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When my husband and I first began considering home education, a dear friend recommended Teaching the Trivium. I remember her telling me not to borrow it, but just purchase my own copy. She told me “Even if you choose not to homeschool, it is full of wise Scriptural parenting advice.” She was so right! The Lord used this book to challenge our thinking about family life and education. More than that, our philosophy of parenting is strengthened by the rich Scriptural encouragement and exhortation throughout the book.
In Teaching the Trivium, the Bluedorns begin by laying a thorough foundation of how Biblical Classical Education is defined. The history of classical education is discussed, and they show how that method was actually used in Hebrew culture. From Proverbs, they use knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to label the three stages of the trivium. They show from Scripture how the trivium is based in our “created nature.” (p. 87) This book is not just full of opinion. Much Scripture is used to support and explain their material. This allows the reader to think critically and reach a decision regarding home education. The Bluedorns thoroughly discuss the educational and spiritual faults and dangers of modern secular education to believing families. Also mentioned are reasons that Christian school or classical schools still do not follow biblical guidelines best for child rearing and education.
After laying the foundation, very detailed suggestions are given of material to teach your child in various subjects during each of the three stages of development. As a mother of a young daughter, I am encouraged by Teaching the Trivium’s emphasis on character training and biblical knowledge over traditional academics. Christian parents are reminded that our ultimate educational goal should not be knowledge for the sake of knowledge; but teaching our children their need for God, and how to love and serve God. The Bluedorns also mention suggested schedules of typical family days in the various developmental categories. Ways to occupy younger siblings while including them in family study are suggested.
Teaching the Trivium answers common objections to the various topics throughout the book. One objection that is affirming to our family was their thoughts on homeschooling an only child. They remind the reader of God’s sovereignty in building one’s family. Other common objections addressed include parents’ education and socialization of children. The Bluedorns remind readers that parenting through real-life situations and service is what will socialize our children and teach service for the family of God.
There are multiple appendices covering historical essays of educational philosophy or further discussing issues and philosophy mentioned in the body of the book. One such essay discusses why the Bluedorns believe formal math education should be delayed, instead teaching real-life math throughout one’s daily life. Another is an extensive list of sources for contests in which you could involve your student. The Bluedorns also include a discussion on family Bible study.
Overall, though I was first intimidated by the size of the book, I am amazed at how God used it to encourage and challenge us. This is an incredible reference resource to keep on your bookshelf! Many fears and pressures in our minds regarding home education were relieved after reading this book. We are reminded that the size of our home, the size of our budget, or our advanced degrees do not matter when following the Lord’s leading to home educate our children. Christian parents simply need to ask God for the courage and wisdom to challenge society’s standard thinking and follow as the Lord directs. We find Teaching the Trivium to be an excellent tool on our path following Deuteronomy 6:4-9. I now echo my friend’s recommendation. Buy a copy of this book, do not borrow one. Your Biblical parenting and your home education will be enriched.