We homeschoolers have an advantage here, simply because we have more time in each day to spend with our children. Sadly, our good intentions are often sidetracked by “necessities” like school, chores, and other things in our schedules.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use the Bible as our primary textbook so that all our homeschooling conversations and activities centered around God’s Word?
How would we actually go about doing this? Here are some tips:
It might seem obvious that the Bible should be the primary textbook for teaching the Bible, but so often, curriculum, character studies, and good story books become our main tools. Instead, consider…
- Reading directly from the Bible with your children every day. (A logical place to start is at the beginning!)
- Teaching your children to use their own Bibles (finding passages in their Bibles, reading it with expression).
- Discussing the Bible with your children as you read it together.
- Memorizing portions of the Bible with your children.
- Journaling/notebooking about what you’ve read.
The Bible contains a wealth of reading material, and mothers have been using the family Bible for centuries to teach their children how to read. Consider…
- Spending half an hour with your beginning reader each day, reading WITH and TO them from God’s Word. Follow this with a few minutes of direct phonics instruction.
- If your child doesn’t know a word or can’t sound something out, help him. Make reading fun, not stressful.
- Daily practice is best. Make consistency a priority in your day.
If you think about it, you don’t really need an expensive handwriting curriculum. Learning to write is simply a matter of figuring out technique then getting lots of practice. Consider…
- Teach proper handwriting technique first by letters, then by phonograms (letter combinations such as sh, th, ing), then by words and sentences.
- Once technique is learned, graduate to copying verses and paragraphs from the Bible. Have your student add favorite passages to his personal notebook.
- Remember that kings were told to copy God’s Law and keep this copy with them (Deuteronomy 17:18). This is an excellent idea for training little princes and princesses, too!
Learning proper grammar is really just as simple as analyzing a sentence or two from your Bible each day. Use these 5 steps…
- Identify prepositions and prepositional phrases (marking them with parenthesis).
- Identify sentence patterns.
- Find complements (such as adjectives and adverbs).
- Find subordinate clauses and identify their functions.
- Diagram the sentence.
(For more information on how to teach grammar, see this blog post.)
Teaching Spelling and Vocabulary
The Bible is rich in vocabulary, as well as challenging spelling words. As your students encounter difficult words (in their journaling and other writing), add these to an alphabetized list in their notebooks. Consider…
- Teaching spelling with phonics instruction first.
- Teaching common spelling rules.
- Teaching roots, prefixes and suffixes so students can use these to figure out the meaning and spelling of unfamiliar words.
If you think about it, writing is just learning to talk slowly. If you can teach your kids to talk, then you can teach them to write. Also, writing improves when you study the writing techniques of good writers. Again, the Bible contains the best examples of writing! Consider…
- Discussing what you read together from the Bible. (Again, writing is just slow talking.)
- Having your children tell back to you (“narrate”) what they are learning from the Bible. As they talk, Mom should write (or type) their words onto paper.
- Learn how a Bible passage is put together by outlining it together. Try to “put it back together again” in written form by looking at the outline.
Arithmetic teaches children that God is orderly and that His laws govern all of His creation. They also learn to be precise, exact, neat, and disciplined in their work. Consider…
- Using a math curriculum that emphasizes these values.
- Drilling your children so that they can memorize and recall math facts quickly. This will enable more than just math understanding; in addition, your children will learn to work with excellence.
- Doing studies of Bible characters who excelled at math and learning why God chose to use them for His purposes.
- Working a weekly “story problem” from the Bible, such as the size and mass of Noah’s ark, the dimensions of the tabernacle or temple, timelines and dates, the size of people groups, money, weights and measurements, distances between locations, and more.
The Bible is rich in historical topics, but we should also remember that it contains the only record of history from God’s perspective (“His story”). It is possible to teach all of the world’s history using the Bible, from ancient to modern, from geography to all of the world’s people groups (see Genesis 10). Some resources:
Science should always be viewed from the perspective that there is a Creator and that He is in charge of His creation. Consider…
- Beginning with creation for younger children. Cement creationism as a fact in their minds. Good resources are available from Answers in Genesis and Jeannie Fulbright.
- Teaching children the tricks evolutionists use in their arguments, and showing your children the principles of logic so that these tricks can be refuted. Good resources are available from the Truth Project and Summit Ministries, among many others.
- Help your students apply good science to what they’re learning by doing a yearly science project inspired from their Bible reading.
Next Thursday (August 6, 2pm CST) I’ll be speaking on this topic at the HOTM Parenting and Home Education Conference. I’ll be going into much greater detail on each point, showing you resources we use in our home. You’ll also have a chance to ask me questions. I hope to “see” you there!