The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for a Complete (Christian) Education

James Altucher wrote a counter, jaw-dropping piece entitled, “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Having a Complete Education”, in which he said such antithetical things like:

“Let’s take it subject by subject:

SCIENCE

You actually need to know NOTHING.

Biology textbooks are hopelessly outdated. As are physics textbooks. There are better resources online where you can learn faster without the pressure of tests and homework. But unless you are doing CPR soon, you don’t need to know anything.

Nobody remembers the muscle names five minutes after the test is over. Unless you are a chiropractor or a surgeon, when was the last time you made use of basic biology?”

I agreed with much of what he wrote, and disagreed with some of it, probably because of our different worldviews.

So I decided to write my own “Ultimate Cheat Sheet”, borrowing from Altucher’s common sense but reflecting my Christian beliefs, foundational to how we approach education.

Subject by subject:

Math

I like what Altucher said:

“I’ve been a computer programmer, an entrepreneur, an investor, day trader, etc. All areas that needed “math.”

The highest level of math I needed to know in the past twenty-five years…

Percentages.”

Only I would add:

Finance, as in how to flesh it out in real life, is of supreme importance. Regardless of the level of math one completed, the majority of Americans are in terrible financial trouble, swaggering under debt, and their lives, regardless of  income, are ruled by dismal financial failures from poor life decisions.

Most math is best learned as life necessitates it. A carpenter becomes fluent in geometry, not because he was studious in class, but because geometry is real to him and is necessary to his job.

Be numerate. The rest will come as needed.

History

Altucher: “First thing: Forget everything they teach you in school. None of it is correct, OR none of it you will remember. Probably all of it is lies.”

I think he’s right. Real, “living” history books and documentaries, that’s the way to go. And discussions about them. And visits to museums when the chance avails itself. And awesome resources like my friend’s new project, “Under Drake’s Flag”, where real history comes to life.

Science

Health and nutrition will benefit you as much as anything. Beyond that, though, a cursory study of whatever interests you serves to reveal the glory of God and His infinite power.You can’t learn it all, that’s for sure. So, learn what interests you. Get out in the physical world. Look around and ask questions.  Then find the answers. Unless you want to become a surgeon. Then learn more.

English

The grand goal is communication. Learning to communicate well will cover a multitude of deficiencies. How to achieve this? Copy others who do it well. It’s the best way to learn almost anything. Vocabulary, proper grammar usage and punctuation, how to use words–it’s all done best by listening to, and copying those who do it better. Along these lines I would suggest that children don’t learn much from other children, including how to use words.

Typing

Everyone should learn to type.

But the most important part of a complete education?

Well, it’s not a subject at all, but far more useful than anything a curriculum can offer is the study of wisdom.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” Proverbs 3:13-14

Which is preceded by the fear of the Lord.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

Wisdom will ensure better financial success than you think a college degree will.

Here’s an ideal curriculum:

  • Copy from the Bible, length of passage according to age. Copy poetry. Copy old books.
  • Hang out with adults. A lot. Especially wise ones.
  • Read. Then tell someone about what you read.
  • Write. Write letters, write on a blog, write to the newspaper, write in a journal. Especially write a thank you letter once a week. Have someone edit for grammar and punctuation. Use a thesaurus. Learn a new word and tell your family about it at dinner.
  • Write  more. Take a few sentences from your local newspaper and rewrite them using half the words. Learn to say things concisely, without using  extra words.
  • Watch videos about how things are made. Or about cooking. Or about things you like. Read books about the same things.
  • Find someone doing what you love and ask to watch or help them.
  • Learn how to do something new.
  • Ask questions. Do puzzles. Listen to sermons. Play Scrabble, Moneywise, Monopoly and other learning games.
  • When you read about a country, go to the map and find it.
  • Start a business. Start a blog. Find ways to make money.

“I wish I had been taught this way. Now I am busy un-schooling myself in this way.” -James Altucher

41 Responses to “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for a Complete (Christian) Education”

  1. Janet says:

    This is a great post. I am going to send it to my friends and family. It takes all the pressure off when you remember that Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

    Concentrating on the important rather than focusing on trying to emulate the school system will result in a well-rounded individual who is personable, articulate, and ready and willing to work hard. I know from talking to employers that one of the most important factors is honesty and reliability. That is best taught at home, by example.

