The House that Wisdom Built

There are some factors in the education of a child that transcend all others. Because they are so basic and powerful, they eliminate the need for experts, expensive government programs, and extensive regulations. Sadly, they are factors largely ignored by our education systems in place today.

God has much to say about education, and as Kevin Swanson says in the article quoted above and below, it has mostly to do with “factors largely ignored by our education systems in place today”. Those key factors are faith and character. Although I say it just a tiny bit differently in Freedom & Simplicity™ of Lifestyle Education through Discipleship™ ~ The Seminar (and even use the house analogy), we’re both saying the same thing Scripture says, “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge.”

If education were a house, character would be the concrete foundation, the structure, the studs, and the drywall. Geography, geometry, and geology would be nothing but wallpaper. Of course it is the wallpaper that makes the house beautiful, attractive, and liveable. But if it were not for the structure, there would be nothing on which the wallpaper could hang! Geography, geometry, and geology cannot be the substance of education. If character, the substance of education, is missing then there is nothing upon which the rest of it can hang. The content of Proverbs deals primarily with the issues of faith and character.

Read the rest of Kevin’s article here.

Learn more about the House the Wisdom Built in the L.E.D. Seminar

Heart of Biblically Principled Ed

God’s Word exhorts us to not take our eyes off of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Sometimes, because we have such worthy goals in education, it seems like in our desire to understand teaching by Biblical principles we get so caught up in the mechanics. Perhaps so caught up, that we shift our sight, whether just momentarily or we get all turned around.

May I encourage you today, if your eyes have been wandering, to remember the philosophy behind L.E.D., the internal underlying cause that is the principle of L.E.D. It is not to produce students like (and you
know this is one of my favorite quotes from GACE) "chocolate covered bananas, slick and sweet on the outside, but soft and mushy on the inside", but rather to reach the heart of the child with the gospel of Christ, to bring the child to loving obedience to Christ, to equip him to walk with God and stand for God and share the gospel of God "in a wicked and perverse generation." It is all about internalizing; it’s all about the heart. We want more than shallow learning, that never penetrates deeper than the short term memory.

Many times because of our own education and what we see all around us, even in "Christianity", we see that if we will just "do" the right things it will "be" right. We push to move forward in applying
Biblical principles in education without really internalizing it ourselves. It isn’t the "doing the best we know how", or applying line upon line as we learn that is the problem. It is the *striving* to be the perfect Biblical principles homeschooler, with perfect principled lessons each and every day in each and every subject, – or always feeling that we fall short of that – that will get us down.

But Biblical principles education is not just about going down the
list of getting the method right. It isn’t about stressing over finding one of the 7 foundational principles in every lesson, or checking off all the R’s in the study process. It is about God’s Word being the foundation and lens of all we study. The Word that is sharper and more powerful than a two-edged sword. The Word that will not return without accomplishing what God sends it forth for. The Word that speaks to all of life and learning.

Some of you are secure in what yo are doing, whether little or much
in teaching a principled education. Others of you are striving and frustrated. You want to teach by Biblical principles, but you just can’t wrap your mind around all of it. Perhaps just when you think you’ve got part of it, something else comes up and you think you don’t understand any of it at all. Perhaps you even get tempted to give up.

Be encouraged that reflective learning is for you as much as it is for your children. Your heart needs to be reached, penetrated; you need to be changed internally before it will flow out of you to them. This is a process that cannot be rushed, anymore than we can rush our children’s learning.

We live in a microwave society, where every thing is instant. Wisdom
is not, and cannot be. God is always after our hearts, not our performance. It is faithfulness, in walking in the light we have, from the heart, that He desires, not the striving in the flesh.

Relax dear mama. Seek the Lord with all your heart, and learn and apply, line upon line as He gives you grace. If you don’t look like you think a Biblical principles "school" should, don’t worry about it. That’s never what God intended for you. He just intended for you and your children to be conformed to the image of His dear Son.

edited from an email I wrote in Oct. ’07

What to Study

What things are really imoprtant to study? What do our children really need to learn well? What facts do they need to remember?

In deciding what to study these are questions I look at:

Why am I studying this (do I need to remember this):
– to know God and His Word
– to understand His Plan
– to understand His Creation
– to advance His Kingdom

All facts we need to remember should fit within one of these categories.


