Religious Study and Home School Curriculum

One of the most important aspects for parents and education personnel in preparing a home schooling program is how to include studies of religion, faith, and spirituality in the curriculum. There is a distinction to be made between studies of faith or beliefs and studies of religious doctrines or dogma. The distinction between these two methods of study for home schoolers is in how the material is presented. Two organizations, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS) and the Bible Literacy Project, provide curriculum options for both types of study for home schooled children.

The NCBCPS is a largely conservative Christian organization that counts as its advisers a great deal of social and political conservatives. Their textbook, “The Bible in History and Literature,” focuses largely on studying faith and belief in Christianity for homes schooled children. Certainly, this type of study is important to the spiritual well being of home schooled children and serves students well in the long term because they are aware of the tenets of their religion. However, for those seeking a broader range of study for home schooled children, they may want to look into the Bible Literacy Project curriculum.

Another group, the Bible Literacy Project, has tried to build off the effort of the NCBCPS with their book, “The Bible and Its Influence,” as well as a poll determining how much students know about Christianity and other religions. The Literacy Project has sought to present a view of Christianity in relation to Judaism, Islamic, and other religions for home schooled children. This view comes from the ecumenical nature of the Project’s board, which includes Catholic, Lutheran, and Jewish members, among other religions. The key to the Project’s book and their mission is that studies of history and the humanities are incomplete without understanding the history of all major world religions. Such studies are important to home schooled children because it not only teaches them about a broader range of ideas, but it also does much to strengthen their own faith and belief by making them think about their spiritual life.

The Bible Literacy Project’s Bible Literacy Report, published in 2005, exposed the need for religious study in home schools. The report essentially sought out information on how much students knew about Christian beliefs and world religions. The results were staggering and indicate the need for some study of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the class room and in the home. Out of the thousand teenagers surveyed for the report, only 10 percent could name all five major world religions, 66 percent could name not the Qur’an as the sacred text of Islam, and 28 percent could not name Moses as the man who led the Israelites out of slavery. Certainly, this study exposes the need for parents and educators to add religious study to their home school curriculum, if only to expose home schooled children to commonly held knowledge about the world. Using books by the NCBCPS and the Bible Literacy Project in the home school environment not only acts as an effective supplement to religious faith but also a means to conversation with people of different faith.

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