  2. Dawn says:

    I am trying to pay VERY close attention this year to the things my children run to tell me about from their lessons. Such as, which nature books they like best; which period of history gets them excited; if they are an eager pen pal; etc.
    We are in our 19th yr of home education, and I am still learning to fine tune things every year! I hope to really be able to provide them each, the 7 that are still students, with a very personalized education. And I think we are promptly ditching algebra.

  3. Amen! I think our family does nearly all of what’s on your list – though it reminded me of the need to be intentional. (I also LOVED the suggestion to write a thank you card weekly – and have it edited. That covers so many wonderful issues!)

  4. Kelly L says:

    I like all these things you wrote. But I am someone doing a transcript just in case it is God’s plan for our daughter to go to college or design school. I must make sure she checks off the boxes in order to get in, right? How have those of you with kids graduated HS and in college done it?

    I mean, I agree, most of what I learned in Science is not guiding my everyday life. But for her, I use apologia Science Courses since it teaches such an amazing God view of it. It teachers her apologetics at the same time , which I find important, the way things are headed.

    As much as I would love to drop History (I cannot remember any dates I got As for remembering), I guess I am FEARFUL (bad) that someone will ask her an important historical event, and she starts drooling on herself, stuttering… I know the basis is fear…i have to pray about that. How do you handle it?

    Really asking, because I agree with what you said, I think maybe I have been led to do more for her? IDK…

    Thanks

    • There are increasing numbers of unschooling kids entering college or demonstrating the ability to. Also I would note, more and more the college degree is becoming a thing only highly specialized jobs require. Here are some interesting reads:

      Can & Should Unschoolers Go to College: http://unschoolery.com/college

      Kate & Molly Go to College: http://unschoolery.com/college

      http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/homeschool/columnists/mckee/vol7iss3_HowDoUnschoolers.shtml

      • Kelly L says:

        Thanks, I will check those out. I’m thinking she needs more of a 2 year at a fashion design school to pursue what God gave her. She’d only 13, so we’ll wait and see what he does… :)

    • 6 arrows says:

      Hi Kelly,

      I don’t claim to have all the answers to the questions you asked in your comment, but you may find the book Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La to be helpful. It covers such things as making transcripts for your homeschooled child, including how to document real-life learning, and not just traditional academic subjects.

      Also, one of the eight sections of the book is entitled “Out of Fear and Into Freedom”, which could help address some of your what-ifs (like, “What if someone asks her about an important historical event?”, to use your example.)

      Kelly, if I could, I’d like to gently unpack one statement you made, and hope to encourage you with a personal example regarding my oldest daughter’s home education, and how our rather eclectic, unschooling-type homeschooling style has played out now that she is 20 and furthering her education, preparing to be a veterinary technician.

      You said: “But I am someone doing a transcript just in case it is God’s plan for our daughter to go to college or design school.” What I hear you saying (correct me if I’m wrong) is that you’re more comfortable taking a traditional, school-like approach to home education, one that translates well into grades and transcripts.

      My advice is to let go of the “just in case” mindset regarding the potential for post-high school studies, and ask yourself what needs have clearly presented themselves at this time, and what is the best way to address and nurture her current interests, bents and talents. Children sometimes (often?) change their minds about what they’d like to do in the future, and a lot of time can be wasted trying to cover all the bases, “just in case.”

      In our family’s case, we didn’t educate our children with a “They might go to college, so we’d better do this, that, and the other thing so we’re ready if they do” mindset. We just did a lot of real-life living, interspersed with a few academics. Grades and transcripts were not important to us. Preparation to be a fully-functioning adult able and willing to be of service to others was our goal, how ever they would choose to apply themselves in the adult world. Both of our now-adult children are doing well, and are in positions of leadership at their jobs.

      Anyway, in the case of my daughter, she decided when she was about sixteen years old that she wanted to study to be a vet tech after high school.

