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A Biblical Home Education Review by Heather JackowitzRuth Beechick
B & H Publishing Group
127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 114
Nashville, TN. 37234
Ruth Beechick's latest book, A Biblical Home Education, is one of the most encouraging books I've read this year. In her signature commonsense manner, Dr. Beechick encourages homeschoolers not to imitate the world's system of education but to build their homeschools on the foundation of the Bible. "Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, anti-God teaching can only lead to foolishness," writes Dr. Beechick.
The first four chapters examine how to tie closely together the Bible and three content subjects: history, science, and worldview. The next section shows how to teach the language skills (thinking, reading, study skills, and writing) within the content subjects rather than as separate subjects. Two final chapters discuss how to begin home education with very young children and how to shop for and implement curriculum materials. An appendix explains cross-dominance problems that contribute to learning disabilities and shows how to treat these problems at home.
Many checklists and teaching suggestions are sprinkled throughout the book. For example, after the worldview subsection titled "Government and Politics" a checklist suggests a list of topics to read about and discuss with your children: what kings will do, what King Ahab did, what King Rehoboam did, America's three branches of government, communism, conservativism, and liberalism.
Dr. Beechick strongly endorses the King James Version of the Bible as the best translation available, but her approach is not overly dogmatic. Although my family uses a modern translation (English Standard Version), I've always appreciated the King James Version from a literature perspective, which is one of the arguments Dr. Beechick makes for the superiority of the translation. On the whole, Dr. Beechick's chief concern is that families read, study, and memorize Scripture together. To that end she writes, "Whatever version you decide to use, your family will be richer for following a tradition of memorizing."
One of my favorite chapters in the book is the chapter on study skills. Information is provided here that I have not seen in other homeschooling books, such as how to set up a good study environment and how to teach alphabetizing, references, reading, and memorizing skills. My daughter used a science textbook for the first time this year, and this information would have greatly helped her. Dr. Beechick breaks down the familiar SQ3R (survey, question, read, recite, review) that you might have learned in school to a simpler formula: pre-reading, reading, and post-reading. She explains how to make questions out of the chapter headings, how to highlight, take notes, outline, and write summaries.
I came away from this book with a renewed sense of freedom and joy in my homeschool journey. Dr. Beechick always encourages me to persevere, to focus on the process rather than the product, and to avoid imitating classroom-based schools. She frees me from labels: textbook, unit study, principle approach, Charlotte Mason, mastery learning, or classical. Whether you are a novice or a veteran homeschooler, and particularly if you are feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling, I highly recommend Ruth Beechick's A Biblical Home Education!