Educational Philosophies

What is your educational philosophy?  Did you know you had one? 

The Davis family, over at Elijah Company, sent out a wonderful e-journal this week helping homeschooling parents discover and pinpoint their own philosophies.  The thought-provoking questions can be of use to anyone considering their children's educational future, regardless of whether homeschooling is part of that future.

Many years ago, Chris Davis was a pastor who realized he was spending too much of his time in official ministry and not enough in the ministry of fatherhood.  He resigned from the pastorate to work full time with the family business of selling homeschooling materials — The Elijah Company (named so for wanting to have the Spirit of Elijah — turning the hearts of fathers to their sons, from Malachi 4:5-6).  The Davises have been very instrumental in our lives, helping us to see that ministry should be integrated into all of life, and not simply its own separate entity.  Ron and I heard Chris speak last year and ended up buying his book called I Saw the Angel in the Marble — a life-changing book about helping your child become what God has created him or her to be. 

The Davises have been pioneers in the homeschooling movement.  They have helped home educators search for the "ancient paths," instead of simply recreating institutional school at their kitchen tables.  For years they did this through their "catalog," a thick booklet that held reviews on many products sold by the Elijah Company along with several inspirational essays on parenting and homeschooling.  The Elijah Company's catalog was the first homeschooling resource that really hit home – the sincerity, maturity, ingenuity, and spiritual depth of the Davis family were so evident.  Before the Davises, we had seen homeschoolers as a fearful bunch, wanting only to PROTECT their families from The World.  The Davises got our attention with their rich (and grounded in biblical thinking) reasons for wanting to homeschool (including thinking it the best way to PREPARE their children to make a mark on The World). 

This week's e-journal is on creating a plan for educating our children.  The exercises in discovering one's educational philosophy are worthy of looking at regardless of whether you homeschool or not.  The truth is, we are all called to help our children become what God has created them to be, and we need to be purposeful in doing this.  It never hurts to sit down and think about your child’s future and how you can help get him there.  If you do homeschool, I encourage you to read the article in its entirety, and even follow some of the back-links from Elijah Company's site.  Good stuff!!   

What is your educational philosophy?  

Whether you're aware of it or not, you have an educational philosophy–an idea of what comprises a "good" education. And it's that idea that you bring to the table when you start home schooling your children. It's also that idea that causes you to be attracted to certain types of teaching materials.So you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

1.  If I had to tell what I thought was most important for my children to spend their home school years on, would it be…. (Rank from 1 (most important) to 4 (least important)

____(a) Having my children learn a core body of knowledge that is universally recognized as a thorough education so they can be accepted to top colleges and have professional careers.

____(b) Having my children become acquainted with the great minds throughout history and the worldviews that influence history so that they become thinkers, leaders, and problem-solvers.

____(c) Having my children learn information and skills that are of practical use to them and prepare them for real-world living and family life.

____(d) Having my children discover their meaning and purpose in life and be equipped with the knowledge and skills to fulfil their God-given destinies.  

2. What was I taught that I really needed to know? (Take out a piece of paper and make three columns. Label the columns "Academics," "Practical Skills," and "Relationships." List as many things in each column that you were taught that in the course of your life you have found that you really needed to know.)  

3. What do I wish I had been taught that I've found out that I really needed to know? (Do this exercise in the same way as #2, except your list is going to be of those things you weren't taught that you wish you had been.)  

4. What was I taught that I didn't need to know and don't ever foresee needing to know and I've never met anyone who needed to know it? (Do this exercise in the same way as #2, except your list is going to be of those things that you found were a waste of time for you and everyone else you know to learn.)

For more ways to find your educational philosophy, see this week's e-journal

Since closing their homeschooling store last year (the Davises are now on a mission to bring DADS back home as well as kids!), the Elijah Company no longer has a catalog, but instead publishes a resource guide called Searching for the Ancient Paths along with the very helpful e-journalI thank God for the Davis family, and hope to learn more from them as time passes.


2 thoughts on “Educational Philosophies

  1. Hrrm.

    Professor Needham at Brockport State told me the primary function of a college education is, “Teach students to think.”

    The purpose of education prior to college?
    To jam as much rote knowledge into a child’s head as possible.
    Once he learns how to think, he can sort it out.
    But he can’t sort it out unless he has that knowledge in his head to begin with.

    A child cannot think with the mind of an adult. He needs to grow up, first. Once he does grow up, having a wide-ranging knowledge of facts in his head becomes valueable

    Besides academic education, educating the emotions is enormously important. But I digress…

  2. David,
    You would probably be a big fan of Classical Education. This philosophy doesn't quite say "wait until college to teach a child to think," but they do focus on facts first, teaching a child to memorize facts at an age when memorizing comes easy.
    Here's a site explaining The Trivium and here's a pretty awesome essay (written in 1947 by Dorothy Sayers) called The Lost Tools of Learning

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