7 Pillars

Q: What’s the deal with 7 Pillars/ Principles here and there? Are these all spelled out in the Bible somewhere? (OK, the question wasn’t really worded exactly that way. This is a summary of questions I’ve been asked, and that have been asked on our e-group for home ed through Biblical Principles.)

A: About 15 years or so ago, I studied out  “Wisdom.” We know that Jesus Himself IS Wisdom – all true wisdom is embodied in Him. Prov. 9:1 says “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” Whether the 7 is just symbolic, saying that in Jesus is all perfection and completeness of wisdom, I don’t know.

But I do know in my searches for wisdom in many various areas, many times I find 7’s. Whether I’m not digging far enough and I would find more if I pushed on through, I don’t know. I just know that I find 7 Pillars in many places. Just as I also find Tri-Unities (3’s) in many places. There were so many natural ones that I saw, that I began looking for them, as I do 7 Pillars.

IOW, I have not found in Scripture clearly laid out any definitive “THE Seven Pillars” are. I have found that when I really dig in a subject/ topic/ many things in Life, I do come up with 7 Pillars – Biblical truths which support the topic.


Ideas or Information?

Which is the basis of your education? What do your goals generally look like? Are they to learn the names and dates of Presidents and Kings or are they to understand the ways men govern and how man’s character affects his governing? Are they to memorize the parts of speech and list of prepositions or are they to communicate clearly God’s message they have to share? Rather than going on with examples I’ll just ask, do you think the goal of education is to memorize reams of information? Do you think little children can’t learn ideas such as these?

Surely you’ve heard the old adage, “Great people talk about ideas. Small people talk about other people.” (I’ve seen it attributed to Tobias Gibson.) Think about what people talk about in society – the weather and other trivial facts, other people, themselves (the smallest of people surely fit here), and ideas. Can you not see that the adage is true?

Yes, religion and politics can bring disagreement in discussion, but they are the seedbed of ideas. All of life goes back to the core questions all of man has, whether he seeks their answers or seeks to avoid them, “Who is God?” and “Who is man?” and “What has God done?” and “How then is man to live?” You cannot escape religion and government in discussing ideas, because these are core to life itself. It is in the discussion of ideas that the mind grows – that society grows. And in discussing ideas, a child and a child’s mind grows.

There are educational philosophies that believe in teaching the great ideas, but — only in the later years of education. They spend the early years filling the child with facts to memorize. They believe the child will have something to think on and understand later, if he is full of facts first.

I respectfully disagree. A young child truly can reason and understand. Granted, not at the level of an adult, we grow in wisdom and understanding. But a child wants ideas; he longs for ideas; he continually asks “Why?” We’ve given a child a false misconception of value by granting our exuberant praise for rattling off a list he has memorized, rather than for his question of “Why?” Do we not see that a child who asks “Why?” has a hunger for learning. He desires growth. A child trained to rattle off information for praise has a hunger for self-acclamation. Knowledge truly puffs up. Surely we desire our children to hunger for growth in life and character more than self-acclaim and pride.

Does our basis of ideas mean we do not teach facts? Of course not! That would be impossible. As a Christian growth (not education) seminar I attended years ago taught, “Knowledge does not lead to wisdom. Wisdom always leads to knowledge.” It fits perfectly in our style of education. Information does not of itself lead to anything but parroting of knowledge. Ideas always apply to information. They are studied out in their very applications.

Learning ideas is our goal. We teach information within the context of ideas to give the information meaning. Learning is not just “knowledge.” It is wisdom, understanding, and knowledge – the proper understanding of knowledge and application of truth. As God’s Word teaches, “knowledge puffs up.” Men are “ever increasing in knowledge but never coming to the truth.” Yet, the “Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge….” In my words, teach information within the context of ideas, with the understanding and application of the ideas being the goal of the lesson. That is, above all teach Biblical ideas (principles) as the foundation of all of education and life.


God’s Sovereignty

This summer I am returning to my Foundational Studies. One area is in 7 Biblical Principles of Liberty. This post is about what I see as the first principle, God’s Sovereignty. I may post on each of the 7.

Also I have added several pages to my website this summer. Look under Bits and Pieces for Freedom & Simplicity. The page on 7 Biblical Principles of Liberty will show you what the other 6 principles are and my comparison chart will show you what others call these principles. Also several of our L.E.D. Resources & Recommendations pages have been updated. Here’s the page that will link you to those pages.

Here’s my understanding of the principle of God’s Sovereignty.

