by Michael Dante Aprile
As God told Moses, in Deuteronomy chapter 6, He wants us to spend our whole day talking to our children, teaching them about God’s Word, rather than subjects like math, science, history, or social studies. He wants us to talk to them about His Word while we are sitting in our house, walking by the way, lying down, and getting up. It would be fruitful here to take the teaching of this admonition in parts and study them individually. So, that is what I will do here.
The Importance of Talking to Children
The first part, about talking to our children, sounds like what we know already about the importance of good communication with our children. Most educators already agree that without good communication education is reduced in its effectiveness to the retention of approximately only 15% of what is expressed per teaching session. With children of different chronological and emotional ages, this fluctuates, but not a great deal. Good attention grabbers and keepers, in children, have proven to be singing, repetition, and visual or mental aides.
Many people claim they are better able to remember passages of scripture by singing them. This comes from a combination of two effective learning and retention methods, which involve the correlation of words with sounds and the repetition of these effects. Knowing well the effectiveness of this method of learning, God placed a song in David’s mouth for all to hear about Him (Psalm 40:3). Deuteronomy 32:44 tells us that “…Moses came and spake all the words of this song [that God gave him]in the ears of the people.” So we see that God expressed this as an effective means of teaching God’s Word. And, it is also evident through Scripture that this method was used for the purpose of teaching or edifying.
Likewise, the undereducated were told the news, in medieval times, by roving troubadours and minstrels. These were men who remembered vast amounts of news through committing it to music and then conveying it to the people of the land by traveling from town to town singing it. Let me also point out that this news was often presented in story or ballad form, which is another method effective with children for remembering. Children, like adults, remember much more in conversation than they do from simply being told. God spoke of this method of teaching our children, of reminding them through talking to them continuously, because the things they were to remember (His Words) were important to Him. We should, therefore, include this as primary in our repertoire of methods of teaching our children.
The Importance of Teaching Sitting in the Home
The second part, teaching “while sitting in our house,” indicates that God wants parents to teach His children at home. Thus the term “home” schooling is established. By the other references in Deuteronomy chapter 6, “when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up,” we can see that God intends the teaching of our children all throughout the day and, just about, anywhere they go with us. This also suggests teaching at home and could even indicate the idea of apprenticeship. Now then, apprenticeship here can mean when they go to the grocery with you, and could also mean when they go to work with you.
One of the main reasons that the home schooling movement began in this country was that the compulsory attendance (public) schools began removing the teaching of religion, or more specifically God’s Word (that is, Christianity and that world view), from the classroom. I think it is very curious, to say the least, that home schooling parents have turned to doing little more than to teach the same subjects as were offered in the public schools, seemingly trying to duplicate their efforts, rather than teaching what God stated as a priority for His children (i.e., Israel) and for ours.