As home educators, we want our children to be able to think for themselves with the Bible as their foundation of thought. Hopefully, we are teaching our children how to use logic, deduction, and reasoning to solve problems in their schoolwork and in serving their neighbors. If we teach them only how to memorize facts and manufacture answers, we are not sufficiently preparing them for college and life as adults.
Biblical Worldview Thinking
But critical thinking must extend beyond our children’s education to their spiritual lives as well. If we teach our kids only how to memorize Bible facts and recite verses, we are not sufficiently preparing them for their lifelong relationship with the Lord. If we think that attending church and participating in programs will provide our children adequate spiritual training, we’re grievously mistaken. It can be a temptation for parents to drill critical thinking into their children’s schooling while doing very little to encourage it in their Christian walk. They miss crucial opportunities to discuss God’s Word and help their children understand and apply it to their lives. If we’re not careful, we can operate on spiritual autopilot and go through the motions of worshiping God without giving it much thought.
Training Them to Think
So how can we teach our children to think critically about spiritual matters? One way is to ask lots of “how” and “why” questions. For instance, let’s say your child is memorizing John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Ask questions such as, “Who is the Lamb of God? Why is He described as a lamb? How can He take away the sins of the world?” Sunday dinner is a great opportunity to talk about the Scriptures you heard in the sermon. Ask your children what they learned from the message (or the lesson they heard in Sunday school). What was the main point? How could they apply the message to their lives? Was there anything they didn’t understand? Family devotions is another great time to foster children’s ability to think through God’s Word. Take time to discuss and ask thought-provoking questions about the passage you read. Give them time to think it over, and try not to feed them the answers during an awkward silence. They may not get all the answers right, and that’s OK.
They may struggle to put their thoughts into words, and that’s OK too! You’re training them to meditate on God’s Word. Another time to teach critical thinking is when your child sees or hears something that contradicts God’s Word (in the news, on the playground, etc.). Instead of just telling your children, “That’s wrong, we don’t do that,” ask them why it’s wrong and how it dishonors God. See if they can quote a verse that backs up their reasons.
Training Them to Live
If we want to prepare our children for spiritual success, then we must use this crucial developmental phase to teach them critical thinking about His Word.
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves being able to homeschool them. During her own twelve years of homeschooling, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.