Thinking back to when I chose a curriculum for homeschooling language arts from a biblical worldview, I remember what I wanted my three young sons to learn most of all. Nothing was more important than them knowing the truth of the Bible—that God loves them, and that the greatest joy and purpose in life come from living in relationship with the God of the universe.
Of course teaching my boys these truths began way before the days of homeschooling. My husband and I began sharing a biblical worldview with our boys at home as we read our Bibles, prayed at bedtimes, explored the world God made, and celebrated holidays. Our church supported us as the kids learned in Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and worship. When the time came for the kids to begin school, my husband and I knew we wanted a homeschool curriculum that also supported our faith values. Since language is how humans learn all things, making sure our language arts curriculum was built on a biblical worldview was a priority.
Why should my homeschooled kids learn language arts from a biblical worldview?
Language is the core of human connection. Whether it’s written, spoken, or even non-verbal, language is how we understand our world and express ourselves. So in their earliest years we begin to teach our children to speak and read because these skills open the door for all others. Have you wondered if it’s really that important to teach language arts to your child from a biblical worldview? When you look at the use of language since Creation and consider the scriptural command to teach our children, you see that a biblical worldview is critical, but it’s also a natural way to present language arts.
A Basis for Understanding and Connection
God Created Language
Scripture shows us that language is the basis for understanding and connection. The Bible says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth by speaking. He said, “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). After God created Adam and Eve, he spoke to them—giving them blessing, instruction, and commands. Notice humans didn’t create language; God gave it to us so we could relate to Him and others. And the key to God’s redemptive plan from the beginning was Jesus, whom God identified as the Word (John 1:1, 14).
Language Connects Us
God’s gift of language helps us understand both ourselves and the world. Go ahead and admit that we talk (or at least think) to ourselves, and we do it using words. We use words to compose our thoughts, to identify and define ourselves. Language is also how we relate to the world. Remember that one of Adam’s first tasks was using language to name the animals (Gen. 2:19). Adam defined animals and at the same time created new words. Using language gives humans the ability to communicate with each other. We can inform (state facts), direct (tell others what to do), and express ourselves (feelings, emotions, and attitudes) with words. Language empowers us to learn and teach; it also allows us to create in a way that inspires others.
Language Defines Culture
The power of language can be used to either unite or divide. Historically, we see that language defines culture. We don’t know what the first language was, but the Bible records in Genesis 11 that God “confounded” or confused the languages of the people who were building the tower at Babel in defiance of God’s command. They couldn’t understand each other anymore, and as a result, the people spoke different languages and were scattered across the world. Since that time, people groups like tribes and nations have shared a common language. Their common beliefs and customs added words and expressions unique to their culture. Languages distinguish one culture from another, and understanding language differences can help us understand those other cultures.
On the other hand, language can be used to divide and even destroy a culture. Think of the hate-filled propaganda used by despots and dictators that have led to wars, or the inflammatory language in our contemporary news, political speech, and social media that attempts to divide people into “good-or-bad” or “us-or-them” camps. The people involved in these verbal attacks are trying to manipulate words to re-define their culture—and perhaps redefine truth itself. The Bible emphasized the dangerous power of our words when James called the tongue a fire that “setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 5:6). Human’s use of language for selfish purposes can be divisive and destructive.
Communicating and Informing Our Purpose
The Importance of Language Arts
It’s clear that our children need to learn to use language effectively. Language is important to a student who dreams of becoming an architect, entrepreneur, tradesperson, math teacher, homemaker, executive, writer—no matter what the calling, good communication is a key to success. Even though your children don’t have to be the straight-A English students to succeed in life, excellent language skills will almost always give them an advantage. But real success is so much more than being wealthy or smart, and a homeschool language arts curriculum with a biblical worldview offers more than just reading, writing, and grammar.
The Gaps of Secular Curriculums
Trying to understand something as basic as language apart from God’s activity in the world has taken secular scholars in some strange directions. Some of the oldest theories about the origins of language are so incomplete and odd—theories that say language originated from inarticulate sounds and grunts—that even language experts now discount them. Bottom line, secular curriculums may teach a proper use of language, but they can’t come close to teaching a student why God gave us language or how to glorify Him with it. Even a larger danger is that secular curriculums won’t provide your children with the foundations to defend their faith.
The Value of a Biblical Worldview
God created language and frequently instructs us in the Bible on how to use it. Christians are called to tell the truth (Ex.20:16), speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), control the words we say (James 3), study the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), and proclaim the gospel of salvation through Christ (Rom. 10:15). A biblical worldview informs our point of view to see that all people need salvation, and that all believers are called to love God and to serve others by sharing the gospel. A Christian homeschool language arts curriculum will ground the student in reading, grammar, oral reading and speaking, effective writing, and thinking critically to analyze literature. This education becomes a valuable tool in preparing each student to confidently declare God’s love and truth to the world.
