WordPress recently put up a fun map so that I can see where you all hail from each day. It’s been really fun to see so many different countries and continents highlighted! Welcome to my friends from across the seas, and to the north and south! I’m so glad you all come such a long way to visit! To my friends from America, welcome to you as well!
This is a lengthy post, but I’ve broken it down so you can take what you’d like. It’s kind of the roadmap for our homeschool and for our parenting.
As a Christian who approaches media with (I hope) some level of discernment, and a homeschooling parent, I am often asked if I’m sheltering my kids. The questions tend to run along these lines: What will happen when they encounter the real world? What will they do when they encounter real movies and they’ve never, ever seen real films? How will your kids respond to outside influences?
These are valid questions, but they kind of make me smile because – the last time I checked – we do live in the real world. We do use media, read real books, and talk about actual news. We’re really careful about the images our kids see, knowing they can never “unsee” them. But, my husband and I don’t subscribe to the greenhouse style of parenting. We’re not attempting to hide our kids from the world, sheltering them from the reality of a fallen, sinful humanity. No, we’re working to prepare our children to enter that world fully outfitted in the armor of God, with a purpose and a goal. We want our kids to serve the Lord with all that they have. We want them to be aware of the results of the fall, and ready to offer the antidote – Christ crucified for our sins and risen again.
Our Goals in Discipling Our Children
In our home, we have a few parenting goals. Our motto for child-rearing is “Love them, and point them to Christ“. We frequently evaluate our parenting actions based on that ideal. However, if we’re going to get really specific about our goals, there are five that stand out:
Goal 1) To teach our children who God is. If we accomplish nothing else, I pray that we do this well – biblically and faithfully.
Goal 2) To teach them what Scripture says. All of it. We want our kids in the Word. We want to be in the Word ourselves. This is a family lifestyle, and we hope it will carry forward into “real” adult life for our boys. Habits are learned early, and this is one habit we don’t want to mess up! I addressed this a couple of years ago in Counterfeit Bills and Wild Trains.
Goal 3) To teach them to glorify God. Our purpose here on earth is to glorify God. We want our boys to be aware of that purpose.
Goal 4) To teach them to serve others. Jesus told us that we are to love God and love others. Love is not a warm, fuzzy emotion – it’s a sacrifice, a decision, a service. I talked about some of the ways we can teach our children to serve in Born to Serve: Teaching Love in Action.
Goal 5) To help them discover who God made them to be. It’s not all about us, yet God has gifted each one of us to serve him in unique ways. We want to help our kids identify and develop the ways He’s equipped them to serve Him – while they are still at home and have the freedom to explore. You can read more about that in Living for Jesus ~ Stewarding our Children’s Gifts and Talents.
In the dictionary, worldview is defined as “A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world”. Our goal, then, is to help our kids develop a worldview that is Christ-centered, or a Christian worldview. We want them to journey forth with a Scriptural mindset, so that they will not only not be surprised by the state of the world, they will be prepared to address it with Scriptural solutions. How is this accomplished?
I’d love to hear your ideas on this. I think there are many ways to develop Christian worldview, and we’re always looking for new ideas. Here are seven ways we’re currently working to teach worldview to our kids:
1) We teach worldview through reading Scripture.
We address Scripture in a number of ways. When our children were younger, we had the ICB Bible on CD (read by kids), we read Bible story books to them, and we talked often about Jesus.
As they’ve aged, we’ve used Bible curriculum, read the Bible to them (in family worship and during class time), and listened to the Bible on CD. We’ve used different resources about Scripture in our devotional time, and our kids read the Bible daily on their own. Also, we have frequent discussions about the Bible in our home, and my husband and I strive to set an example of reading our own Bibles.
Every suggestion I have beyond this one is null and void if your family is not actively engaged with the Word of God. God’s inspired Word is where our view of the world should come from. Sound doctrine and theology are essential to living for Christ. Since He’s given us His inspired Word, let’s not neglect it.
