Using the Bible As Your Primary Textbook

We know that the Bible says we are to impress God’s commands on our children by talking about them when we sit, walk, lie down and get up (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). That’s all the time!

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:

Teaching Bible

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…

  1. Reading directly from the Bible with your children every day. (A logical place to start is at the beginning!)
  2. Teaching your children to use their own Bibles (finding passages in their Bibles, reading it with expression).
  3. Discussing the Bible with your children as you read it together.
  4. Memorizing portions of the Bible with your children.
  5. Journaling/notebooking about what you’ve read.

Teaching Reading

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…

  1. 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.
  2. If your child doesn’t know a word or can’t sound something out, help him. Make reading fun, not stressful.
  3. Daily practice is best. Make consistency a priority in your day.

Teaching Handwriting

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…

  1. Teach proper handwriting technique first by letters, then by phonograms (letter combinations such as sh, th, ing), then by words and sentences.
  2. Once technique is learned, graduate to copying verses and paragraphs from the Bible. Have your student add favorite passages to his personal notebook.
  3. 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!

Teaching Grammar

Learning proper grammar is really just as simple as analyzing a sentence or two from your Bible each day. Use these 5 steps…

  1. Identify prepositions and prepositional phrases (marking them with parenthesis).
  2. Identify sentence patterns.
  3. Find complements (such as adjectives and adverbs).
  4. Find subordinate clauses and identify their functions.
  5. 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…

  1. Teaching spelling with phonics instruction first.
  2. Teaching common spelling rules.
  3. Teaching roots, prefixes and suffixes so students can use these to figure out the meaning and spelling of unfamiliar words.

Teaching Writing

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…

  1. Discussing what you read together from the Bible. (Again, writing is just slow talking.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Teaching Math

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…

  1. Using a math curriculum that emphasizes these values.
  2. 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.
  3. Doing studies of Bible characters who excelled at math and learning why God chose to use them for His purposes.
  4. 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.

Teaching History

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:

  1. http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/curriculum/history-grammar.html
  2. http://www.nothingnewpress.com/atta.shtml
  3. http://www.mottmedia.com/pages/publications.asp?Pub=beechick
  4. http://dianawaring.com/ancientciv/index.html
  5. http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/christinemiller/146546/

Teaching Science

Science should always be viewed from the perspective that there is a Creator and that He is in charge of His creation. Consider…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
~Anne

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Comments

  1. Wow. Why have I never visited your blog before? I was browsing around and realized that I’d bookmarked quite a handful of your posts. Good stuff here, Anne! Thanks! I’ve also subscribed to your feed in a feed reader. (You may want to know your feed title comes up as “No Title” or “unknown.” I forgot exactly what it says. Something that means you’ve got no name.

  2. Anne Elliott says:

    Thank you! Do you happen, by any chance, to know how to change feed titles? I really am clueless on how all this works, and feeds are pretty new to me.
    Hugs,
    ~Anne

  3. I just blogged about this the other day, though your article sounds so much more professional than mine. :) I just put my thoughts down, I wasn’t really trying to be correct. LOL! Check it out when you get a chance to though! I’d love to hear more of your thoughts in detail on this. I really want to stick with just the bible, but I might consider using some other things as supplements occasionally. Oh, I am also going to teach prophesy, and I am very excited about that! It is what has really brought this sense of urgency to teach my kids more than what I have in the past. Thanks for your post! God bless!

  4. I found a very nice blog post on teaching science by the days of creation. Here’s the link:
    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/carolinametzgers/713398/
    ~Anne

  5. INSPIRATIONAL!!!

  6. Christine says:

    Amazing post. Thank you so much, my husband and I just started to homeschool our 8yr and 3yr olds. We pulled our 8yr old out of 2nd grade midyear because we felt the calling to homeschool. Originally I had wanted to purchase packaged curriculum this fall for 3rd grade but in the mean time I have been really feeling a pull towards using the Bible as our main textbook and your post has inspired me to go with my gut feeling and what I also believe the Lord would want for our family. Thank you so much. Don’t know if you’ve heard of Robin Sampson from heartofwisdom.com but your views on the Bible as a textbook are wonderfully similar.

    • What an encouragement, Christine! Please always feel to write if you have questions while trying to homeschool. May God bless your family abundantly… (and yes, Robin Sampson’s stuff is wonderful! I love reading what she writes….)

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