God’s Sovereignty – the Lordship of Christ:

The principle of God’s Sovereignty is that of God’s rule over us, as Lawgiver, Judge and King. God Providentially rules all things whether man acknowledges it or not, just as God is Creator whether man acknowledges it or not. When man acknowledges and submits to God’s rule he is able to live in both liberty and order.

When man rejects God’s Sovereignty, he sets up for himself a false sovereign, either the individual (resulting in chaotic anarchy, a false “freedom” with no order, that nurtures selfishness, pride, and perversion) or the state (resulting in stifling tyranny, a false “order” with no liberty, that nurtures passivity and dependence).

God’s Sovereignty, operates in both power and form, displaying His balance of freedom and order. It is God’s power that causes change and growth and His form that channels it aright. Order (through God’s law) protects man’s freedom from the sinful nature of others (this is the form), while freedom (through His grace) enables man to be creative and productive (this is the power).

We see in HisStory God’s Sovereign Providence directing man’s course, whether man acknowledges it or not. We determine who those involved “think” is sovereign. Although man (individually or corporately) can choose to walk after his own ways, disregarding the Sovereignty of the Lord, it is still the Lord “who directs his path”.

In man submitted to God’s Sovereignty, we see his internal and external governments patterned after God’s form to allow God’s power to flow through them. Therefore, this principle could also be called Faith in God and His Word, or Power and Form. Even in man choosing to look to a false sovereign we see power and form – but unbalanced. Rosalie Slater termed this principle the Christian Form of our Government.


Freedom & Simplicity™ in Expanding Seed Principles

Here’s a simple example illustrating the expansive nature of the educational principle as Sowing seed. Not every lesson is entered into, nor proceeds and results as this one. But God is Sovereign and He gives grace. And we both live and learn.

Our lesson was on the History of Astronomy. Those of you on elists with me know I hunted for a living book telling this History from a Biblical perspective. I never found one. So we fell back on John Tiner’s “Champions of Science”, a book of several biographical sketches. We picked and chose, just reading and narrating, and mom/me pulling teaching from the stories on the fly. IOW, this time I hadn’t pre-read and planned “lessons” from them. We just were reading and narrating.

BUT from the foundation I have (having internalized teaching by Biblical principles), I was able to make some applications. For you “newbies” and strugglers in teaching by Biblical Principles, this is how you can “teach what you know”, and “you don’t have to teach a lot to teach a lot”, just build a foundation first. Here’s one example, from one of the chapters.

We read the chapter on Johannes Kepler, and the children narrated as we went along. (Yes, with some children this takes FOREVER!) The Principle of Individuality is usually a fairly easy one to pick out, and that was true here. Johannes had bad eyesight (and even eventually went blind). This made it hard for him to do observations. Even my 6 year old can pick out this trait of Individuality.

Kepler was also an excellent mathematician. Being the best in his university classes had gotten him the position of mathematics professor at the seminary at Graz. He had studied to be a minister of the gospel, but prayed to go wherever God could use him, so went to Graz. He used Astronomy in making the calendars and almanacs that was a part of his job. These things all contributed to his Individuality.

The story also told of Tycho Brahe. Of course, the easy thing to pick out about his Individuality is the fact that he had no nose, well, only a gold and silver one. His had been cut off in a duel. But the point we wanted to pick out about Tycho’s Individuality was his excellent observation skills. (Diane, yes, a good thing to work on 🙂 Kepler knew Tycho was a great observer, but not a great mathematician, and he had hoped to meet him but didn’t think it possible since Tycho lived in Denmark.

God’s Sovereignty and Providence in History is first seen in the time period in which Kepler lived. Wycliffe’s translating the Bible into English, and the invention of the printing press, opened things up for the great advancements that took place during this period. Kepler loved to study the Bible, something he would not have been able to do if he had been born in an earlier time period. He, and many of the great scientists making great advancements at this time, were dedicated Christians. Also, Galileo had improved the recently invented telescope, and was the first to turn it towards the heavens.

Specifically in Kepler’s life, we see the Providence of God in moving him out of France, where he could not remain because of his Christianity, and he lost all his work and equipment. He fled to Prague. By Providence Tycho also ended up in Prague, because he was unable to get along with the new king of Denmark. The 2 men worked together, God’s great combination, 2 astronomers, one who could make excellent calculations, but couldn’t see well, the other who was a great observer, but not so good at the mathematical calculations. God used these 2 men together to advance dominion through the study of Astronomy.