      Well, there’s a lot of science and math involved in preparing for that field, and my daughter had had a lot of struggles with math until she was about 12 years old, at which age (approximately) abstract reasoning ability tends to improve in a lot of children, making math more understandable for some who had had difficulty before.

      We hadn’t pushed the math issue in her early schooling years, and so she was rather far “behind” (speaking in schoolish terms) in that subject when she decided she wanted to be a vet tech. But being “behind” proved not to be any problem whatsoever, as, developmentally, she was ready to take off in her ability and desire to do well in math.

      She did huge amounts of math then, and was able to attain enough facility in the subject so that she could, in her final year of high school, take chemistry and anatomy/physiology with understanding.

      BTW, chem was designed as a one-year course, and was to precede anatomy and physiology, which was also a one-year course. She did the entire chemistry course in one semester, and the whole anatomy/physiology course in the 2nd semester of her senior year.

      My point in bringing all this up is that when a student sees a clear connection between a course of study and how it applies to what one wants to do in the future, then the knowledge acquired is much more likely to “stick.” She has done very well in her studies because it has meaning and direct application in her life, and is not some nebulous “I might need this some day” subject, which typically gets forgotten soon after the material is set aside for something else.

      Now please forgive me if I sound like I’m bragging — this is all God’s doing and none of mine — but not only has my daughter experienced academic success by taking responsibility for her own education, but she has also, and more importantly, developed many important life skills that have blessed others.

      She currently has two jobs, one in retail and the other working at a pet clinic. (Not surprisingly.) ;-)

      She has worked her way up in the retail job, and supervises a number of people, both younger and older than she. The stories she tells of some of the people who are under her! Zero work ethic; whining and complaining. (One of these “workers” came to her and said, “You don’t seem to like [so-and-so lazy friend who works there]; it’s like you don’t want to be friends with him.” She reminded that kid that that was between her and the other employee, and it was none of his business. Then she went to the other one and said, “It’s not my job to make friends here, although I have; it’s my job to see to it that you are doing your job.”)

      Also, there was a manager in another department who consulted her, asking what her take is on why the turnover rate in one department is 95% each year. She’s got a lot of wisdom and insight into why there are problems with so many of the employees, and, as young as she is, she is sought after for advice and solutions to problems.

      There are many people she’s met in her short adult life who live like they expect others to hand them what they think they deserve, without putting in anything but the bare minimum effort. I came to class, give me my grade. I came to work, give me my paycheck.

      Anyway…enough of the stories. Traditional education is poor preparation for adulthood in so many cases because you don’t have to do much in the way of assessing, planning, preparing and implementing what is truly important. Someone else usually decides all that, and it leads to too many passive adults who can hardly function without direction.

      I think homeschooling is the perfect vehicle for developing the character qualities one needs to be truly successful in life. I’d encourage you, Kelly, to think of yourself not so much as the one who gives your daughter an education (via textbooks, with grades, transcripts, and the like), but let your daughter be the one who designs her own course of study. Let her figure out her own way to approach her education and document her progress. (I think this would be especially beneficial in a career field like design, to be able to demonstrate her skills in designing something out of the ordinary. Grades and transcripts are ordinary — let her be creative!) Don’t let her be dependent on you and all you impart. Impart your Biblical wisdom, for sure, but let her take the reins on the rest of it. (And it sounds like she already has great leadership capacity, if I remember right, in terms of her experiences with playing softball, I think you said. Good for you in giving her that opportunity!)

      Sorry this was so long. I should have read Kelly’s post better, especially that part where she said, “Learn to say things concisely, without using extra words”, LOL! :-P

      Blessings to you and your daughter. :-)

      • Kelly L says:

        Thanks, 6 Arrows!

        I will check into that book. And, I don’t think it is wrong to brag on your kids, I loved the stories. :)

        You are not wrong, I am far more comfortable having an education that can be evidenced through grades and transcripts. But I don’t just cover those subjects. Today, she is at her grandmas sewing a maxi dress because fashion design is her passion and she had better get sewing under her belt. Also, every Wed she attends a fashion class at a homeschool co-op taught by an FIT grad who has worked with big designers and as a designer in Hollywood.

