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Mother Culture: Teaching Bible

It seems bad grammar to title this “Teaching Bible” but really we do need to talk about much more than “teaching the Bible” or “teaching from the Bible” or “teaching about the Bible”.  That’s why I am generalizing: so that we can look at this most important and foundational subject from many aspects.

One of the key things that we grappled with in talking about teaching the Bible as a subject in school was dealing with the fact that we don’t want it to be pigeon holed as just a subject in school.  We need our kids to know that reading and learning from the Bible is not simply an intellectual pursuit but that it is a pursuit of the heart as well. 

So where to start?  Yes, learning from the Bible should be a regular subject in our school schedules and we need to make efforts to expand it beyond the academic.  Let’s first look at the academic though. 

While there are a lot of good children’s Bible story books out there, there is no substitute for just reading the Bible with your children.  If you are reading along with us in Educating the Whole Hearted Child, you know that the Clarkson’s suggest that you chose a specific version that your family will learn and study from just for continuity but didn’t suggest one in particular.  Then just taking time to read and discuss passages from the Bible should be the foundation for Bible learning. 

Their suggestions remind me of a time that I was sitting in a home schooling seminar about how to teach the Bible to our children in school.  The speaker first asked how everyone was currently teaching the Bible.  One woman responded that in their family they simply read the Bible together and that now, her teenaged son read on his own out of devotion and without the need for prompting because of the habits established.  The speaker went on to tell about how we can liven up the scripture lessons by using puppets or dressing up as Mary Magdelene but the real light bulb that went on for me that day was in what I learned from the mom in the front row.

So I took the idea home.  We read the story of David and Goliath.  When in the past I would have taken out a children’s story bible that told how God was looking out for the little guy, instead I read directly from the Bible and asked the kids what they had learned.  My then six year old daughter answered, “David killed Goliath.  Killing is bad but God loved David anyway.”  What a true and wonderful lesson that we wouldn’t have learned if the story had been moralized through the teaching of a children’s story.  Given the opportunity to think about the passage, our children are able to grasp big ideas without us having to chew them up and predigest them first.

While I usually ask the children to narrate the Bible reading both right after we read and the next time that we open up the Bible as a review, some moms said that they liked to do the Bible reading and not ask for a narration until they’ve had a chance to sleep on it and to mull over the ideas they learned.  

There is nothing like simply reading the Bible in order to learn about the Bible.

More on other resources for learning from and about the Bible in my next post tomorrow.



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Mother Culture: Christian Education

Well, it has taken me a good week to get caught up on the day to day happens: my husband and I were blessed to have our first weekend away without children in several years.  After Thursday evening’s {most excellent} Charlotte Mason meeting here at my home we trundled off to bed so that early the next morning we could head out.  I think it was more difficult for me to leave my technology behind than my children as I knew that they were in good hands.  Because of this though, I blissfully spent many hours just resting and reading and enjoying the company of my hubby – without a computer on hand and am only just now reaching the summit of mount o’launder-us and taking a few minutes to reflect.

As I look back over the reading and discussion that we did, I think that there was far too much that we covered to get it all on one blog posting…  So I am going to try to pick out a few highlights and then post again soon. 

Please feel free to enter the discussion by posting a comment orquestion and become a part of our virtual support group.  If you have the book then read along with us, this past week we read and discussed chapters 1, 2, and 10 of Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. (If you’d still like to join the discussion and would like a copy of the book, I do have a couple of extra copies available.) 

The underlying theme of these chapters and the book is that real education does not start with an academic paste that is adhered to our students.  Instead the foundation of a Christian education truly is relationship with Christ.  All of our efforts and teaching should grow up out of this goal.  As we have always said, “It is far more important to us that our children grow up knowing and loving Jesus and striving to be the women that he individually designed them to be than that they ever learn to read….  And they WILL learn to read.

Key to the discussion is the realization that having a Christian home or a Christian education really involves much more than adding Bible verses to the subjects that we study, reading Christian books, attending Christian activities or even making sure that we have a daily Bible reading time.  True Christian education comes out of a lifestyle of living daily in relationship with Christ.  We realize that it is only by modeling for our children the Christian life, including how we deal with our own failings, that we can lead them to go beyond an academic study of God and on to a true lifestyle of faith.

