Building a Biblical Worldview
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Making Disciples: The Heart of Cornerstone
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Dueteronomy 6:6-7)
Homeschooling is so much more than teaching math, literature, grammar, history, or composition. God has called us to "make disciples," and it starts within our own family! Cornerstone Curriculum prepares children by teaching them to think Biblically, insisting on an understanding of the vast sweep of all that Scripture reveals to us and making it the gauge against which we measure our ideas and our worldview.
Our aim throughout our curriculum is that our children will live a life fruitful in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8) in the twenty-first century. Cornerstone introduces a biblically-based set of life assumptions and equips your children to know “why” they believe “what” they believe. We incorporate a biblical outlook in all our courses, because it is imperative that our children be able to discern truth from falsehood in subjects like philosophy literature, history, economics, politics, science, and the arts. Our prayer is that our children will be discerning and able to stand firm in Christ in the 21st Century.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8).
Learning to Reason, Critical Thinking
The Learning Cycle
Learning how to reason is far more important than learning facts! The teaching-learning model used by Cornerstone Curriculum is unique in education. The Learning Cycle is scientifically proven* to be the best way to learn how to learn.
We believe there is little value in teaching children to memorize definitions or dates in order to pass a classroom exam. Studies have proven that this method of “learning” does not even allow for significant retention of the facts, much less a full grasping of the concept being presented. Cornerstone curricula are always aimed at growing a child’s intellectual
understanding and discernment, and for that we use the Learning Cycle in every single program we offer.
In the first of the three phases in the Learning Cycle (Observation), the child encounters a new concept of some kind. They make their own observations about the concept (such as quantity, characteristics, stated beliefs, etc). The student then determines patterns, classifications, or relationships related to the concept. In kindergarten the child may say, “I see ten forks. Four of them are different from the rest of them - they’re shorter. All the tall ones are the same and all the short ones are the same, but the tall are not the same as the short.” In high school philosophy the child may say, “I’ve read three books that present differing viewpoints of the universe, where it is a closed system in which God either does not exist or is unable/unwilling to act. I have written an essay comparing these three viewpoints with the Biblical Worldview that I have been learning about in my Answers for Difficult Days devotional study.” In this way the student has owned the concept for themselves and made an attempt to figure it out.
In the second phase (Interpretation), the child digs further into the concept with the aid of materials [usually books] by authors who are experts in the field of study. The author-teachers are used to explain the ideas in such a way to provide greater comprehension and less misconception for the student. They may give common names/titles to the concept that the child has been figuring out themselves.
Using our previous examples, the kindergarten child may be taught that the tall forks being all the same is called “equal”, and the difference between tall and short forks is called “unequal”. Unbeknownst to them, they are grasping algebraic concepts in kindergarten!! In the high school example, the child may read James Sire’s The Universe Next Door, which would provide insight into the three differing views of the universe, and that they are referred to as “Naturalism, Nihilism, and Existentialism.” Thus the student becomes a moral philosopher, and is able to evaluate concepts in any culture throughout history!
In the final phase of the Learning Cycle (Correlation/Application) the child links the new concept to concepts they have previously learned. This phase provides the opportunity to use and apply what they’ve figured out. The kindergarten child can say, “If I took off some of the bottom of the tall forks, then they’d be equal to the short forks!” The high school student can say, “For my Worldviews class I watched three of the Star Wars videos, and was trying to determine which worldview was represented, but realized that The Force didn’t fit in any one of the worldviews in my essay.” (Which is the perfect introduction to the New Age worldview…)
Trained classroom professors are prone to hand the correct answer over to the students up front and have them memorize the material and place it back on a test sheet. But homeschool students that are allowed to use the Learning Cycle to own a concept for themselves become inductive (small example leads to general conclusion) and deductive (general conclusion leads to small examples) expositors of reason; they have learned how to learn. And that is the greatest educational tool we can provide!
*Marek, E.A. & Cavallo, M.L. (1997). The Learning Cycle: Elementary School Science & Beyond. Hinemann (Ed.). Portsmouth, NH. Reed Elsevier, Inc.
