Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three educational philosophies

Three educational philosophies by Karen Sargent

We live in a world of three competing educational philosophies: Greek, Roman, and Hebrew. It's vital that you know the difference.

In the Greek model, knowledge was the highest good. Socrates said, "There
is only one good—knowledge, and only one evil—ignorance." One need not look far to see that model in popular homeschool curriculum choices, authors, and convention speakers.

In the Roman model, power and entertainment were the prizes that life had to offer.
For Caesars and citizens alike, to rule the world and then enjoy the spectacle of gladiators and lions in the Coliseum was the highest goal. One need only look at
popular American culture to see that the Roman model is alive and well today.
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Never doubt that we are making disciples through the process of education. So are private schools and public schools. The only difference is which master each disciple will serve.

We all serve a master—
and so will our children.
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The Hebrew model placed the highest value on the dual objectives expressed by Jesus when asked what was required to have eternal life. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “. . . Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22: 37, 39b)
In Hebrew thought, having a vital relationship with both God and our fellow man was the highest priority. The Bible goes on to praise knowledge. Proverbs 18:15 exhorts us "The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge." In Colossians 2:2-3 Paul says, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Did you follow that? God says if we're wise and discerning we will acquire knowledge; we will seek it out. But He also tells us that the treasures of all wisdom and all knowledge are hidden in Christ. If we're to acquire wisdom and knowledge, Christ must be a part of our homeschool planning process, because all wisdom and all knowledge are hidden in Him. And if our ultimate goal is to produce disciples of Him, we must teach our children to love God and to love their neighbor.

Which philosophy are we to embrace: Greek?
Roman? Hebrew? As Christians, I trust most of us can agree that the Hebrew model ought to be the basis of our educational philosophy. Power and entertainment are passing pleasures of this world which serve no eternal purpose. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge, the Bible says, simply makes us proud and arrogant. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 Paul says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." Both the Greek and Roman models are hollow.

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