What is a Christian Curriculum?
There are many Christian curricula available today and no doubt some are very useful but there is more to designing a Christian curriculum than putting a Bible verse at the top of each page of sums.
There is more to it even than ensuring that Biblical creation is taught rather than evolution. I thought I had a good idea of what was needed when I started home education but I soon found that Christian education was radically different to the kind of education I had had myself.
Christian Home Education has a profound effect on the way you, the parent, think as a Christian in that it forces you to consider every aspect of life from a Christian perspective. If you have to teach your child biology you have to research and understand the Creation/Evolution debate – that is obvious. But this is not the only subject that has to be completely re-thought from the bottom up. History, for instance, constantly raises questions once one is evaluating the actions of rulers or nations against the standard of God's Word and one also finds oneself constantly sifting through what one reads to find the Church. “Where were the Christians?” one keeps asking. What were they doing? These are the things that interest us. History is the story of God's providence and of his church! How did the events of the day work out to the spiritual good of God's people? What were the ideas that drove people to act in the way they did and how did those ideas either depart from or draw on God's Word?
Then there is geography. Wrong geological assumptions underlie the teaching of physical geography in ordinary textbooks and in learning more generally about other parts of the world one often needs to research what is going on in the way of missionary activity to gain a true picture of what a country is like. One needs to constantly bear in mind that this is God's World not Our World.
When approaching the topic of learning to read Christians are inspired by the knowledge that God's word is a written word. Writing (and indeed language itself) is not something humans have just invented for their own convenience. To know for himself what God says in His Word a child must learn to read. This means that reading is of the utmost vital importance. All over the world literacy comes in the wake of Christianity because it is the God-given vehicle for apprehending the very revelation of God Himself.
As parents we quickly came to the conclusion that everything we taught had a different perspective, a different emphasis. Even Maths – yes Maths! – looks different when you realise that it is a fundamental evidence for the existence of a consistent Creator.
All this makes you consider things that previously had not entered your head. If your child is in school you can ignore these issues. Your child is taught everything as though God does not exist – as though his immutable nature is not the very reason why one plus one always makes two. Personally I found it deeply inspiring and mind expanding as well as humbling to realise that before I was just ambling along with a set of anti-Christian principles governing how I perceived some of the most basic aspects of life.
I do not mean, of course, that you can never use “ordinary” textbooks. But you do use them in a different way and with certain modifications right from the beginning. As a rough and ready rule the older the book the easier it is to make it conform to a Christian worldview. This is because older writers were unconsciously influenced by that worldview and modern writers often consciously ignore or fight against it. In older books the underlying Christian assumptions are often there – you just have to spell them out.
The important thing to ensure is that the education you provide is Christ-centred – not “child centred”. If you provide an education that is centred on the individual child he will be in danger of growing up with his fallen idea that he is the centre of the universe confirmed. If you help him understand that what he is learning is how what we read in the Bible is worked out in every aspect of God's creation he will have a foundation on which to build which will enable him to search out truth for himself.