Schaeffer - Mason - Moore
As young Christians, Shirley and I were taught the importance of discipleship. The words of Paul to Timothy, "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2) were an integral part of our new life in Christ. When we started having our own children this injunction to Timothy became personal to us. Eventually, God would give us nine wonderful children to disciple. As a result, a new passage of Scripture became very meaningful to us - the words of Moses to parents before entering the Promised Land: "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). The progression in this passage - God teaches Moses, Moses teaches parents, parents teach their children and then their grandchildren - would give a new direction to our family. Raising our children became discipling our children.
Listen to what Edith Schaeffer wrote about a family:
What is a family? It is a perpetual relay of truth! Watch the children as you organize a relay race, a running contest in which two lines of children wait as one from each line runs a distance and returns to hand the flag to a team member. Back and forth they run and pass the flag. If one drops it, there is a forfeit of returning to the starting place. What excitement is generated, as those finished (or waiting for their turn) watch to see how soon the flag will come back, groan when it is dropped, cheer when someone falls and skins a knee and then pops up bravely to run on again. This is a relay race in which it matters whether one person gets there, because if the flag is not handed on, the next person can't start on his or her part of the course.... I think we can see the whole race as one in which true truth is to be handed over like the flag in a relay race, from generation to generation.... We are responsible for "handing on the flag" and for being very careful not to drop it - or to drop out - because of our responsibility to the next generation. The primary place for the flag of truth to be handed on is in the family. The truth was meant to be given from generation to generation (from What is a Family). Because my master's degree was Curriculum and Instruction Education, I began writing math and science lessons for Shirley to use to teach our own children. Her only request was that each lesson involves her in a personal informal conversation with our children. Shortly after this, Cornerstone Curriculum was born. All the curriculum Shirley and I have written were written first for our own children and now for our grandchildren. We are grateful to the many families who have joined with our family in using our curriculum with their children. We are humbled. CORNERSTONE CURRICULUM was shaped by the intersection of our lives with the lives of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Charlotte Mason, and Raymond and Dorothy Moore.
Dr. Francis and Edith Schaeffer
"The Father of Protestant Evangelical World View Thinking" I spent hours and hours reading and then re-reading the Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer looking for every observation and comment he made regarding education or learning. I was searching for principles which I could incorporate into our own teaching and also Cornerstone Curriculum. The following are some of those principles: 1 - Christianity has something to say about every subject 2 - Natural associations exist among the various disciplines 3 - These associations are founded in the Infinite-Personal Creator God 4a - The Bible gives the framework for total truth 4b - In each step of the learning process students will understand what is true and what is false and why it is true or false 4c - The Biblical world view gives students the only basis for knowing what is truth and what is untruth 5 - Students must learn how to learn on their own 6 - Learning never stops - it is continuous throughout all life 7 - The curriculum must be full and rich - touching on all subjects of thought.
"The Mother of Parent Educators" Our son, Ben, as a graduate student was asked by one of his professors what it was like to be home schooled in our home. He answered by saying, "it was like I was never in school, but always learning." From my background in science education and Shirley's background in early childhood education, we had learned that children need first-hand experience with real objects; they need verbal interaction with adults, and they need to have learning experiences which involved the unexpected rather than being "told" the answer before it happens. I am so grateful to Shirley who began introducing wonderful books to our children from the very beginning of our home school adventure. We were five years into home schooling our own children and had started writing our curriculum when we were first introduced to the ideas of Charlotte Mason through her books. We read them with great anticipation. What were her ideas? What was her philosophy of education? To our delight, we were practicing in our home and in our curriculum many of the ideas she suggested. This was a great confirmation to us. Providing a "feast of ideas" and encouraging a "love" of what we were studying was exactly what we were doing in our home and encouraging families to do with there children through our curriculum. The following are a few of the Charlotte Mason principles which we hold dear: 1 - an emphasis on the love of art and music 2 - an exposure to living ideas and major concepts from the earliest ages 3 - many opportunities for natural explorations with parent involvement 4 - an education which focuses on the whole and then filling in the parts 5 - focus on reasoning rather than mindless repetition 6 - creating a "love" of the subject before the "skill" of it 7 - a home filled with life and living books.
Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore
"The Father of Home School Education" Have you ever heard a single talk on the radio which changed the course of your life?
Bryce was 5 and enrolled to start school in the fall when Shirley heard Dr. Raymond Moore being interviewed on Focus on the Family radio program. As a result, we began reading his research on how children learn when they learn best, and why they learn. Shortly afterward we "un-enrolled" Bryce from our neighborhood school.
Through the years we became friends with Dr. Moore and his wife, Dorothy. They personally encouraged us in the formative years of our home school experience. Through their insight and teaching, we started carefully observing each of our children's personal interests and loves. We used this as a focal point for their learning. Shirley and I were set free to set aside large amounts of time for each of our children to develop their personal heart interests. As a result, they began to excel in those areas and "school" was more enjoyable for all of us!
In addition, the Moore's encouraged us to "create a curriculum which was personal, informal, natural, and conversational."
We are so grateful to God for using them in our lives.
We are always amazed by our Infinite-Personal God who directs our path into the paths of other people for divine purposes. It is our desire to "pass the baton of Truth" from Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Charlotte Mason, and Raymond and Dorothy Moore to the next generation. Time would fail us (and you would probably stop reading) if Shirley and I listed all the wonderful personal "intersections" God has brought about in our lives through the years. For each, we are eternally grateful!
Blessings to you and your family,
David and Shirley