Teaching Philosophy or Worldview to our children as part of our home education program is very important to our family.
Not because we want them to think the same way that we do (as their parents) and not because we think that public schools would brainwash our kids (because we DON’T think that REALLY :) but because we want them to discover for themselves that what we believe in is true (or not).
We know that in education generally speaking, when students discover something for themselves and think about it thoroughly, once they adopt it as truth, it remains with them.
They not only know what they believe in, but they know why they believe it is true.
So, our goal in teaching philosophy and logical thinking has been to ensure that our children can think for themselves through any given subject and sift through the facts to determine if they are true or if someone is misleading them.
Another goal we have for our children is that they might be equipped to try and understand where other people, who do not hold their views are coming from- and for them to listen to others’ ideas.
People often have things of value to share with us that we miss, if we stop listening to them when they hit our “hot button” issues. The Bible says to be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves and we feel that teaching about Eastern and Western Philosophy helps us to reach those goals.
“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” John Kenneth Galbraith“Tolerance teaching eliminates critical thinking. If you tolerate everything, you stop evaluating ideas and lifestyles by any reasonable criteria"~ Mike Smith
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”- Aristotle
Tips For Choosing Curriculum:
1) Don’t be afraid to use quality resources, even if they are from a viewpoint that is not necessarily a Christian one, or one that may be different from your denominational, view etc.. Do not fear the differences, talk about them and help that young person understand why you think that the view is not right, or why it is not the better view. You might solidify your own thinking on an issue or even think differently about it when you are done discussing. Using resources that challenge their thinking as long as you are able to discuss them, will help them prepare for the real world where those views will be challenged and maybe even ridiculed.
2) Discuss with your students! This one is hard sometimes- Do not get mad if they don’t think the same way that you do. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers for them. Take an opportunity to delve into the topic yourself and to find out about it. You may decide that you don’t have to persuade them to think like you do on that subject after all.
3) Use materials and provide activities that will require logical thinking rather than simple regurgitation of facts : ie. projects or speeches, and essay contests on controversial or inspiring topics.
4) Encourage them to be involved in the community so that they can be ready to give an answer to those who might wonder why they believe what they do, and because they will have valuable opportunities to hear different ideas and to get to know (and enjoy spending time with) those who hold views that are not like theirs.
5) Seek out resources that will help them to communicate better! This is to help them be able to hold a civil discourse. So often people do not want to discuss subjects unless they are very sure they will agree with you. We should know how to speak kindly, even about a subject we feel strongly about.
6) Show them how to respect the person even while disagreeing on a topic. God loves all His creation and we have to remember that when conversing with others. He says that some people are lost and wandering in the dark, you have a chance to help them see the light, but you will surely lose the chance if you do not care about them and listen to what they think too!
Materials we have used and liked:
A few suggestions for Worldview & Philosophy reading: The Great Philosophers by Jeremy Stangroom and James Garvey, Gold & Dross by James Townsend, Life After Death by Dinesh D’souza, books written by Lee Strobel, C.S.Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Paine, Voltaire, the Oxford Companion to Philosophy and The “Uncle Eric” Series of Books.
We used books on both Eastern and Western Philosophy. There are books that explore Eastern Philosophy from a Biblical perspective. A thoughtful review of the Eastern culture and way of thinking can better help your students understand Scripture.
Communication Skills: When to Speak Up (and When Not To) by Dr. Michael Sedler and Communication books and curriculum by Art of Eloquence.
Presentations and public speaking experiences are valuable tools to help students learn good communication skills. Skills such as those our students get in 4-H clubs or speech and debate clubs are valuable for a lifetime.
Philosophy has been one of our favorite electives so far. These are just our suggestions and ideas based on what has worked well for our family. Your ideas may be very different than mine. I would love to hear them- feel free to post a comment to me with your book or curriculum ideas, tips or opinions.
- New Books in Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics – January 2013 (greatcloud.wordpress.com)
- Philosopher Alvin Plantinga Receives Prestigious Rescher Prize (palamas.info)
- International Center for Chinese Philosophy (Taipei): New Website (warpweftandway.com)
- Practical philosophy (brandrepair.typepad.com)
- 10 iPad Apps to Enhance Critical Thinking Teachers should not Miss (educatorstechnology.com)