Bible Integrated Curriculum

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The air hums with the chatter of homeschoolers. I'm standing in a curriculum provider's booth, listening to an enthusiastic representative "pitch" me.

I'm going to be a hard sell <smile>.

"The Bible is integrated in our curriculum," she proudly tells me.

"What does that mean?" I give her a moment to consider my question. "Can you give me an example?"

"Uh... sure. When we're studying Creation, we read Genesis 1 and 2."

That one is obvious. "What about, say, when you're studying the 1950's of American History?" Again, I give her time. The puzzled look on her brow lasts only a moment. "Hmm... I guess there wasn't as much integration that year," she admits.

I'm not sure she's following my leading questions, so I ask another. "Can you give me an example from your Bible integrated science programs?"

Either it's my imagination she's relieved or she's just thrilled to be able to show me more of her beloved texts. "This week we're reading about God creating light" --again, back to the Creation example-- "so we do experiments that involve light." The page set before me suggests playing blindfold tag and punching a small hole in a cup to see the light flow out with the water.

"That water and light activity is fantastic," I offer. She agrees.

After thanking her for her time, I wander away, contrasting what I've just heard with Sonlight. We list a desire for a "Bible-centered" curriculum as one of the reasons NOT to buy Sonlight. Still, Scripture is an integral part of Sonlight's curriculum. And the dramatic missionary biographies invite even more biblical study. No, we don't strap a verse to every lesson... but Scripture flows throughout our curriculum. We're not constantly quoting Scripture, but the heart of the Word of God is always there. And as I think of how Christ used passages from the Bible, this seems to be the best approach.

I don't think "Bible integrated curriculum" is really all that integrated. Those who write such stuff are absolutely intentional about sticking the Word of God in the pages of their guides. But such an approach, I sense, misses the way we're supposed to study and apply Scripture. We are called to hide God's Word in our hearts and let that guide our steps.

And Bible memorization is absolutely something we do at Sonlight.

Strange, the sales rep from that other company didn't mention memory work...

How do you feel about Sonlight's approach to Biblical integration (or lack thereof)? How does your family approach reading and studying Scripture? Have you had a chance to check out Sonlight's new Bible programs?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

Word of the Day
Acrimonious: angry and bitter, usually in reference to a debate

Brought to you by Randall Munroe

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  1. I love that sort of thing for younger grades. Talk about which day of Creation God made the trees and then learn a bit about how trees grow. Then we grow up a bit and find out not all answers are quite so easy.

    One major Christian curriculum provider's seventh grade text has an entire chapter on how evolution is wrong but offered very little actual evidence of this, but several scriptures AND an entire "statement of faith" that good scientists should agree with. You probably know the one I'm talking about; rhymes with Mecca. It states that "evolution is not scientific" because no one can observe and record it. The only one who was there was God, and therefore, God is the only one qualified to answer questions about Creation.

    THAT is not science. THAT makes Jesus a laughingstock, is what it does. My public-schooled high school senior thumbed through this chapter and just howled with laughter at its stupidity. The real shame is that so many other things about the book are good and well-researched.

    I think they must have a special committee to deal with the evolution chapters at these companies because it didn't match the tone of the rest of the text. :/

  2. Amy Davison

    We're in the midst of P4/5 and love how each week there is a memory verse to hide away and daily time spent in the children's Bible. We discuss ways the characters in the Mother Goose poems should act toward each other and look forward to the missionary stories in the weeks to come.

    Personally, I don't feel that every inch of a curriculum has to be tied to a verse, you run the risk of taking the scripture out of context and twisting it to say what you want it to say. In my opinion it isn't necessary.

    From what we have seen so far, Sonlight is Bible rich which fuels converstation and growth, yet it allows us parents to step up to our responsibility of raising our children in the Word. We cannot expect, nor should you be required, to nurture our children's entire spiritual lives. After all, that's our job :)

    Our family's approach, outside of daily reading, is to point out ways we see God in our daily lives. Our boys are 4, 2, and 8 months so this game is great sparking their imaginations. My 4 year old is memorizing scripture which he quotes to his baby brothers. We've found that hand movements make the process easy for him and fun!

    The reson we choose Sonlight is because you guys do such a great job guiding us how to teach our children Biblical truths through their education. I am so grateful to have had our friend turn us on to Sonlight. I look forward to the years to come!

  3. Mrs. C, there is certainly nothing wrong with tying lessons together. I'm not opposed to that. But, as you say, things aren't as neat an tidy as we'd sometimes like to pretend. Funny thing about the committee <smile>. I like the idea that "evolution is not scientific" when the primary arguments against things like the ID moment are similarly worded. I would agree that, thus far, abiogenesis is not yet scientific (Miller-Urey did not demonstrate abiogensis due to the chirality of life). That's not to say it couldn't one day become a real area of study, and more recent data may have overshadowed my high school research paper from over a decade ago <smile>. But descent with modification is absolutely scientific and observable today. If people would more accurately define their terms, I think we'd have far fewer clashes...

    Thank you, Amy! I'm glad you are enjoying Sonlight. And, yes, may you have many more years of learning together <smile>.


  4. OH! You got me to look up "abiogenesis." I remember reading about those ideas in high school, too. And I think you're exactly right; if we're careful to use clear language, our disagreements would be far fewer. But it seems that "evolutionist" and "creationist" are both pejoratives depending on which textbook you're reading. :)

  5. Agreed. And, you're welcome <laughing>.