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Flat-heads and Phillips

"What curriculum are you using" and other less-than-helpful questions, via
from my archives, a little timely reminder

‘Tis “Curriculum Season!”

It is the time of year when mailboxes are stuffed with curriculum catalogs, ripe with their brightly-colored offers of ease and excitement.  Homeschool book fairs, home education conferences, and homeschool book swaps entice hoards with promises of information and resources and send them out with their arms full of pamphlets, novels, dictionaries, and texts.  Emails, phone calls, newsletters, and magazines are tuned into the hysteria, adding to the confusion with articles and suggestions to “Do this! Buy mine! Sign up for ours!” And homeschool mothers everywhere, upon meeting one another in person or on-line, first ask the ever-important question:

What curriculum do you use?

And the next-door neighbors, the curious ones who don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to send their progeny off on the big yellow bus every day, ask the cousin question:

Where do you get your books?

My friend, have you ever stopped and asked yourself why this fascination with curriculum? When one meets a university physics professor, do you immediately ask him, “What curriculum do you use?” No, rather, you might inquire could he simplify Einstein’s theories in lay-man’s terms for you. Is it true that nothing could ever go faster than the speed of light (I am wrestling with that right now)?

Why must homeschoolers be subjected – and subject one another – to this constant curriculum comparison?

In my humble opinion, I believe this phenomenon stems from an incorrect view of education itself.   Those who institutionalize their children equate the school with education, and this is one major point we homeschool parents differ philosophically from many of our neighbors.  We believe that the institution does not equal education, but rather education will happen better when the flawed institution is removed.

But, many of us have transfered our beliefs to curriculum, equating books with education. But …

Do books educate?

Think about that premise carefully.  Do the books themselves equal the education I am giving my children, or am I the educator? If I am to teach biblically, I must re-evaluate how I approach the use of books in my child rearing.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent,

And the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it,

But the instruction of fools is folly.

The heart of the wise teacheth his moth,

And addeth learning to his lips.

~Proverbs 16

The biblical model is the teaching itself that is important – not the tools of learning.  Great books are important; I want my children reading for hours every day.  But the emphasis in our home learning must be where God places it – on the parents raising up the young to look toward Him.

And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me …”

~ Exodus 13

I would encourage you, my sisters in this: do not get wrapped up in comparing tools of the trade with your fellow laborers.  Rather, let us encourage one another in the great work which the Master has give us to do!

Every wise woman buildeth her house…

~Proverbs 14


  1. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7

    So much the focus is in having the word written in our hearts…that God has promised to do this. And this is what we teach our children…every moment of EVERY day. And this is the most important teaching that I can hopefully give my child…a love for Christ and for His Word. I am teaching him how to read and write and do math, and science (which he LOVES), and hopefully these are all tools in the bigger picture of showing him Jesus, the Savior and Lover and Teacher of his soul. This is my desire. Whatever means I can find to do that, I am willing to consider. No particular “curriculum” is as exciting as LIFE itself.

    Thank you so much for the encouragment.


    • *whew!* You “get” what I was saying, Nicole! “The bigger picture of showing him Jesus, the Savior and Lover and Teacher of his soul.” I love how you said that. Amen, and Amen! May we continue to uplift one another in prayer and encouragement as we strive toward THAT great goal!

      ~ whatever!


  2. Pingback: Book Review – Pajama School | Lea Ann Garfias

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