        Next week we are going fabric shopping to get material for her teen formal dress so she can learn to sew on fancier materials. When we were in Venice, we visited an exposition in a hot stuffy building for hours because it was about the evolution of fashion. (I thought I was dying!)

        I guess I am crazy…doing traditional schooling and letting her follow her passion. I really shouldn’t have said “just in case,” but rather said “I feel led.” We really see her as owning her own business, so want to set her up with the basics required for that as well as the most important ones: character and integrity based on The Bible and Christ/God.

        I appreciate your advice, I am going to ask God to show me how to implement some of it!
        <3
        Kelly

        • 6 arrows says:

          Wow, that’s really great, Kelly, all the creative opportunities you’re giving your daughter to nurture her passion for design! And you are so right, that growth in character and integrity, and encouraging her in her relationship with Christ, is of the utmost importance. I love to read examples of how young people are bringing glory to God through the use of the gifts He bestows! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  5. Mama says:

    Love the spirit. Know you’ll appreciate the help — you meant “fluent,” not “affluent.”

  6. Renata says:

    This is very interesting Kelly. Unfortunately if I were to follow along on just completing these topics with my children, I would be forced to put my children into school or have them taken from me. Thus is the new homeschooling laws in NSW, Australia where you must have an inspector come to your house & check that your learning program matches with the prescribed learning outcomes of the state. On his next inspection he will check if you have covered the learning outcomes & yes, we have to document each child’s progress against each learning outcomes ( & it’s as frustrating as that all sounds when you first begin). Sadly natural learners are now basically having to be unregistered which is against the law.
    I do have one small comment (& it’s in no way a criticism so please don’t think this is pointed at you in anyway). Part of educating a child is opening up the world to them. While they may never use 70% (or even more depending upon what the child does in life) of their education later in life, it is very important that you allow your child the chance to at least learn a little about a huge variety of topics. While I think the schooling system does this badly, I think as homeschooling parents we need to be careful not to limit too closely the areas we allow our children to investigate & study at home. I have personally met too many adults who were homeschooled that now wish their parents had never homeschooled them because of the very limited education they received. So I guess my point is we need to be diligent to push them to learn about areas they may not necessarily gravitate naturally towards. And we need to make sure they learn areas we ourselves aren’t interested in (which means I do those dreaded art lessons with my kiddos ;) ). Parenting & homeschooling my children are both difficult tasks, yet they are certainly the most rewarding! Interesting post as usual Kelly!
    Blessings
    Renata:)

  7. Sarah D says:

    This list is so practical and thought provoking. Even if one can’t do this exclusively (as Renata pointed out, and I’m sure similar laws are coming to the US eventually), it can still be incorporated into our living along with the “normal subjects”. =)

  8. 6 arrows says:

    What an excellent post, Kelly! It really reinforces quite a bit of my philosophy and practice in education, but also stimulates my thinking in some new directions, as well. I love that! I might be back with some snippets of thought, as time permits, on how we flesh out a few of these points. Thank you for such a thought-provoking piece!

  9. 6 arrows says:

    If I could suggest one thing to add to this fine list of ideal curriculum…

    Music! Especially singing.

    The psalms are full of references to singing our praise and thankfulness to God, making a joyful noise, and so forth. I love Ephesians 5:19 also: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

    I think knowing how to sightsing is very important, so that we can sing with joy and confidence in corporate worship. It’s kind of sad, in my opinion, when an unfamiliar hymn is sung and few are able to sing robustly because they can’t read music, and mumble and fumble through the first few verses until they sort of catch on to the tune and rhythm.

    I propose we homeschoolers go beyond the subjects our state requires of us, and learn how to sing well and often at home, and bring that joy and gladness in music-making with us to church, too! Maybe the bullet point, “Learn how to do something new”, could be learning to read music for those Christians who don’t know how. ;-)

    O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

  10. More for those concerned about college:

    Unschoolers in College: http://sandradodd.com/college

  11. shannon says:

    Loved this post Kelly! I especially liked the ideal curriculum. For some reason almost everything listed is an “action”. Hmm…Not sitting around on our behinds and “ever learning and able to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

  12. Jessi says:

    I definitely agree with Renata’s comment above about the importance of opening up new areas of study to children. There could be so many areas that a child wouldn’t even realize were a true passion unless they were introduced to it intentionally. Physics, for example, is something I think every student should be exposed to. We are used to living in this world, so we might take things like gravity and momentum for granted. But by teaching a child the underlying laws that govern motion, what makes up matter, different kinds of energy, etc., all of the sudden the world becomes more beautiful and intricate than they ever imagined (or likely could have directly observed on their own.)

