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“For the Knowledge That is Better Than Silver or Gold” – Our Homeschool Bible Education Plans

Bible Study 10

What better living book than the Bible to help give our children ideas to think about and real life examples to learn from as they grow into lovers of truth? 

“We should be working as hard at understanding the teachings of Jesus as Plato’s disciples did at comprehending his words of wisdom. Let’s take up our notebooks and study the orderly and progressive sequence, the penetrating quality, the irresistible appeal, and the uniqueness of the Divine teaching. For this kind of study, it might be good to use a chronological arrangement of the Gospels. Let’s not just read for our own benefit, although we will benefit. Let’s read for the love of the knowledge that’s better than silver or gold.”
Charlotte Mason, volume 6 page 338

We have always included a study of the Bible in our homeschool even when the children were very young. The true test of a living book, in my opinion, is its ability to influence our thinking in a positive way, to move us to action. The combination of Bible reading and then some sort of interaction with the ideas is a powerful tool in raising a Godly family.

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This is when Mr. A was obsessed with making bubble letters like his big sister.

Preschool – Reading Age (around 5): I would read aloud a Bible account from a children’s Bible Stories book and then I would read the corresponding scriptures from the Bible. We do not use the King James version but one that is a modern translation. (Note: Charlotte Mason prefers the King James.)

The children would then narrate on a level that is appropriate for their abilities, either in drawings and/or short narrations. We gently started memorizing the order of the books in the Bible.

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They would copy the scripture into the notebook and draw a picture to go with it.

Grammar Stage (approx. age 5-9): We started at the beginning of the Bible and each day we would read one chapter together. As soon as they were able, they would read a few verses aloud for the family. We would discuss the chapter after reading it and each person would answer one of the following questions:

  • What do these scriptures teach us about God’s qualities?
  • How does this relate to the overall theme of the Bible?
  • How does this affect my life?
  • How can I share this with others?

We started Bible scripture memorization which at that time was one verse at a time of my choosing. We continued memorizing the order of the books of the Bible by using memory aids and games that I made up.

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Logic Stage (approx. age 10-13): We continue with one chapter a day Bible reading (starting back at the beginning when we finished Revelation) and discussion outlined above but once a week we take time to choose a scripture to write about in our Bible notebooks. This is a short paragraph with our own thoughts and perhaps a plan for applying the counsel in our own lives.

We started the Simply Charlotte Mason Bible memorization system where we were learning multiple scriptures at a time. I can remember telling the boys that I wish I had learned a scripture a week when I was growing up so that I could draw those up to my memory now when I need them. I would remind them when they were discouraged that knowing Bible scripture is like having hidden treasure in your heart. (I think they are now at an age that they can appreciate the effort we have put into this project.)

Rhetoric Stage (approx. 14-18): The plan includes all the components from the Grammar and Logic stage but the Bible is used as a text for Ancient History study where we tie our history learning in with the Bible. This has been the best experience for me as a parent because I can actually see my children mature as we make connections and discuss all aspects of our history study in light of Bible scripture.

We also started memorizing longer and longer passages from the Bible. The boys now are memorizing whole chapters of scripture at a time. This is a process that seems impossible at first but it is so satisfactory when it is accomplished. I see great value in not only having a whole treasure chest filled with “silver and gold” scriptures but complete thoughts from Biblical writers like David, Paul, and Luke.

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Each of us has our own Commonplace Book where we keep track of scriptures that we especially feel a need to remember. I keep mine by category….one category on a page with a list of scriptures written underneath. The boys just keep a journal type listing for scriptures that they feel apply to their lives.

Into Adulthood: My older two children are in their twenties and they have kept up their own personal Bible study in various ways. Meaningful study of the Bible can be a progressive training so that long into the adult years it is as natural as breathing. Treasures better than silver and gold…living thoughts that influence us for the life ahead.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

“Thinking is Inseparable From Reading”

“People are naturally divided into those who read and think and those who do not read or think; and the business of schools is to see that all their scholars shall belong to the former class; it is worth while to remember that thinking is inseparable from reading which is concerned with the content of a passage and not merely with the printed matter.”
Charlotte Mason, Volume 6, page 31

The Commonplace Book has come up over the last week in questions from my blog readers. This is a fairly simple idea that I think facilitates exactly what Charlotte Mason was alluding to in the passage above. Reading and then *thinking* about what you have read is very important to making relationships with the written material.

The words on the page become more alive and when our children narrate back either in speech or in writing, taking their reading to a higher level. We are not asking them to answer a preset list of questions but rather to have them read, think, digest, and then tell back in some way what they learned. Copying quotes from their reading also makes them more intimate with the ideas of the author.

John Muir commonplace book
The Commonplace Books that we keep in our family are written by hand into spiral notebooks. They have been put on lined paper and inserted in binders and also written in composition books at various times as well. I generally let my boys choose at the beginning of the year how they want to keep their Commonplace Books. We do not strictly adhere to writing quotes from the books. Mr. B likes to record quotes more than Mr. A. They mix the idea of a Commonplace Book with a journal and have their own unique version of their reading and thinking all mixed together.

A few specifics:

  • They copy quotes from the book.
  • They can write a short summary of what they read.
  • They can record their reflections or responses to their reading.
  • Sometimes they make a sketch or drawing instead of writing words.
  • The length of the entry varies greatly depending on the subject and the length of the day’s reading.
  • I do not “grade” the Commonplace Books, but I do read them weekly.
  • I do not correct their Books for spelling, grammar, or punctuation.
  • They know at the beginning of each week which books they need to write about in their Commonplace Books.
  • Lately I have been requiring a Commonplace Book entry for their free reading books. I find it is the best way to keep up with which books they are currently reading *and* to see that they are actually completing some free reading each week.
  • They are required once a week to make a Commonplace Book entry for their assigned Bible reading.

We started keeping Commonplace Books years ago in middle school. I sort of wish now they were in nice fancy bound books so I could line them up on the shelf for them to have at their fingertips. As it is, they are all scattered about in various binders and notebooks. We still enjoy pulling them out and reviewing them from time to time. I keep my own Commonplace Book but only for my Bible reading….it is a treasure.

Now when I talk about Commonplace Books, you will know what those are and how we use them in our family.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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