How Shall We Teach Our Children?

Conference Report by Richard Barns

How Shall We Teach Our Children? was a one day conference on Christian education and home-schooling held at the King's Centre in Chessington on 21st June 1997.

The conference proved to be a worthwhile day out for our family. The three main talks plus a seminar session provided plenty of food for thought for both newcomers to Christian education and experienced home-schoolers.

The day opened with an inspiring address by Stephen Rees on man as the image of God. The purpose of education, he said, is to train our children to conform to that image, not only in the area of holiness, but also in orderliness, creativity, and so forth. It is the image of God that makes man what he is and Mr Rees argued cogently that any education that does not aim to restore that fallen image, will leave our children less than fully human.

This led naturally in to the next session which was taken by Ferris Lindsay of the Cedar Education Centre. He showed how the different academic subjects are to be approached in a God-honouring way, on the basis of a three-point analysis:

  1. How do we see God's glory in this subject?
  2. How do we see the effects of man's sin in this subject?
  3. How do we see man as God's image bearer in this subject area?

This was illustrated by practical examples of a Christian approach to history and geography.

The lunch period provided an opportunity to examine the large range of Christian curriculum materials and text books that was available from a number of suppliers. This was followed by separate seminars for men and women on practical aspects of home-schooling. Interesting points were raised during the discussion, such as the fact that universities are often particularly keen to take home-schooled students. And, on the issue of socialisation, one father reported being told by college teachers that his home-schooled children were the best socially-adjusted pupils they had.

The final session of the day was by David Field who gave much encouragement and sound advice to parents from the Book of Proverbs. He reminded us that if we want to raise our children to be truly zealous for God, and not merely polite and well-mannered, then we must go to the word of God to find the wisdom needed for the task.

The venue, the King's Centre, was well chosen for the event. The facilities were excellent, and a video link from the main chapel to an adjacent room was very helpful for those looking after young children. It was a long day out for our family, coming from NW London by public transport, but it was well worth the effort of getting there. We look forward to similar events in the years to come.

Copyright © Family Matters 1998