    This was true for me – I didn’t even know what physics was until I took a course in my junior year of highschool. I went on to earn my B.A. in physics, and taught high school physics before I married. I can’t wait to homeschool my own children, and physics will be one subject I make sure they have exposure to from early on. That’s not to say I disagree with the main point of this article – but I just had to point out something I think is also hugely important and shouldn’t be brushed aside.

    Also, I would like to add that James Altucher is incorrect in stating that physics textbooks are out of date. A biophysics text would be, but not a physics text. The classical mechanics we do today was developed by Newton (who lived in the 1600s). And what Einstein did over 100 years ago is considered “modern physics.” Of course there has been more done since then (though nothing as ground breaking, yet), but it’s simply ridiculous to say a physics textbook you could buy today is “out of date.”

    • Jessi says:

      P.S. I just read Altucher’s thoughts on science, and I’m so sad. Kelly, your take on science education is much better – I’m so glad you teach your kids that there is absolutely great value in studying our world, and that you encourage your kids (and other homeschool families) to seek to learn more, especially in areas of particular interest to them. I remember you mentioning long ago that one of your sons was interested in studying atoms (and you thought, “ok, well you probably already know more about them than I do”) and it just made me smile. Clearly you did a great job of exposing them plenty of subjects intentionally! :)

      • Jessi,

        I think that’s where, as I mentioned, our worldviews differ, affecting our philosophies. If the world is just a random result of chance, I can see why there wouldn’t be wonder in studying it. But to know that learning more about the physical world is to learn more about God, that’s fascinating.

        But I would also challenge your earlier comment about “exposing your children to physics.” I know what you mean, but I think you may underestimate how much our children are already immersed in physics as a part of their natural world. Even toddlers get versed in physics as they play and experiment and test the world around them.

        But yes, the more we can expose them to the better. I just think it’s wise to let them gravitate toward what really interests them, because that’s what will ultimately give them what they need for their particular direction in life.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Wow, that was an excellent article! And the links — I could click around at that site all day. ;-)

      This comment really stood out to me: “Age-grouped grades are one of the principal sources of terror for children in school, because they are always feeling they are not as good as someone else or better than someone else, and so on. Such comparisons and other social problems caused by age-similar grades cause many a child to have terrible confidence problems.”

      I think that mindset gets carried into adulthood, too, that habit of always looking around and comparing oneself to others. It’s an unfruitful game (or maybe I should say it IS fruitful, but bears bad fruit) that can cause distorted thinking and more, which serves no one.

      On a similar note, in searching for information today on music performance anxiety, I came across an interesting site with an article that has some relevant insights into education-related matters not only specific to music, in my opinion. Even the title alone is instructive: “How Making Mistakes Can Accelerate Learning.”

      From the article: “[The] study generated a number of interesting findings about the learning process, but one of the more intriguing findings was that greater variation or inconsistency in a player’s early scores was associated with higher scores later on…Indeed, we don’t have to play things “perfectly” every single time. It’s ok to try new approaches, and make mistakes along the way. We needn’t restrict our curiosities and creativity out of fear of reinforcing bad habits and doing it “wrong.””

      http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/how-making-mistakes-can-accelerate-learning/#more-8919

      When do schools ever reward “mistakes along the way”? When do children ever feel free to fully express their curiosity and creativity when someone might tell them, “That’s wrong; try it again, and THIS time…(blah, blah, blah)”?

      The answer: they can’t. Not when grades — the fewer mistakes you make, the higher your grade — are the be-all and end-all of your education. That’s not learning, unless you consider “learning” to be how to manipulate the system to get the final mark you want.

