The path that lead me to Christ Centered Curriculum
This is the time I have been waiting for… my oldest child has turned 5 and will officially begin kindergarten in our homeschool. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a teacher. Teaching is in my blood. It’s my passion. My boy has been learning since the day he was born and I’m proud of his academic knowledge. He’s a pretty smart kid. But, for me, this is different. This is kindergarten.
Initially, I wasn’t really looking for a curriculum. I have GOBS (this is a literal amount meaning Grand, Opulent, Bountiful Supply) of teaching materials from my former days as a public school kindergarten teacher, but there was one area my materials were deficient. Biblical lessons.
We probably have about 5 Bible Story books, but I haven’t really been happy with them either. The information has been so watered down in them. It makes for an uninteresting and more importantly a difficult to relate to or learn from kind of story.
So I started my search… I looked at as many Christian based curriculums I could find. Based on my research and the samples I looked at I found some that seemed very worksheet based, some that told Bible stories in the same watered down style, and some surprisingly didn’t seem to focus much on God at all. At this point, I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted, but the curriculums I looked at didn’t feel like what I was hungry; I was blind.
I asked the few people that I know that homeschool what curriculums they were familiar with or would recommend, but they named some of the same ones I wasn’t impressed with. I was disheartened. While I can’t say that I specifically prayed for God to guide me, it was definitely a prayer that was in my heart. Looking back, I should have stopped relying on my own research and asked God to lead me, but thank goodness we have a gracious God that knew what I was looking for even when I didn’t have a clue.
Somehow, going from link to link one day, I landed upon this article written by Doreen Claggett, “God-Centered Education vs. Child-Centered Education.” This article challenged many of the educational beliefs that I had formed over the years as a classroom teacher and even more so those that I had formed through my research of the best homeschooling practices. But… I know God was working in my heart, because the statements she made, many which contradicted my own teaching philosophies, began to make sense. It’s like the scales fell away from my eyes and I was no longer blind.
What challenged my teaching philosophies:
1. A God-centered education begins with memorization and develops into understanding, not just through experiences. Sorry unschoolers, this applies to you. Honestly, I’ve dabbled in unschooling my children, allowing them to just learn through the experiences we provide them with as we travel around the country, but the best experiences are the ones that we studied about beforehand. Providing children with a multitude of experiences is a wonderful thing for their background knowledge, but the experiences themselves do not provide a deep and lasting education. Taking the time to learn about a historical site, animal habitat, landform, or any other educational opportunity before your child experiences it, and better yet discovering the connection to God will enlighten their minds so much more.
2. In a God-centered education, the teacher is the imparter of knowledge, not the facilitator. Again, this contradictor the facilitator push from the public school system. I think in an effort to try to move away from the boring lecture, as usual the pendulum swung to the other extreme. But, if you think about it, little ones absorb knowledge from the ones they talk to and when they discuss thoughts and concept. The teacher is the one with the knowledge. Around a table or while sitting on a couch together, that information can be passed from the teacher to the student. Memorization is the beginning of a journey toward understanding. We don’t have to wait until the child is “developmentally ready” to understand a concept before we introduce it to them. Before that time, they have the ability to memorize the information until the light bulb goes on. Claggett says,
“…we need to recognize that the appetite that is fed the most will grow the most. The more "fun, fun, fun" is incorporated into education---and children's daily lives---the more likely they will crave "the world and all that is in it" (1 John 2:15-17). Normally, when the fun-and-games stop, so does the learning. How then can we expect to instill a delight in God and lifelong learning if He seems dull in comparison to worldly pleasures? And how then will that ultimately affect His command to study to show ourselves approved unto Him (2 Tim. 2:15)?”
3. A God-centered education is structured to work first, then play; not play as work. This conclusion made me widen my eyes! I am all about playing games and having fun learning. They’re little kids. They want to play. They need to play. Right? Yes, but they can play after they work. Not everything we do in life is fun as children or adults. We need to instill from an early age a dedicated attitude. One that is committed to accomplishing something no matter how boring or difficult it is, because it is worth it. Once done, we can thank God for His help throughout the struggle, enjoy a feeling of accomplishment, and celebrate with a time of play. This is what we as mature adults do. We should encourage our children to learn the importance to getting a job finished, rather than satisfy their own desires of having fun. Yes, they may be young, but they can do it at their own level and they should be trained from an early age, because self-discipline, self-control, and self-denial are difficult concepts that take a long time to master.
Why I chose Christ Centered Curriculum:
After reading this article, I clicked on the various tabs at the top to read more and more. I learned about the Christ Centered Curriculum, but I wanted to know more. I found samples some from the Christ Centered Curriculum website and some from other online sources. I fell in love with the way scripture and principles of God where woven through each lesson. I wanted to learn even more so I purchased the book, “Never Too Early” by Doreen Claggett, which I highly recommend for you to read. The book shares a great deal of insight that I feel is important to know beforehand about the curriculum and how to use it properly. To me, this doesn’t seem to be a curriculum that you just buy and get started with because over the years most of us have heard the statements of the world so often that we accept them as truths. I know I did. You know the statement, “Not everything on the internet is true.” Well… that’s true. Our source for information should come from the Bible. It’s not out of date and with a little help, we can find the answers to our questions on how God wants us to educate our children.
Is it everything I hoped for?
I don’t know yet. I’ve purchased the Complete Math + Phonics Package B, which includes Package A resources (created for older 3 year olds… Lily Anne) and Package B resources (created for older 4s and 5 year olds… Caleb). Some of it will be a review for him as he already knows most of his numbers to 100, recognizes all letter names, letter sounds, many sight words, and is beginning to read cvc words, but I wanted to go with this package because scripture is tied to each concept. This is what we will be focusing on this year.
When the school year is over, I plan to do a review on the Christ Centered Curriculum to let you know if it was everything I was looking for in a curriculum.
Do you use Christ Centered Curriculum? Have you in the past? Did it work for your family? If not, did you research how it was created to begin with and why? I’d love to hear from you.
An Enlightening Statement:
God centered education was designed from the begin by the Hebrews so that “Scripture was the starting point of instruction; it was never tacked on.”
God Bless You on Your Learning Journey ~
Side Note: Do you love the First Day of School sign on the Cover photo? It is made by my friend Gillette Smith and she does great work! It's actually a front and back sign with the back being the Last Day of School! If you're interested in more information about buying one (great for traditional school as well as homeschoolers!) contact her: Gillettepsmith@gmail.com