SEP – Nov 26, 2005

Earlier this week, Andrea announced our Carnival of Unschooling.

This is a post is for the carnival and is on the subject of Christian Unschooling. I have posted 3 previous articles related to Christian Unschooling here, here and here. We have also discussed the subject in the forum.

In the second of the articles, I said that after the 3 of them we would be in a postion to discuss Christianity and unschooling.

When I had a somewhat finished version of my outline and notes for the Master Plan Of Education workshop, I asked Andrea to look it over. When she finished reading it, she looked up at me and had a sort of ‘light bulb moment’ look on her face. She said, ‘Jesus was an unschooler.’

I said, ‘Yes, He was.’

The thing is, for me, there was a similar moment when that realization hit me like a freight train. And it was when I had found the sentences from each chapter and typed them into a document. I read through the sentences and a few point form notes. I had recently reread the life of Christ which I had written a few years before. I’m not sure how the life of Christ section about his teaching methods reads to someone else. A difficulty I have in that area is that I have read the books from which I drew the supporting quotes. What I hope that teaching methods section says is that he used situations to teach as the situations came to him. A second thing I hope the life of christ makes clear is that his main method of teaching his disciples was by example. In fact, if you read the gospels, excepting his public addresses, nearly everything He said to His disciples was in response to things they said, felt or were actively engaged in thinking or doing.

In our society, the base assumption that children are something which need to be fixed is clearly evident. A few generations ago, our society decided children should be schooled. Through the intervening generations, the vast majority of the schooled children have become adults who believe that schooling of children is necessary. It can only be necessary if children need to be fixed. To exemplify how this belief is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings here are a couple of the things he said about children:

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me… Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

I believe that is a very serious charge given to adults who are caring for and training children.

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

This is further clarification of what he meant by this in, ‘Whoever receives one little child like this’. The essence is that we are not to prevent children from turning to Christ. The statement that He will draw all things to himself includes children. Although my upbringing was a great barrier to to it, I’ve come to the realization that children are drawn to the character of Christ. That doesn’t mean that they are capable of achieving it. The principle that I feel is often missed is that we are to receive the children not push them. He will draw them. If we are to receive them then that means they will come of their own accord. Often the argument here is that they are fallen. Yes, but so were you. And He called you didn’t He. And you came.

A small child has a desire to be honest. They will arrive at the point where they realize that they can be dishonest. They will likely be tempted into being dishonest. Their fallen nature prevents them from achieving what they desire. But failing to achieve what we desire does not prove that the desire does not exist.

How can children come to Him except He calls them? Where shall the children come except to those in whom He lives and we receive the child? How shall we escape except we receive the children and take them in our arms, lay hands on them and bless them? Is there any other way?

You see, the gospels were written decades after the crucifixion. The apostles were able to study the Old Testament and gain knowledge and understanding of it in the intervening years. In the account of the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples were described as uneducated or unschooled. They were not selected as disciples because of their knowledge of the old Testament. They were disciples because He called them. He did not start training them by extensively teaching them doctrine. Your children do not need that knowledge to be called to Him nor for Him to receive them.

Christ gave us an example to follow. Show children His character by taking them up in your arms and blessing them. Let them come to Him through you. I did not set out to tell you what educational materials you might or should use in education your children. Rather, I wanted to make it clear to you that your child will not meet Him through textbooks, workbooks, activities, videos, Bible or doctrinal lessons. That is not how it works. I understand that some are not comfortable with unschooling. Diversity is not a bad thing. But do understand that unschooling is an appropriate Christian model of education for a child given the parent(s) is/are prepared to model the character of Christ to the children.

About Ron

Homeschooling dad of 4 (ages 27 - 14), grampy to 3, WordPress core contributor, former farmboy & software developer by profession.