      Where’s the long-term value in that?

  13. Jessi says:

    Kelly,

    Just adding my further thoughts here instead of comment 12 so the words don’t get too crunched.

    I know what you mean about toddlers being exposed to physics as they interact with the world; after all, learning to walk gives plenty of first-hand experience with gravity! :) What I was speaking of was exposure to the body of work that has been done in this area – like Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, or the anatomy (or existence) of atoms.
    Children can interact with and wonder about the world all they like, but few of them will independently theorized the existence of protons, or come to the conclusion that a falling feather and a falling bowling ball are governed by the same laws (and derive them, and test them, etc.).

    Rather, we as parents take that wonder of theirs and then open their eyes to the complexities of the world they never even imagined. I.e.”Yes, isn’t it amazing how God created the earth, and the water, and the air! Did you know that even though these things have such different properties, on the smallest scale they, and all matter, are made out of what we call atoms. And atoms are fascinating because…” The more they learn, the more they will be compelled with the psalmist to proclaim that truly the heavens declare the glory of God!

    Two other brief thoughts I have on deciding what (our own) kids should study and learn. 1) While I understand (and agree!) with the idea of letting the child’s interests lead in their education, I also think it’s important to remember that sometimes we as their parents know what is best for them and should guide them accordingly, whether they like it at first or not. If a child decided he wasn’t interested in vegetables, well, it doesn’t matter how he feels, I’m going to require to eat them anyway because I know it’s tuly in his best interest. I could offer him choices to an extent, but in the end I will still require what I know he needs. The same is true with academics. They might not have an interest in reading, or in learning some Greek, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let them ignore those disciplines. And oftentimes, it takes mastering the basics before the real love of a subject is opened up to them – why do I require them to eventually memorize and learn the names and sounds of the alphabet (which they might find tedious)? Because then the adventures of Jules Verne or Henty are opened to them! (And of course, everything else.)

    2) I think it is also important to remember that in our teaching our children we are giving them a heritage of knowledge. And we can’t be short sighted about that. I love the words of John Adams: “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.” Here again we see that education isn’t just about what we (or what our kids) want or find interesting, but rather what we must do for the good of our own children, and their children (and our Nation, and ultimately for the Kingdom of God). I think this would be an important vision to pass on – at least, it’s the vision I desire my own children to take up, and pass on.

    Sorry for the length. Thanks so much for providing so much food for thought! May God bless you and your family in all your endeavors! :)

    ~Jessi

    • I like this conversation, and I’m appreciative of your thoughtful challenge.

      I agree with you and disagree. (I hope you don’t mind my giving reasons; honestly, this is great practice for a homeschooling conference I’m preparing for and giving answers to these kinds of questions/concerns.

      I absolutely agree with your term a “heritage of knowledge.” But we may flesh that out differently.

      You said, “few of them will independently theorized the existence of protons…” That’s true. And just as it should be. If you think about the vast amount of information about the world–more than any of us will ever begin to master, it only makes sense to let a child venture into what interests him. For one, we don’t remember things we aren’t interested in, so it’s virtually a waste of time to force-feed information.

      But also, with the vastness of information and the uniqueness of each person, God has designed us to follow uniquely different paths, and that even means learning different things. (This is where we are so very brainwashed by the system.)

      Having said that, I believe it’s our job as parents to expose/encourage/inspire as much as we can with the vastness we have.

      As to the eating analogy, what if only healthy food was available in the first place? Someone has said that boredom is a great catalyst for learning. It’s my opinion that, just as junk food, we limit the opportunities to consume mental junk.

      Also, I may cook 5 different things for supper. I present them, encourage my children to eat them, etc. I will require that they eat enough for their basic nutrition. But I don’t make them eat single thing I ever serve. The one who has an aversion to onions sees them, smells them and watches us enjoy them. But if he doesn’t want them, I don’t make him. There are other things he likes and he won’t be malnourished because he didn’t eat the onions.

      So our heritage, in my opinion, is a state of exposing them to all sorts of things, letting them gravitate mostly to what they enjoy. Do they “have to read” and other basic things foundational to all learning? Yes. But contrary to what most people think, they’ll even learn to do that on their own if left alone.

