This article is part of a series for new home educators. In this, and several other articles, we cover What style of education is right for our family? And where do I get our curriculum?
Although there can be a wide range with many differences in the styles I’ve lumped in this category, the Christian Discipleship and Worldview philosophies generally go hand in hand. These are methods that concentrate on providing a thoroughly Christian education as directed by God for His people. The Discipleship aspect sees education as more than just teaching the head, but also training the heart as outlined in Deuteronomy 6:7 and many other places in Scripture. Education is guided learning throughout day-to-day life and within a relationship–in this case between parent and child. Preparation for Life is a large part of this approach. The highest desired hope for the Discipleship approach is to reach the child’s heart for Christ, and see them transformed by His redeeming power. But we cannot give a child new life in Christ, only God can provide that. As parents we present Christ in all His glory, and pray.
Beyond that we instruct to develop Biblical thinkers. Because right reasoning is an important aspect, some aspects of Classical education may be used and some Discipleship/Worldview styles may consider themselves Christian Classical. The styles listed here utilize real books of excellence, just like the Living Books and Classical methods do, but the primary resources for these styles are either from a Biblical perspective or (especially for older students) shown in contrast with the Biblical viewpoint by reasoning through the study of them.
Worldview just means the way you look at and think about the world. Everyone has a worldview. The question is whether their worldview is consistent with what they say they believe. If they claim to be Christian, does their worldview align with what the Bible teaches? So to educate from and for a Biblical worldview means to help our children see how God is a part of every part of our lives and to learn to reason from the Bible in all areas.
The Principle Approach® is a method that teaches principles of reflective thinking and reasoning that produce a biblical view of the areas studied. It utilizes “4 R-ing” to study a topic (Research, Reason, Relate, and Record–notebooking,) an excellent method of learning, also used by the teacher as she learns to teach the topic.
These resources explain the philosophies and methods of education based on Christian Discipleship and Worldview:
- Freedom & Simplicity™ of Lifestyle Education through Discipleship™ ~ The Seminar and Freedom & Simplicity™ on R Road to Biblical Wisdom by Lisa @ Me & My House (me) – Introduction and foundation in Seminar, explanation of methods in R Road.
- Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview by Israel Wayne is a good introduction to this philosophy in general
- Let Us Highly Resolve (and others) by David Quine. (See also curriculum below.)
- A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School by James Rose is my favorite (and most understandable, in my opinion) book on learning about the Principle Approach® and how to implement it.
- Better Late than Early and other resources by Raymond Moore advocate family learning and service projects and delayed “schooling”/ academics, so I classify them as Discipleship. Dr. Moore is considered the father of the modern home education movement. It was Dr. Moore’s research for the U.S. government, that brought to light the fact that the institutional school setting and its methods are not the best way for children to learn. Dr. Moore’s conclusions, among other things, indicate that it is best for children (up to 10 or 12 years old) to learn informally, without being pushed.
- Encyclopedia of Bible Truths by Ruth Haycock is a Topical Bible of sorts for school subjects. This series will help you see the concepts and Scriptures that apply to every area of knowledge. A great reference for studying topics biblically.
- The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum by R.J. Rushdoony is the classic on biblical worldview in education. This covers not only the biblical viewpoint for areas of knowledge typically taught in school, but shows the un-Biblical worldview in all aspects of the system of government education.
- A Biblical Education by Ruth Beechick – listed in the Living Books category.
All the resources listed above are recommended by Me & My House ministries.
A few Christian Discipleship and Worldview curricula:
- Starting Points and Worldviews of the Western World Vol. 1, 2 and 3– by David Quine of Cornerstone Curriculum – Worldviews… is a Christian classical three-year program (for use by those in grades 8-12) that is “built largely around the works of Francis Schaeffer. Students still read Homer, Socrates, and Machiavelli. But these are balanced not only by Schaeffer’s works, but also by St. Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.” Starting Points is a one year Introductory Course to World Views. Math, Science, Art, and Music programs by Cornerstone Curriculum also available.
- Foundation for American Christian Education – (resources available through Me & My House) publishes classical education materials based on the Principle Approach®. The Noah Plan is a complete PA curriculum. Subject specific curriculum guides and many other resources also available.
- Understanding the Times and Thinking Like a Christian (get Student Book too) by David Noebel are single courses to present the Biblical viewpoint and counter viewpoints in 10 major areas of life.
- PEERS test from Nehemiah Institute – is an assessment of your student’s (and your!) viewpoint on life issues. They also provide worldview training.
- Far Above Rubies and Blessed is the Man are Unit Studies (also listed in that category) that are very discipleship oriented and Christian worldview based, female/ male oriented.
- Tapestry of Grace is also listed in the Unit Study category, and is Worldview and Classical oriented.
There is nothing in this approach that we see as drawbacks for the Christian family. (Obviously, this would not be a choice for non-Christians.) But, to disciple (lead) someone you must be going somewhere worthwhile. This requires that for you to be a leader, you must first be a learner yourself. And for you to lead someone to Jesus, Jesus must be leading you. The Christian Discipleship approach requires something out of you as the discipler. This is not an approach where you just set a book before your child, or sit him in front of a computer.
Our Lifestyle Education through Discipleship™ approach fits best within this category of Christian Discipleship/ Worldview. The basic descriptions and goals above are at the heart of L.E.D. Education is primarily, but not only, a heart relationship of discipleship. Out of that grows the passing on of Truths from the Word of God that apply to all areas of life. It is truly you follow me as I follow Christ. Relationships can be messy. They can be hard. They require a lot of investment, grace, and forgiveness. They result in growth. That is education. We are to grow in both grace and knowledge.
We study by biblical principles, and use many of the same study methods and notebooking as the Principle Approach®, yet adapt them for use in the multi-level homeschool family lifestyle setting. We also espouse the Better Late than Early philosophy of Raymond Moore. We recommend all of the books listed that explain various applications of this approach, and have used several of the resources listed in the programs section.