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.
It’s a fair question! Last summer, I spoke at the HOTM Online Homeschooling Conference, making the bold statement that we should use the Bible as our primary textbook for all subjects.
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.
Visit my sister site, Homeschooling Bible, for articles on teaching math from a biblical perspective, as well as Anne’s favorite math curriculum.
Hillary Moore says
Thank you so much for answering this for me. This helps tremendously when planning for next year. I feel God’s Word is given for instruction in all things in life. In other subject areas, this is obvious and easy. Why is it so easy to think that science/math are excluded? I love the suggestion for doing a story problem from the Bible. If the numbers are included, they must matter.
Another fun activity is adding charting the genealogy in Genesis and adding the years between creation and the flood.
Stephen Haasch says
Should the Bible influence the math curriculum one uses?
Math has everything to do with the nature of God and the world view of Creationism. God is characterized by eternity, absolute truth, unchanging nature, logic, reason, etc.
Evaluate. Does the math curriculum reflect the nature and characteristic of God? Many years ago, there was a curriculum which was called modern math. This curriculum emphasized relativism. You could figure and represent figures in many different ways and the results in many different ways. It all depended upon how you wanted it to be seen. The implication was that truth was relative.
There is an old saying, “that figures can lie and liars figure.” This is only true if one is bent on deceit. This may be the way of some accountants, businesses, and government agencies, but figures clearly
and plainly put show the truth and reality.
World views play a part. Math books and teacher’s guides which come from the view of naturalism claim that there is not absolute truth. they teach that logic and order come from randomness which somehow develops into order and increased intelligence. This is in direct denial of history which is confirmed in the laws of Thermal Dynamics which says that order always goes in the direction of disorder. Randomness is defined in the context of order. It does not explain order.
Mathematics also is a reflection of absolute truth and confirmed by the laws of logic. The laws of logic
come from God. It is by this we can identify, verify, and prove a matter. By this we know a math problem is true or false. It is by this we also know that matters of life are true or false too. When something is
provably wrong, then it may be dealt with reasonably and we can order our lives. If it was not for logic in
math, you would not be reading this on your computer. Computer science is totally dependent on logic in math.
There are differences in math curriculum. One needs to evaluate what is being taught and implied by the method in which it is being taught, through the illustrations used, the story problems, the world view
presented. If you place too much weight on whether it feels right, whether it is more fun, all my friends
use it, etc., then you are likely to come to false conclusions and will use defective curriculum.