      Our heritage is that they see us love to learn, to do things, to ask questions, to find answers, to learn how to learn. It’s the way God made us and we have to trust that.

  14. Caura says:

    This question just popped into my head, I actually rushed home to come on here and ask.

    I will preface by say I am the type who would encourage both sons and daughters to graduate from college. And also, for full disclosure, I don’t have a degree.

    If you don’t agree with your children going to college because, in part, of the worldly culture….Would your 17/18 yo joining the military?

    The culture in the military would be much more worldly, andbecause they have more money, they would have even more chances to get into trouble.

    No judgment either way. Just insanely curious what your thoughts on a teen joining the service rather thsn college…from the worldly culture perspective. I don’t think you have written about it here.

    • Caura,

      I love that you rushed home to ask, LOL!

      I haven’t given the military much thought and there are 2 (maybe) parts to my answer.

      First, it would probably be a very similar consideration from the cultural perspective, although colleges specifically teach untruths and worldviews we disagree with, as opposed to simply a deprived influence. So there are some differences. We expect our children to act as adults by that age, and would hope they would make choices based on their own discernment, so there’s another factor.

      But mainly, our opposition to college has very little to do with those things. And I should clarify that we aren’t opposed to college completely. We simply feel like aside from a few, specialty careers, there are far more feasible, inexpensive, faster ways to reach one’s goals. Basically, if they HAVE to go, fine. We’re hoping they don’t because I think it’s an overpriced, overrated, tedious, time-consuming way to learn things. ;-) For many jobs, there’s just a smarter way to obtain the necessary learning/skills. (One of many articles that share my opinion: http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/22/mike-rowe-you-dont-have-to-go-to-college/)

      • Caura says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        My husband was a naval officer. I would say he was thought thins, usually EO classes, that I would say are against your world views. Of course you don’t need to believe them, but you have follow them and at least pay them lip service. You are also in an environment where you are expected to conform- for good hopefully o

      • Caura says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        My husband was a naval officer. I would say he was taught things, usually EO classes, that I would say are against your world views. Of course you don’t need to believe them, but you have follow them and at least pay them lip service. You are also in an environment where you are expected to conform- for good hopefully o

  15. Heather says:

    I think it is so awesome how God created each family so differently and fit them perfectly together.

    We are relaxed homeschoolers and that is just what we chose to do for our family. I have to seek God’s kingdom first and do what He is leading me to do.

    Some families choose a strict schedule and for others, just the opposite. Whose right or wrong? There are good and bad results for both. What fits your family how has God created you?

    I am hoping I put this comment in the right spot and that it makes sense – I have been interrupted nothing short of a hundred times and I am just hitting submit regardless!

  16. Marie says:

    Do you think it is profitable to teach children to write cursive? Do you use a curriculum for spelling? Is their a typing program you like? For history, I make sure my little ones know the history contained in the Bible first, and then the rest will come later.

    • Marie,

      I do teach my kids to write in cursive. It may or may not be profitable ;-)

      We do not use a curriculum for spelling. Reading and copy work are it. Interestingly, I only have one who struggles with spelling. He actually was one of the few who DID do a formal spelling curriculum for a while (it didn’t help). He’s also very artistic and I’ve wondered if their is a correlation. He’s sees other things very differently from most people. I wonder if he sees words differently too? My other children are great spellers and have never studied it specifically.

      We’ve used a standard typing book (I think it was called “Type It”) and we’ve used an online class with “All-in-One Homeschooling.” Both have worked well and my 12 yr. old just finished and is typing like a champ.

  17. Claudia says:

    Sooooo many great discussions, comments, links! I want to follow every one of them, but I must finish dinner first! Loved your list, Kelly, and while I agree, I think you would agree with this too: In the end, the decision must be made as a husband and wife working on the same team. In our family, this looks sometimes traditional, sometimes not. A happy mama and daddy is more important than any style of home education.

  18. [...] The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for a Christian Education [...]

  19. [...] “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to a Christian Education” I mentioned the importance of living history and how Under Drake’s Flag can help history come [...]

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