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Education is learning to fulfil your purpose in life.  From a Christian perspective, this means learning to glorify God by enjoying him.  Education is learning to love the God of truth, goodness and beauty with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The Content: Education, then, is not essentially about reading, writing and arithmetic, although it includes these.  Neither is it about learning to change a plug, or learning how to find out how to change a plug – but it does include these too.  Rather, education is concerned with answering three overarching questions:  Who is God?  What is he doing in the world? How are we to respond to him?  We can answer these questions only by God’s gracious revelation – through his word and through observing his world in the light of his word.

The Context: Education is not limited to something that happens for 8 hours a day between ages 4 and 18.  It is a constant, lifelong process.  Whatever we do and wherever we are, we are either learning to love God, or not to love him.  Education happens as we walk down the road, read the newspaper, sit in the classroom or sit in the pub (hence the all-of-life approach to the education of adults and children we see described in Deuteronomy 6).

The Need and Method: This is not a popular assertion, but we all start off life as immature and ignorant.  We are not naturally obedient and self-disciplined, so we need hands-on training.  We are not born wise, and our natural bias is away from the knowledge of God and his purposes.  We can’t figure these things out on our own, so we need deliberate instruction.  Thus, both training and instruction need to be prominent in our approach to education.  We engage in these things dilligently, recognising our complete dependence on the Holy Spirit to produce in us and our children a love for the God of truth, goodness and beauty.

The Agents: In Deuteronomy and Ephesians 6v1-4, parents are the God-appointed educators of their children.  This means that all Christian parents are actually home educators.  That’s not to say that we can’t outsource some of our children’s education.  In fact, all of us do.  For instance, when a homeschooled child reads a book not written by his/her parents, then education is being outsourced.  Having said that, we are still responsible as parents for the parts of education that we outsource.  The issue then is not whether to home-educate or to outsource.  Rather, parents need to decide how much to outsource, what to outsource, to whom and at what age.  There is much freedom in making these sometimes tricky decisions.  What is wise will differ from family to family, but that’s not to say that we should never question each other’s decisions concerning this.

Pierre Queripel

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