I know homeschooling parents who have a strong belief in homeschooling, but their children, who are grown and married, do not want to homeschool. I have wondered why. I do not know the reasons, but I think one is that beliefs are not being passed down to the next generation. We tend to assume that our children are learning, believing, and accepting those things we teach. In the instance of my second daughter, I assumed she was learning the same things as my first daughter, until she admitted to me that she hadn’t been listening.
I think we fall short in teaching children how to analyze all things in the light of Scripture. There are things that God commands and things He forbids. These things are shown to us in His Word through precepts, patterns, and principles. It is our job to help children understand and discern all things in the Word. Through our homeschool, we have been able to find out where our older children stand.
The three most important things we strive for is that our children know what the Bible says, are able to communicate well, and have a good foundation of history. Math, spelling, science, writing, arts and music are important as well. However, it is most important that they have a strong Biblical foundation. They need to know the Scripture and, by knowing it, be grounded in it. If it be the Lord’s will, they will be regenerated and show love for His law-word and have a desire to obey it. Because our faith is a Word-based faith, they must also be able to communicate this faith to others. Therefore, being able to read the Word, write about the Word, and speak the Word to others is very important. Lastly, they need to have an understanding of history so they can see how the Lord has worked providentially throughout history and continues to do so. As they say, it is His Story.
By homeschooling our kids, we have been able to tailor our curriculum to meet these important goals. To aid in this goal, we have required position papers. What are position papers? A position paper is a written paper delineating a student’s understanding of a particular aspect of Scripture. These assignments have caused our older children to research for themselves what the Bible says regarding a specific subjects and doctrines. They then have to be able to convey their belief and back it up with Biblical references and sources.
This also has additional benefits, because they have to work on grammar, sentence structure, and communicating their point well, just as they would in any other writing curriculum. Instead of writing a paragraph on a generic subject, they are being challenged in their faith to communicate God’s Word and their beliefs according to God’s Word.
Writing these position papers has encouraged our older children to take a stand and claim it for their own. They learn to live out their faith, and not merely memorize or regurgitate what has been taught to them. We do not want our children just to spew facts back to us. We want them to have the desire to do what is pleasing to God, and not just what is pleasing to us.
It is my opinion that every family should do something like this in some form or fashion. It doesn’t have to be written papers. It can be oral reports, one-on-one conversations, a video, or some other medium. The point is to know where your children stand.
Do you know where your children stand? Are they able to articulate in some form or fashion what they believe? Challenge them to do so. It is worth the investment in time to discover where they stand.
- Jenni Zimmerman
Jenni is a homeschooling mom. She and her husband, Chris, live in Washington state with their four children. The entire family are earnest students of Biblical law.