Showing Children the Nature of God
Students can see the nature of God as they study language arts. Understanding the structure of grammar gives students a chance to appreciate the order that God built into language. Studying literature allows them to enjoy the creativity and beauty of God, who expressed Himself to us in a book that contains prose, history, law, songs, and poetry. We can see God in language arts; we can also reflect Him in our work. When God created man, He blessed us with a Creation Mandate, a command (Gen. 1:28) that calls us to have dominion in the world as His stewards and image bearers. In literature, we can enjoy the majesty of God and His creation; we can also write, speak, and create prose and poetry that glorify God. What a gift!
Teaching Children Diligently
Jesus called his followers to be in the world, but not of it. He has a purpose for all He has given us while we are living here. When God commanded His people to teach their children in the Old Testament, He didn’t mention sending them to school, but rather put the responsibility squarely on parents to “diligently teach” God’s words to their children at every opportunity (Deut. 6:7). Homeschooling gives us the chance to teach not just life skills, but the very truths our children need for life at the same time. Apart from language, we could not learn or teach. Without a biblical worldview, the language arts curriculum loses its ultimate purpose.
How to Teach Language Arts from a Biblical Worldview
It would be hard to underestimate the value of language arts in your child’s education. After all, most of what we teach and learn comes through language. However, this doesn’t mean you should be overwhelmed by the job of teaching your child. The Bible reminds us that learning takes place one concept at a time, “line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). You can do it! Also remember that you won’t have to create lessons that include a biblical worldview from thin air. If you choose a solid Christian curriculum, you have a partner to guide you and your child from the beginning, from the easy to the advanced.
Through every grade you will have the opportunity to integrate the Bibleat multiple learning levels.
Homeschooling Language Arts in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade
- Bible stories and stories with Christian principles are perfect for listeners and beginning readers.
- Memory work, reciting, and handwriting practice can use Bible verses and themes.
Homeschooling Language Arts in 4th through 6th Grade
- Developing more advanced grammar skills shows students the orderly structure of God’s design in language.
- Compositions and creative writing assignments provide opportunities for reflection and application of biblical principles.
- Students begin reading to learn in language arts, science, and history. Evaluating these subjects from a biblical perspective promotes critical thinking.
- A biblical worldview can also inspire research and service projects.
Homeschooling Language Arts in Middle School
- Students can expand critical thinking as well as composition skills as they use biblical principles to evaluate science, history, and literature in reports and essays.
Homeschooling Language Arts in High School
- Students continue to improve writing skills as they work on research papers, literary analysis papers, persuasive and critical essays, and more—all are tailor-made opportunities for biblical thought and application.
- Analyzing and evaluating literature from a variety of genres with a biblical worldview will strengthen critical thinking.
- Debates and oral presentations allow students to apply Christian principles and learn to argue for or defend a position.
Language Arts Skills for Every Age
- Independent Reading. Students who read independently—even a few minutes a day—grow in comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar skills, according to the American Library Association.
- Reading for Pleasure. Don’t push it. One key to becoming a reader-for-pleasure is not being forced to read. You can encourage your children by helping them find books they enjoy, and by discussing what they read with them.
- Public Speaking. Reciting poetry, class presentations or reports, debates, sermons, and stage performance all encourage language skills.
Selecting a Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum
The goals that I had when my sons started school served us well. These goals led me to a solid curriculum that presented lessons with a foundation we could embrace rather than ideas we would have to overcome. As you prayerfully consider which language arts homeschool curriculum to choose, your goals for your kids will be a guide. What do you want your child to learn, and how will the material be presented? Families don’t always see that every textbook publisher has a worldview.
If a biblical worldview is important to you, it makes sense to choose BJU Press and know that the Bible is central to every subject and every lesson. You will also need a program that fits your lifestyle and scheduling needs. BJU Press offers a homeschool video curriculum that gives you the option to use engaging lessons presented by expert teachers. Your commitment to homeschooling will require work, but it will be easier with a language arts curriculum that supports your goals and values. BJU Press is a great partner to have with you throughout your homeschooling journey.
• • • • •Mabe is a retired homeschooler and high school language arts and technology teacher. Her favorite subjects are Bible and literature. After over twenty years in education, she hopes to adventure with her husband to as many of South Carolina’s waterfalls as possible.