Homeschool Conference Talks

As many of you know, I am writing a Gospel-centered Bible curriculum Telling God’s Story. For the past several weeks, I have been speaking at some homeschool conventions with two more to come. I have been giving three talks there, and I have been asked to post the summaries here, especially for those who may not have a chance to attend these conferences. I thought that was a great idea, so here they are.

Struggling with Your Faith (and What God is Teaching You through It)

All Christians struggle with their faith in various seasons of their lives. Too often Christians think something is “wrong” with them or that their faith is “weak.” But the Bible talks a lot about spiritual struggles without sugarcoating the pain and doubt. From Scripture we learn that struggling with our faith is a normal and necessary part of our Christian journey. True spiritual growth always involves passing through the difficult times, not around them. Most importantly, struggling with faith gives parents a chance to model meaningful spiritual growth for their children, and thus give them a lesson that will last a lifetime.

 

 

Teaching the Bible to Your Child: Where Should You Start?

What are the first Bible stories that a child should know? Should you teach the Old Testament before the New—or the other way around? How about the really difficult parts—should you tackle those head on, or wait until the child is older?  In this workshop, I suggest that the best place to start is not with “Bible stories” (Noah’s ark, David and Goliath), but rather with the Jesus. Jesus is the center of the Christian faith and the proper place to start a child’s Christian education. In grades 1-4, students should get to know him the way the first followers of Jesus did: through his teachings, healings, interactions with his opponents, etc. In grades 5-8, young students should take a huge step back and focus on the big picture of Israel’s Story, the Old Testament; this helps give a greater sense of how Jesus brings Israel’s story to its conclusion. In grades 9-12, students should focus on the historical setting of the Bible. The Bible was not written in a vacuum; knowing something about the cultures in which the Bible was written will help them develop a mature understanding.

 

The Bible and the Parents: Reading the Bible as God’s Story

Christian parents bear the responsibly of teaching the Bible to their children. But if parents themselves are uncomfortable with the Bible, or not familiar with what it is designed to do (and not do), teaching children can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Too often the tendency is to read parts of books or verses here and there. When read this way, the Bible becomes simply a moral guide or a Christian “how-to” book, where readers expect moral or religious guidance on every page, and are frustrated when they don’t find it. Rather, the Bible is a grand narrative, a big story, with beginning, middle, and end. In this workshop, we will look at that grand narrative, and see how reading it as it was intended to be read changes our experience of God’s Word.

 


  • Holly

    Dr. Enns, I just want to thank you for your work and also for your new Bible curriculum. Yes, I’m a homeschooler, and yes, I know about all of the brouhaha. (What a word!) And yes – I support you and am so grateful for you. I hope that you plan to expand the curriculum to include more grades – and – I hope that there is someday a science curriculum as well. There IS no credible homeschooling science curriculum at this point.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Holly. I keep plugging away. I appreciate the encouragement.

    • Holly, what would make a “credible homeschooling science curriculum” in your view?

  • 1234

    The Bible is the Word of God. It is literal and anything else is foolishness.

  • Pete, I’m really glad to hear about these projects (and not just because it got Kenny kicked out of class). Maybe one day the home school associations will even be open to a Biologos science curriculum, as Holly suggests. Slowly the tide will turn.

    • Chris, I’m just reading all the websites to find out what’s going on about the Homeschool Convention. That is to say I have no agenda here or intent to back or bash anyone.

      Upon reading your comment “…it got Kenny kicked out of class,” my attitude towards this “camp” was very negatively impacted even though the comment says nothing about Dr. Enns or his beliefs, which is what I was hoping to learn about here. If you want to support Dr. Enns in his work, use a respectful attitude when speaking about his challengers, and you will be an effective ambassador. If we speak in a condescending manner about another person or cause, it reflects badly on us and those we want to support more than it does to belittle the other person or cause. It is always proper to maintain a polite attitude whether or not you believe that person deserves it.

      Since much of this controversy has to do with written and spoken words, I think that Dr. Enns would probably appreciate your show of support in a more respectful manner.

      • Point taken. Pete, feel free to delete my comment. It was unnecessarily flippant.

        • Keith J.

          I don’t find your comment out of line whatsoever. As someone who was really harmed by the way Ken Ham and AiG operate and think, I have no problem calling them out (and I don’t just say this in a fit of vindication). What they said was inappropriate and wrong. They think they are standing on principle, but so do other wrong dogmatic positions. Your comment was exceedingly small and slightly tongue-in-cheek compared to ANYTHING that Mr. Ham has said. Your comment wasn’t spiteful or mean. Mr. Ham was replaced by someone who was young earth and still believes in similar ways but without the rhetoric or acidic edge. Mr. Ham was not “kicked out of class” because of his beliefs but because of his actions. I am a teacher and I would certainly kick out a student who was being disrespectful, as Mr. Ham clearly was. We can be respectful while stating the obvious, even if it includes a small “jab”. They are appropriate at times, and this is one of them. I certainly respect and understand why Dr. Enns would not directly respond, but I think other followers of the situation have every right to respond.

      • Tony

        Well said, Babette. BioLogos just responded: http://biologos.org/blog/ken-ham-biologos-and-calvarys-love/

        Dr. Enns hasn’t really “jumped into the fray” as Dr. Jay Wile and others have, and I appreciate your wisdom in separating a blog comment from the author of the blog. I’ve also been following what’s going on in other blogs, and it’s astounding to see how many people have published things online without doing some basic fact-checking and exploration into what the issue is really about.

  • Lyndsey

    I attended one of your talks at the convention in Greenville, and I have to say it was among the most enlightening hours of recent memory.

    The idea that David and Goliath isn’t (primarily) about having courage to stand up to the bully, but rather is a foretaste of Jesus–the new and improved David. Well . . . I’m still mulling and pondering and smiling 🙂

    Thanks.

  • Heather in Ohio

    Dr Enns, could you clarify if these allegations by Dr Ham are true or not? Dr Ham said that Dr Enns makes it clear that sin should not be discussed with young children because it will cause problems with their view of God. He also said that Dr Enns doesn’t believe in a literal Adam and literal Fall.

    Is this truly what Dr Enns believes?

  • CyndiLJ

    As a liberal leaning, non-literal interpretation, homeschooling Christian mom of 5, I am so very grateful for your perspective and courage to stand out from the crowd. Your new curriculum looks wonderful, and it is the ONLY one which I would consider using out of the many that I have reviewed. Respectful in tone, articulate and well done, it is unique in the world of homeschooling OR Sunday School curricula. I am very happy to discover you will be putting them out at the rate of 2 per year, as I have older elementary children whom I’d like to use these with beginning at…well…the beginning.

    Thanks for your hard work on this project, it is very much appreciated by many of us who are not always heard from in the world of homeschooling.

  • Peter,

    This is the first I’ve heard about your curriculum. Excellent idea.

    We’ve struggled finding something that fits us (high view of Scripture, incarnational view of inspiration, fine with evolution, takes Genesis 1-11 and myth and legend and understands what those categories mean, etc.). So I think I’ll have a chat with my wife about getting your first level. 

    And if you need someone to bounce your other levels off of, let me know. This is a very important project.

  • Peter,

    This is the first I’ve heard about your curriculum. Excellent idea.

    We’ve struggled finding something that fits us (high view of Scripture, incarnational view of inspiration, fine with evolution, takes Genesis 1-11 and myth and legend and understands what those categories mean, etc.). So I think I’ll have a chat with my wife about getting your first level. 

    And if you need someone to bounce your other levels off of, let me know. This is a very important project.