Levels of Intellectual Development
Stage 1: The Foundation — Birth through 12 years
During Early and Upper Elementary the foundation of Biblical thinking is set in place. Students at this level of cognitive development learn when they are actively involved with actual objects, actual events, or actual situations. Although children at this level can “memorize” abstract concepts, they do not really understand them. In fact, students often create misunderstandings of any abstract ideas they are taught. They need learning experiences in which they are involved with concrete objects.
A new bank teller is trained to recognize counterfeit money by first being permitted to only handle real money, so that they will recognize a false bill when they feel it. In the same way, we believe a child should only handle those things that are true (Philipians 4:8) and consistent with Scripture at this stage, thus establishing a foundation on truth. Good literature that reflects Christian virtue is invaluable at this time.
Stage 2: Evaluating Ideas — 13 through 15 years
During Junior High students are in transition from “concrete operational” thinking to “abstract” thinking. Cornerstone Curriculum therefore carefully guides students’ level of comprehension from knowledge to understanding and from understanding to discernment. This is a time for students to begin formulating the “framework for total truth, rooted in the Creator’s existence and in the Bible’s teaching, so that in each step of the formal learning process the student will understand what is true and what is false and why it is true or false” (F. Schaeffer).
This second stage is the appropriate time to introduce concepts coming from a different worldview, including classical literature. Under your supervision, your child is trained to evaluate with discernment different ideas and philosophies using the gauge of Scripture. The Bible is the final and ultimate authority.
Stage 3: Making an Adequate Defense — 16 years through Adulthood
During High School students using “abstract” reasoning are directed to formally evaluate the assumptions which underlie the foundations of each and every subject taught in grades 9 through 12 to determine whether or not these fields of knowledge reflect the Biblical Worldview at the deepest levels.
At this stage your child will be preparing an adequate defense for the hope that is within them with clear, concise, and convincing proofs (1 Peter 3:15). They will be trained in the ability to take the truth of Christianity into the various disciplines, which is the best of preparations for college, and subsequently for life!
Customized Home Education
We at Cornerstone believe home educating your children is the ideal way to raise a family. Homeschooling provides the freedom to address each child individually and holistically. This is very liberating to the family as a whole, and relieves the stresses of conforming to pre-established educational confines (such as 8:30-3:30 school days with homework afterwards). Our firm belief is that we don’t teach curriculum, we teach children. We use curriculum to help us. But we should never let the curriculum control us. Our key homeschooling concepts:
1. Every child has their own time-table of growth. Because we are uniquely created in the image of God, none of us are exactly alike, and homeschooling provides the opportunity to teach according to individual abilities and interests.
2. Traditional schools set students within the constraints of arbitrary grade levels, limiting the speed at which a child can progress, and discouraging children from moving beyond their grade level. This inflicts unnecessary anxiety in the student and subsequently strain on the family as a whole.
3. Often when educating at home (especially with Cornerstone Curriculum) a child’s learning bridges across several subject areas at the same time (integrated curriculum). This approach provides a much richer as well as broader understanding of the subject being taught while actually taking less time!
An Integrated Curriculum
Cornerstone Curriculum has pioneered the teaching model of an Integrated Curriculum. The subjects are carefully joined and presented together, rather than being taught separately. By interconnecting subjects, the teaching is much more powerful and the learning and comprehension is much deeper. Worldviews are the holistic conglomeration of thought throughout the curricula. In this way:
1. Students see how ideas are related
2. Students learn concepts across subject matter lines
3. Students have a much clearer understanding of the most important relationships that exist among the various subjects.
Our lesson plans provide the perfect balance between parent direction and student engagement.
A. You do not have to be an “expert” in every subject. The parent-teacher directs the learning by making available the
necessary resources followed by asking scripted questions which are included within the curriculum.
B. Students are active learners rather than passive receivers of information; therefore, they “own” the principles being
C. Students understand and remember more when they are actively searching for patterns and relationships.
The Perfect Balance