You don’t have to follow my laundry list of suggestions… Just getting started? Pick up Matthew, read a chapter to your kids, and talk about it. It will be 15 minutes well spent.
2) We teach worldview through the study of history.
Nothing helps us understand our role in God’s world faster than taking a look at the whole scope of history over time. We’re just passing through this world for a short time; whatever we do is going to leave a legacy – good or bad. I think that it is really easy to assume that everything has always been – and will always be – the same way it is right now. This is simply not true. A historical perspective, combined with a Scriptural perspective, can enable us to make wise and discerning choices in our lives.
Because we homeschool, we’re able focus much of our education on the study of history. (We use Tapestry of Grace). I’ve been excited to see my children growing in their understanding through their knowledge of history.
If, however, your children attend school – public or private – I would suggest considering supplementing (or adding, as the case may be) history at home. Christine Miller’s All Through the Ages contains a wonderful list of resources, many of which are available at the public library.
3) We teach worldview through the comparative study of religions.
We primarily do this during our study of history through our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. However, we have frequent discussions about other religions as we walk through our week. We talk about a lot of different subjects around the dinner table, and the subject of religions naturally comes up. We were careful as we began to introduce this subject. We made certain our children had a good basis in Scripture first. However, if we’re going to educate our kids with a Christian worldview, we think that it’s important that they understand both the fact that there are other religions, and that those religions are incompatible with Christianity (and why).
We’ve found the following resources helpful:
Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines – Books 1 and 2 These two colorful, reproducible books contain a wide range of information, including comparative religions – from a Christian worldview.
DK Encyclopedia of Religion Perhaps this is out of print, because the prices are insane… buy a used one. This is a fantastic resource for elementary aged kids. There are tons of pictures and a basic explanation of Hinduism, Buddhism, Eastern Asian religions, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You’ll want to use this resource with your kids, of course, so that you can help them understand.
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions This is a thinner tome, with great pictures and more text. It covers far more religions than the DK book, however, each section is written as if that religion is true. Because of this, I’d recommend it for late elementary and middle school, with parental aid.
4) We teach worldview through the study of and prayer for people groups and cultures in other parts of the world.
We talk about people groups (and missionaries) during our school day, and during family worship.
Our boys love exploring the Joshua Project website. It’s an interactive site where you can locate demographics for the unreached people groups in the world. We have a link to it on their computers so they can explore it when they have free time (they know they can’t leave the site).
Window on the World by Daphne Spragett with Jill Johnstone is a fantastic resource for children. Each two-page spread covers a country or people group, with photos, statistics, stories, history, and things to pray for those people. Welove this book!
For older middle school and high school students and adults, Operation World by Jason Mandryk is fantastic. It’s a 978 page book covering the statistics and prayer needs of countries and provinces across the globe.
5) We teach worldview through biographies – of Christians and non-Christians.
The study of the lives of those who have gone before us is a wonderful way to create perspective, and to understand the impact of our actions. Reading Christian biographies is a fantastic way to see God at work in the lives of others. I’ve listed four of my favorite middle grade and YA series in True Heroes.
6) We teach worldview through curriculum.
I mentioned above that we use Tapestry of Grace. This curriculum employs quite a bit of worldview training. We use Character Quality Language Arts as well (read my review here), which includes worldview training. As we progress into the high school years, ToG will study philosophy and physics from a Christian viewpoint.
Next year, we’re excited to try Apologia’s new “What We Believe” worldview curriculum. I’ll let you know what I think then. In the meantime, you can read an entire chapter of each book on their site.
7) We teach worldview through discussion.
One of the most important aspects of discipleship is interaction. We talk a LOT in this house. To be honest, it can be exhausting for an introvert like myself. Yet, there’s no way to shortcut the process. We’re filling the kids with information, and they have questions – good questions. Questions that often send us to do research of our own. In the process, we’re learning and growing as well. It’s a great process to be a part of.
I’ve covered a lot. What do you think – about worldview, about resources for teaching worldview, or about goals in parenting?
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.