These are just a few areas of Biblical principles my children were able to pull out of this short story, at various levels according to their own individual development, some with reasoning/leading questions. The seeds of the Principles planted are expanding in my children’s lives and learning, growing as they grow. My 6 year old could pick out the Individuality of the men. My 8 year old could see the principle of Voluntary Union in the 2 men working together. My 11 year old could see the Sovereignty and Providence of God in moving them both to Prague. Our 14 year old read a longer biography and did a Key Individual sheet, expanding even further.

I hope my story encourages you to renew your mind in the area of educating by Biblical principles, and then to go on in Freedom & Simplicity, in the spirit of liberty to teach what you know, and to teach by seed principles, here a little there a little, line upon line.


Gleaning Principles

Principles. When it comes to education, what are they? Where do they come from? How do you get them? “I’m totally confused. This is nothing like we learned.”

Ever feel that way? It is so hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Now, I’m not calling you names; just pointing out that old habits die hard. But we must not conform to the pattern of the world (even if that is the pattern we were raised in and the only one we know.) It’s true, this isn’t the way we learned. Most of us learned to memorize facts for a test. But, in addition to not conforming, we are also not to “reform” the world’s way (by tacking Scripture meaninglessly on to our lesson pages or adding a separate “Bible” class to the typical “scool curriculum”). But we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that is being formed to only His Word! Yes, at times transformation can seem confusing. You know you aren’t what you were, but you aren’t quite sure what you are becoming. But remember, He is not the author of confusion. He is bringing you from glory to glory.

When it comes to learning Biblical Principles, many people want the 1, 2, 3 steps, and make it snappy. Not going to happen. Renewing the mind takes time, and it doesn’t come through a formula. There is only one way to get the Wisdom of God, ask Him. He tells us that’s the way to get it, and even tells us He’ll give it to us. How? Well, most reliably, through His Word – the only place that we can be 100% positive that it is none other than His voice. So what’s this got to do with finding Biblical Principles?

Biblical Principles, which is what Wisdom is – call it “God’s Way” or perspective, even a Biblical Worldview, – can only be seen by the mind that is renewed by the Word. The better you know the Word, the easier it will be to see Biblical Principles that apply to all of Life. There is no getting around spending much time in God’s Word and asking His Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through it, and to renew your mind by it.

Then as you read and study elsewhere, do it with the same reliance on the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher. Look for Biblical Truths throughout. God has applied His principles to His Creation and His Story, to give us Real Life examples! Look to see God’s hand at work – His Providence displayed throughout the lives of People – Individuals and Nations. The problem sometimes comes when trying to see these things in the writings of others, especially those that don’t hold to this view. If they don’t believe that there are absolute Biblical Truths or God’s Providence, then those parts of the stories or evidence will be left out, as it is unimportant to them. That’s why it is important to use Primary Source Documents; and when using other resources, to look for those that do acknowledge Biblical Truth and Providence so those things won’t be edited out.

God has retained a remnant for Himself that would preserve HisStory. Even in our Post-Christian society, there are those that continue to stand for Biblical Truth and Providence. They have done the research, poured over the Primary Source Documents, and made them available to us. There are those who have searched out the Truths and hand of Providence. We can learn from them. Not just what they have learned, but how to learn more ourselves.

The Word of God is inexhaustable. It is written so very condensed that though you spend a lifetime searching it, you will always find something new to you. There are not just a handful of principles that someone has already gleaned and set in stone. God is Infinite and so are His Truths.

So, whether you begin with applying the Prinicples others have found, or God leads you to others through your own studies, matters not. As there is no “right” set of Biblical Priniciples that exclude or supercede others. They all build upon one another. They all show different aspects of our multi-faceted God who made a multi-faceted Creation. We can look at it through many various angles, but as long as we’re looking through the eyes of Faith, we will always see God, His Hand and His Plan at the core.

Some resources that will help you see God’s Principles, Truths and Providence are:
1) any publications by the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) and its authors, Verna Hall, Rosalie Slater, Carol Adams, Elizabeth Youmans, and more. Click here for our link to purchase their resources.

2) resources written by Steven McDowell, Mark Beliles, Marshall Foster, Mary-Elaine Swanson, James Rose, K. Alan Snyder, ….. These are just a few authors that write educational resources specifically from these point of view. I could not begin to list ALL such authors. Many Christian authors write fromsuch a viewpoint. Sadly, many also do not. It is disheartening, but all too common to pick up a “Christian” book that has a humanistic rather than Biblical worldview. Some of these authors can be found on our home ed catalog webpage.

