Recently on my Facebook fan page, Hilary asked:
Does the Bible influence which math curriculum? That’s one I cannot figure out — which one to use or how the Bible can direct my choosing.
But is there only one “Biblical” way to teach math?
What the Bible Tells Us About Math
- Arithmetic teaches children that God is orderly and that His laws govern all of His creation. Did you realize that some math curriculum will teach “fuzzy” math, a math that says there are no absolutes, and that it’s more important to encourage self esteem than correct answers? To me, this is obviously against God’s Word.
- Children also learn to be precise, exact, neat, and disciplined in their work. In the book of Proverbs, this is called “diligence.” Do a word search and see the importance God places on this quality.
- Some math curriculum de-emphasize memorization and drill. However, I personally think that the Bible places a premium on memorization. Learning math facts is one way to improve our children’s memory.
- I prefer math curriculum that continually review, rather than those that teach in units. I’m not sure if I can be too dogmatic about this, but it seems to me that we learn better when we constantly bring things to our remembrance. A unit might teach a concept, but then that concept might not be seen again until the next school year. Some verses to consider: Isaiah 28:10 and do a word search on “remember.”
What the Bible Won’t Tell Us About Math
- Exactly what these principles look like in our family.
- How to apply these principles if our children have special learning needs.
- Whether we should have colored or black-and-white illustrations, and other curriculum specifics.
- How many minutes a day we should spend on math.
- How young or old a child should be when we start teaching math.
- How advanced a specific child’s math instruction needs to be.
- Whether the same math curriculum will work for each child in the same family.
As You Choose a Math Curriculum
It doesn’t appear that there is only one way to teach math. I think God blesses authors with creativity that matches all the different kinds of minds in our world. As long as we honor the basic principles of God’s Word, we are free to choose from many good choices. Thankfully, there are several publishers who offer math curriculum that agrees with God’s Word. Try this:
- Using a math curriculum that emphasizes these principles.
- 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.