One of the core ways that we do this is by making education a day by day and side by side activity, not one where the teacher stands as the bearer of all truth and must disseminate their knowledge by lecturing and testing.  Instead, when we realize that our children are just as valuable and able as we are, though less grown and knowledgeable, then we acknowledge that we are on a journey with them rather than acting as a polished tour guide for them.

As such, our job is more hefty than simply being the bearer of knowledge.  Our job is to instill in our kids our values, to give them a sense of their heritage, their lineage both in a general sense as the Church of God but also in a personal sense as we share with them the value of who they uniquely have been made by the power of the Creator God.  We need to teach them to serve, to love others, to understand how to learn, to have a passion for learning and for God, his people and his creation.

These are some of the foundational principles in Christian education.  Please enter the discussion.  Next, I will post some of the more practical ideas that we chatted about with regards to teaching the Bible to our children.

Talk soon,


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Mother Culture Reading List

Well, here we are in the second week of school already and only 9 sleeps until our first Charlotte Mason support group.  I wasn’t sure if most folks would pick up their books before the first meeting or whether you would want to wait until then.  Now that the verdict is in and most have picked up their books (or will be soon) I figured that I should publish our reading list for the year

If you haven’t heard yet, we will be meeting every 5-6 weeks throughout the school year for some learning and encouragement here in my home in Bradford.  Our book choice for this year is the new edition of Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.  For more specific details about our meetings, check out this post

As for the reading list, please forgive me as I have tried to balance the reading but of course some sections are bigger than others.  The goal has been to read both practical and theoretical sections for each gathering so that we have the chance to look at ideas like creating the right learning atmosphere as well as history or geography. 

Knowing that many of you don’t live nearby or aren’t able to join us because of all of life’s busy demands, I want to invite you to join us virtually.  Grab a copy of Educating the Whole Hearted Child (I have these in stock and am happy to ship one to you.)  Take the opportunity to follow along on the readings with us and we can carry on the discussion here.  I plan to list some of the highlights of our discussions here and especially to keep some lists of the favourite resources that we like to make. 

So whether you are here in person or in spirit, please join us for some Mother Culture this school year!

See you all soon,


Readings from “Educating the Whole Hearted Child”

September 22 – Chapters 1, 2, 10

October 27 – Chapters 3, 4, 11 (half; pages 193-204)

December 1 – Chapters 5, 6, 11 (half; pages 205-210)

January 12 – Chapters 7, 12 (part; pages 211-222)

February 16 – Chapters 8, 9, 12 (part; pages 223-231)

March 22 – Chapters 15, 16, 12&13 (parts; pages 232-247)

May 3 – Chapters 17, 13 (part; pages 248-256)

June 7 – Chapters 18, 14


Educating the Whole Hearted Child Table of Contents

PREFACE: A WholeHearted Journey for Home
INTRODUCTION: Christian Homeschooling — Taking a Step of Faith toward Home
Chapter 1: The Christian Home — Learning to Be at Home with Christ
Chapter 2: The Christian Homeschool — Learning at Home to Be with Christ
Chapter 3: Home Nurture — Shepherding Your Child’s Spirit to Long for God
Chapter 4: Home Discipleship — Shaping Your Child’s Heart to Live for God
Chapter 5: Home Education — Strengthening Your Child’s Mind to Learn for God
Chapter 6: The WholeHearted Learning Model — Living and Learning Together at Home
Chapter 7: The WholeHearted Learning Home — Creating a Home You Can Learn Within
Chapter 8: The WholeHearted Learning Child — Understanding Your Child
Chapter 9: The WholeHearted Learning Youth — Beyond the WholeHearted Child
Chapter 10: Discipleship Studies Methods — The Study of the Bible
Chapter 11: Disciplined Studies Methods — The Study of the Basics
Chapter 12: Discussion Studies Methods — The Study of Ideas
Chapter 13: Discovery Studies Methods — The Study of Learning
Chapter 14: Discretionary Studies Methods — The Study of Living
Chapter 15: Family — Keeping the Vision Alive
Chapter 16: Structure — Keeping the Homeschooling Together
Chapter 17: Order — Keeping the Home Together
Chapter 18: Support — Keeping the Spirit Strong
POSTSCRIPT: The Challenge — Keeping Faith in the Family
A: Books for the WholeHearted Family
B: Books for WholeHearted Learning
C: Forms for WholeHearted Learning