3) Encyclopedia of Bible Truths by Ruth Haycock. This resource goes through typical “school subjects”, outlines them according to Biblical concepts and shows Scriptures to correlate with them. This is very helpful in planning studies. Even if you have a fairly well developed Biblical Worldview, Mrs. Haycock has probably gleaned a few different things than you have thought of so far. Remember, no one person can learn all there is to God and His ways.

Just a very few of the Biblical Principles we have found and applied in our studies- just to show you how easy it is:
Governments Foundations:
1) God is the Sovereign Ruler over ALL!
2) All (human) government begins with me (self-government).
3) God ordains human realms of government to control sinful mankind. (family, church, civil)

Creation Foundations – just a couple to get you started:
1) God is the Creator of ALL!
2) Creation consists of a tri-unity to reflect the Nature of the Creator. (Time, Space, Matter – Each of these three is also triune in itself.)


the Principle of Individuality

This is really a carry over topic from yesterday’s muse. Today I’m reflecting on the Biblical Principle of Individuality as recognized by the Principle Approach to education.

If you are at all familiar with the Principle Approach, you probably, at first look, thought it to be quite structured, rigid, and scholarly. Perhaps that appealed to you, perhaps it sent you running the other way. Most likely, you had a mix of emotions. You were intriqued, yet skeptical. Components such as big fat books written in precise language from days past (using words you had to look up), primary documents, master teachers (who have mastered the subject they teach, through thorough study), blank notebooks just waiting to be filled (rather than pre-designed worksheets), can all appear overwhelming at first, especially the thought of those things coming into your home, where it was already a major challenge to put nutritious food on the table (serveral times, every day), clean laundry in the drawers (for everyone, everyday), supervise & train toddlers so the house wouldn’t be destroyed (every minute of everyday), nurse babies (seems like every minute of everyday sometimes) AND oversee the complete education of your older children. Perhaps you took one look at the Principle Approach and said, “I love the concept and the outcome, but I really see no way possible for me to add, to my already spilling over plate, learning a whole new way of teaching and learning, and research, plan and teach lessons for every subject, every grade level, EVERYDAY!” Perhaps you said, “The Principle Approach is for those families who have only 1 or 2 children – quiet, compliant ones at that, a husband with many hours and the interest to learn and teach right along with you, and a maid to take care of the house, meals, and laundry.” (The last two would be nice though.)

I hear you, loud and clear. I have all those things and more on my plate too. But to think the Principle Approach is not for your family, based on those givens in your family, is a faulty conclusion. F.A.C.E. may not have tailor made its materials to a mom in your situation, but they did base their philosophy on Biblical Principles; the first of which is: The Principle of Individuality.

This should be the most freeing thing you’ve heard today. This means that they recognized that God designed each of us uniquely, as individuals, families, and in our own unique situations. So each of our “Principle Approach” educational layouts will look different. That’s why no pre-written curricula was available until recently. They wanted each teacher to make it her own. They wanted Individuality to shine through. But we (home educator’s in general) took one look, and didn’t see freedom to express our own God-given design and destiny. We saw bondage to learning new ways through a hard, rigorous, pre-prescribed road. We are such creatures of the Law, aren’t we? Always seeing the letter that brings bondage and kills, rather than the spirit that brings life and liberty.

I love the Principle Approach. Yes, it took me a while to get beyond the guilt of “I know I’m not doing this the RIGHT way”, to the freedom of “God has sent those ahead of me, Master Teachers who had the time and the love, whose God given purpose was to prepare the way for me to walk on the path HE LEADS ME on.”

I know my utilization of the Principle Approach does not look anything like Stonebridge School. I know there are aspects that may seem essential to some, but we don’t use at all, or use inconsistently. I know our “style” is not “pure”. We have gleaned from several educational forerunners, as well as birthed our own unique “styles” in the spirit and prayer. But I also know we are doing exactly what God has called us to do, in the way that He has set before us. One study may pull in more aspects of the Principle Approach. Another study may pull in more aspects from another area. But ALL of it is based on Biblical Principles. All of it is designed to instill a Biblical Worldview; to produce excellence, Truth, preparedness, productivness, self-discipline, a love for learning, lifelong learners, a teaching mentality, and a host of other goals we are working toward for the Glory of God.

We are truly a Principle Approach home, for we are closely following the first Biblical Principle given – that of Individuality.