When I first started homeschooling, mumble-mumble years ago, I went all-out on all the subjects. I was one of those homeschoolers who purchased the mega-ultimate-deluxe package of curriculum, covering every single subject in depth with extra workbooks and posters and teaching aids. For preschool. After the mega-ultimate-deluxe bill for that order, we had to eat ramen noodles for several weeks, but we had flannelgraphs, so that was all that mattered. Right?
I grew up and gradually learned how to do without and pare down the excess. By the time I was ready to add younger siblings to the homeschool group, I was prioritizing our subjects as well as our expenditures. Our homeschool elementary studies no longer majored on laboratory sciences, extensive book reports, research projects, and flannelgraph presentations. We were honed in on reading, writing, and arithmetic with laser focus.
But something was missing. Cutting the fat out of my homeschool budget and daily schedule helped save (some of) my sanity and reignite my children’s love for learning (or at least of finishing really fast so they could run outside barefoot). We had what to do next down pat, so they could memorize answers and fill in blanks with happy mastery. But soon I realized the foundation was missing: the why behind the lessons.
The goal of the Garfias homeschool was never build a smarter student or even crank out perfect mini me’s. Instead, David and I were convicted that by intentionally teaching our children day in and day out, we could pass along our most important values, the beliefs and worldviews that God had impressed upon us: love God, love others, work hard for His glory. This has become our Homeschool Why: beginning each child’s lifelong journey of loving and learning.
Yes, math and writing and reading are important; you can’t convince me otherwise. But it gradually dawned on me that something vital trumped all of those, that other lessons drove the other academics and shaped every lesson. And then I found the source: God’s record of His dealings with mankind. That’s when Bible and history moved from secondary to primary importance in our daily studies.
We all agree that biblical training is very important for our children. We know they need to understand Bible doctrine, to apply Scripture to their daily lives, even to memorize key passages that will guide their lives. So we purposefully practice family devotions, pray together, even require biblical studies of our students. That is a cornerstone in biblical home education.