the many references to it that pepper our language and even other literary works (such as Shakespeare).

Even the funny papers refer to the Bible. A short time ago, one Sunday’s funnies had Biblical references in three different strips, and it wasn’t even Christmas or Easter!

“And God said ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

God SAID… God spoke this universe into existence; thus, the study of this universe is the study of the results of God’s Words. We call this Science.

“Science is thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” -Isaac Newton.

We need to teach our children how the world works in all the different areas; Biology, Geology, Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, and yes, Beginning Theories. I believe all children should be taught both Evolution and Creation. Both meet the criteria for both science and religion (some of the strongest statements of faith I have ever heard came from Evolutionists concerning their beliefs of origins.

Evolutionists have a faith based belief about God- that He doesn’t exists; an un-provable. Evolution is a religion).

Those of us who don’t believe in evolution do believe our children should understand it so they can “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. “ 1 Peter 3:15

History is His Story, the story of God’s communication with man and man’s response. Communication is words. To teach without God in History is to teach that history is controlled by humans and by implication, that we humans will either destroy ourselves or figure out how to get it “right.”

(Unless of course you teach that evolution controls our destiny. In either case you have just exchanged the One God with another -humans or nature.)

The Bible says God puts those in power that He wants in power and removes them when He wants to. (Romans 13:1)

He controls the destiny of nations today just as He did in the Bible (though He no longer singles out any one nation as His Own as He did with ancient Israel Galatians 3:28). To truly understand History we must account for God’s Hand. Teaching History, then, is teaching God’s Words.

Art Appreciation in any form, (painting, sculpture, music, dance, literature, poetry, etc.) is studying what others have to say about the world and by extension God. Art is actually a big part of History and should be studied for the same reasons.

The introduction to the Abeka book catalog states; “Math is the language God used to create the world.”

Think about that. Our world is put together in exact, mathematical proportions. From the very distance to the sun (if this was off by very little, life would not be possible) to how many needles are in each cluster on a pine tree, (it is always odd, though the number varies with the species).

If math is the “language” God used, then math could easily be called His Words. Our understanding of math may be flawed, but I do not believe pure math is. It is a creation of God just like the laws of Physics. We must teach it to the best of our understanding. It is His Words.
(See Mathmatics: Is God Silent)

Jesus also says “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15

 Since we don’t know which method God will call our children to use to fulfill this command, I believe we must expose them to the skills needed for many different methods of preaching to others about God; painting, dance, music, in fact all the arts I mentioned above, plus foreign language, debate, acts of charity, journalism, novel writing and public speaking. This sounds like a lot more then it is.

First, Language Arts (spelling, grammar, composition) are necessary for everyone to sound intelligent and informed; not just future journalists and novelists.

“What so ever you do in word or deed do all in the name of Christ.” Colossians 3:17

We should strive for excellence in everything. People will listen to what we say much more if we spell it right or sound like we have more than a kindergarten education. Practice with debate and public speaking helps here, also.

I am teaching Latin to my children (and myself!). Half of the English language is Latin based, and it is the hard half at that.

50% of any Science course is vocabulary. Scientific vocabulary is Latin based. Thus, knowing Latin, my children will already know half of any Science they begin to study.

SAT scores are higher among those that know Latin.

And if my children need to learn any Romance (descended from Rome; Spanish, French, Italian, etc.) language they already know a good deal of it.

Other languages will be easier also (third languages are easier to learn then second even if they are not related).

Latin, being a dead language, has a grammar structure based on logic (it has been tweaked by scholars since its death to make it more logical and is now stable, unlike “living languages” that are constantly changing) thus building logic pathways in the brain when you learn it. These pathways can be used by algebra, science and life in general.

In short, Latin is a stepping stone, a tool for learning other things easier.

I am also teaching (and learning) Greek, Hebrew and Spanish.

Spanish is the unofficial second language in this country. It is probably the most useful, modern second language in America.

If you travel a lot you may consider French instead. I understand more people speak it internationally.

Either way, it gets the children started thinking in another language and can be fun when you meet someone who speaks it and you can actually talk to them.

It also opens the door to allow you to fulfill the Great Commission with more people.

(Amusing side story: When my brother worked at 7-Eleven, he was warned by his boss that some of the local emigrants would bring groceries up to the counter and pretend not to understand English until you were so frustrated you let them go without paying the whole amount. My brother had three years of Spanish in high school, so when they first tried this on this new, blonde gringo, he grinned and repeated price in clear Spanish. They grumbled and paid the full bill. The next time they came in they spoke perfect English.  

Update: My brother has since married an emigrant and now leads Spanish worship in his mega church. He had no idea when he took those classes in high school that they would be so valuable to him later in life. 

In the same way, we have no idea what God has planned for our children. If He puts it on your heart to learn a language, LEARN IT!)

Logic. Our God is a logical God. As I stated earlier, this world is put together in a very mathematical way. Math is actually one dialect of Logic. The two are sister subjects.

The formal study of logic helps us to understand what people are really saying and protect us from lies and distortions. It also helps us to present our God’s side of issues in a more effective manner.

 Does logic sound intimidating? It isn’t. I am studying it with my children now and am really enjoying it.

Let me give you an example of a formal logic argument;
All cats are mammals.
No cat is a dog.
Thus no dog is a mammal
[all A are B. No B are C. thus no C are A]
(this is a very bad form of argument. Follow this form and you will never get a correct answer).

Now try this;
All dogs are mammals.
All mammals are four legged animals.
Thus all dogs are four legged animals.
[All A are B. All B are C. Thus all A are C]
This form, if used with true starting statements, will give you correct answers every time.

The mathematical way of saying this is if 1+2=3 and 2+1=3 then 1+2=2+1.

Same thing, different language.

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