Posted by: chrisdavis | January 22, 2014

Call it like it is


I hold in my hand a Scope and Sequence Chart from A Beka Book Company, which has been one of the more popular homeschool curricula for decades. The Chart’s 14 pages contain a detailed list of every requirement necessary to educate a child from age 2 through high school graduation.

It is considered Christian, as are many other popular curricula such as Bob Jones, Alpha-Omega, and A.C.E., to mention only a few.

They may be Christian, but—and this is my personal opinion—I would not consider them Biblical. Why?

Virtually every Christian curriculum begins with a secular worldview of what a child must learn to be considered educated and then the curriculum publisher attempts to infuse that curriculum with Christian principles. We might say the publisher has “Christianized” the traditional, secular academic process.

By contrast, a biblical curriculum begins with a biblical worldview of what a child is and how that child should be raised in order to fulfill his, or her, reason for having been placed on this planet.

Most Christian curricula (though infused with biblical principles) is still the same, basic curricula that any child would face in any public, or private, school in this country.

I am not saying these curricula won’t educate your child. Each has been used successfully by thousands of families and each has produced educated adults. Like any curriculum, one child may thrive using one of these curricula while, for another child, that same curriculum would be tantamount to child abuse. But, this difference is due to the individual child more than to the curriculum being used.

What I am saying is this: If you are using a Christian curriculum as you homeschool your child(ren), is it Biblical? How would you know?

In my new book, Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally (publication scheduled for February, 2014), I attempt to share what I consider to be a biblical worldview regarding what a child is and how to raise (and homeschool) your children for a purpose other than employment or to “become a productive member of society” (the 2 main goals of a public—and most Christian—education).

If you are reading this and would like a free copy of Part One of my book (Part One is entitled “What is a Child?”) simply email me at ChrisDavis@PioneerHomeschooler.com and include in the subject line “Send Part One” and I will send it to you right away. After reading Part One, I would appreciate any comments you have about what I have to say. Again, the entire book should be available in February of this year as both a paperback and an e-book.

Happy Homeschooling! Chris Davis, your Pioneer Homeschooler

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Responses

  1. I loved part one and am looking forward to the book’s release. It is truly a paradigm-shifting work.

  2. This is something I’ve been saying to myself for a long time… it’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only one. Looking forward to reading both Part One and the new release.

  3. Chris,

    May I copy this post and include it under our event “Schedule” page to let our attendees know what you will be covering during our “Day with Chris Davis”? Let me know your thoughts on this.

    Thanks so much, Valerie

    • Good idea, Valerie. Go ahead

  4. Mid-Winter Conference in Michigan can not wait to host Chris Davis on March 1 as he unveils his wonderful new book! http://MidWinterConference.wordpress.com/

  5. So refreshing to hear this point of view, especially as it seems that new homeschoolers often feel more secure with packaged curriculums, especially Christian ones. Thanks for this.

  6. Twenty years ago, when we began our homeschooling journey, I was privileged to meet you at an OCHEC conference–you began then to “teach” me how to homeschool my sons. We still have several years to go with our daughters and are so grateful that you are still reinforcing and adding to what you began back then. Because we are not bound to a scope & sequence schedule, we stopped everything to do “Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings” thus feeding my high schooler’s desire for literature and creative writing by learning from one of the best. I would never have been brave enough to alter our plan mid-year without your training! I am looking forward to the release of your book and making a mental list of friends who desperately need it. Thank you for staying in the trenches with us!

    • Anita, thanks for your kind words. Hopefully, book will be out soon. CD

  7. I am going to get your book soon. But in the mean time, I think you have hit the nail on the head! My mom started with Rod & Staff, but by third grade had switched to almost 100% A Beka. She skipped their Bible, because she thought I got enough of that between church lessons and family worship (I never had a formal Bible class until high school, when I was doing correspondence). Looking back, I think the math was pretty good (though I’m not using it now for my kids, I would consider it, depending on the child), but I hated a lot of other aspects of it. And you are exactly right: It is not that much different from other non-Christian curricula.

    I started homeschooling my first with My Father’s World kindergarten, and I have really appreciated their Biblical focus. They focus on nature (and nature’s God, starting out with Creation during the first week of school) in Kinder and in first grade they go through all the major Bible stories. Writing and reading are wrapped around the current Bible theme (memory verses and Bible stories in the Bible reader). For second grade, I’m taking a step back from the boxed curriculum and experimenting with making my own. I’m going to be focusing on character traits for at least half the school year, and play it by ear from there.

    Oh, and one thing I am doing decidedly differently than any any school out there: I have no urge whatsoever to follow a typical school schedule. We started Kindergarten in January, doubled up when it was easy, skipped days and even a week here and there during the summer (to let the kids just have fun in the sun), finished in August, started 1st grade the day after we finished Kinder, and now we decided to finish the last week of school today (we had 6 days left). She read 5 of the 6 chapters left in her reader (and she doesn’t enjoy reading much, though the Bible reader is her favorite thing to read). She finished the pictures for the time line, and she has a Bible verse to read. I don’t see the point of doing the other stuff. We are ready to be done. Then we’ll take a few days off to just read for an hour or two every day (me reading–I’m giving her a break from that), and then we start second grade next week. We will school through the summer, taking days off as needed. We will take full advantage of the Science museum membership that we are going to buy next month, going there once or twice a month, and that will be science class (with perhaps the occasional written report, but I think mostly oral will suffice). Whenever we finish second grade, we’ll decide if we need a break and how much. And if we need to take off a week or a month at any point during the grade, fine. We’ll do it. And then we’ll pick up where we left off and continue on from there. If we follow our current pattern, we might be done by Christmas. Or we might take 12 months. I’m not worried. All I know is my daughter loves school mostly, and she is learning so much. As long as she wants to “do school” at least 90% of the time (sometimes she needs to learn character and “just do it”–but that rarely happens), I figure it’s all good.

    But, yes, I do need to get your book.

    • Lisa, thanks for the thoughtful comments. After you read the book, please let me know what you think. Also, please post a review on Amazon.com. Honest comments…whatever you think. Chris Davis


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