I know there are many different opinions about Facebook. Some love it. Some find it annoying. Some detest it. I am one who enjoys it for a number of reasons. I like being connected to friends who do not live near me. I like being able to publish links to my blog, allowing non-bloggers to easily access my latest post. I am a member of a few Facebook homeschool groups. This network provides the opportunity to get and give advice and encouragement. Facebook is also a place to share prayer requests, look at pictures, and yes, even play the occasional trivia game.
There is, however, one thing that drives me batty about Facebook. VIRAL E-MAILS! I have fallen prey to them twice now. They are so tricky and are always sent in a way that gives them the appearance of having been sent by one of my friends. When it lands in my inbox, it has the name and the profile picture of the person whose account was hacked, a person I know and trust. This ploy is effective and has been my downfall both times. I see my friend's smiling face, let down my guard, and open the deceptive mail, infecting my computer.
Similarly the enemy guises himself. 2 Corinthians 11:14 teaches us that he comes as "an angel of light". Verse 13 explains that likewise false prophets are deceivers who "disguise themselves as apostles". Keeping this in mind, my husband's and my second essential goal for educating our children is that they develop a Biblical worldview. This means that we want them to develop a proper view of God and of man and be able to take the truths of the Bible and apply them. With a proper worldview, they will view the world around them through the lens of the Bible and will be equipped to discern truth from lies.
A child's worldview must begin with the Bible since it is the only source of absolute truth. However, there are two subjects, in my opinion, that are most likely to strengthen or corrupt a child's worldview. If not taught carefully, these two subjects often contradict the Bible and can confuse a child as to what he should believe.
The first subject is social studies. History and geography open the world's door for a child. The events of the past and the places around the globe can ignite their imaginations and stir their curiosity. If what they study in this area contradicts the Bible, however, these studies can instead open their minds to lies.
For instance, where does the study of history begin… millions of years ago or in Genesis 1? Does the progression of eras point to the evolution of man or the providence of our sovereign God? Do the high points of history glorify man or the Lord? Do times of suffering suggest God's absence or affirm His authority? Should we look to people groups and celebrate their individuality or rejoice in the Lord of the Harvest?
To support our goal of building a Biblical worldview, we have chosen Tapestry of Grace as our Social Studies curriculum. Tapestry teaches history chronologically from the Garden to the end of the Twentieth Century. Their integrated approach means that Bible, church history, and geography are taught within the context of the relevant time period. TOG is unabashedly Christian and teaches children at all developmental levels about God's providence, presenting history as a tapestry of time that is "woven by God"*.
TOG is serious in its approach to developing a Christian worldview. Younger children read about missionaries and answer questions about God's goodness and faithfulness. Older students must answer more difficult questions, such as "How does a sovereign yet benevolent God allow cruelties like the Holocaust?". That may seem like a loaded and potentially destructive question, but TOG gives parents the confidence to teach their children how to formulate answers to these questions that are rooted in Scripture. They are not just taught the components of a Biblical worldview but are given the tools and the know-how to defend it.
The other subject that stands to build up or tear down our children's worldview is science. Consider the following questions regarding this study:
Does it suggest, even subtly, that life on earth began in a cesspool or teach wholeheartedly that God spoke His creation into existence? Does it imply that humans are the offspring of apes or insist that God formed Adam with His own hands and breathed life into Him? Does it suggest that man can, through his inventions, solve all of His problems or does it exhort students to trust in the Lord? Does it implant fears of imminent cataclysmic events unless man changes his ways or does it point to the I AM who holds the future in His hands?
Over the years, we have used two different science curricula, Apologia and Christian Kids Explore. Both of these hold to a young earth, creationist view. Both approach science with the intent of praising the Creator and using the complexities of the creation to point to how magnificent God is. These curricula never attempt to use science as a means of scaring children into conforming to the ideology of any political agenda. Evolution is only mentioned in the context of learning to refute it Biblically first and then scientifically.
Certainly, these are not the only curricula that hold to these principles. There are other non-essential goals that guided us in further narrowing our curriculum search to our final decisions. This is when we consider our children's learning styles and interests and take into consideration strengths and deficiencies. I like hands-on activities and projects. I prefer an immersion approach to a cyclical one. However, these things are comparable to the color of my car… nice if I can find what I want but really of lesser importance. I try to separate what is being taught from how it is being taught. In my opinion, it is better to compromise on methodology than it is to compromise on content.
Think back to the computer virus I mentioned earlier. It took two days and three different anti-viral software applications to rid my computer of it. Similarly, a large portion of my adulthood has been spent "debugging". Evolution, feminism, humanism, post-modernism… the list of lies being taught directly and indirectly in most schools is a long one. The ideology of faulty, unbiblical worldviews were introduced to me in public school as angels of light. They appealed to my flesh, and I bought into them wholeheartedly. Praise God that the more I grow in Him the more His grace abounds and the less I want of these things. In Christ, we can redeem the time lost.
However, I want to try something different with my children. I want to educate them in a way that they won't have to debug later in life. With God's help, I want to keep them as innocent as doves while teaching them to be as wise as serpents (Matt 10:16). I want them "to take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" for what they really are. I want them to be equipped with the "whole armor of God, that [they] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil'. (Eph 6:11) I want their education not to confuse them but to edify them and then later rejoice as they, through God's grace, soar like arrows shot from the bow of a mighty man. (Psalm 127:4)