When Charlotte Mason talked about the knowledge that is important to give our children, she cited, “First and chiefest is the knowledge of God, to be got at most directly through the Bible” (Vol. 6, p. 254).
So as we continue our series of looking at how each subject is taught in the Charlotte Mason Method, let’s talk today about how to teach Bible.
Since the Bible is the living Book, we treat it as such by letting our children interact directly with it. Just as with other living books, we do not depend on fill-in-the-blank or true-and-false questions to guide them through Scripture. Instead, we read it and require a narration. Discussion is encouraged following the narration.
Read and narrate the historical accounts.
The Old Testament accounts, the life of Christ recorded in the Gospels, and the acts of the early church provide wonderful opportunities to read and narrate. Since those historical accounts are written in narrative form, it is easy to simply read them and ask the children to retell the stories in their own words.
Charlotte encouraged us to keep two things in mind when reading these accounts. First, try to read a full scene so the children get the whole gist of what is going on. Don’t feel obligated to stop and start at exact chapter breaks; go by scene changes in the narrative. Second, make necessary omissions. Some accounts are not as appropriate for young children to hear or understand at their tender age. Those narratives can be saved for future inclusion.
Discuss and apply the epistles.
The epistles offer much food for thought and discussion. But beware of treating them like textbooks. Don’t settle for fill-in-the-blank type studies. Wherever possible, encourage your students to read and put the passage into their own words to test their comprehension. Discussion questions are welcome, as are gentle applications without heavy-handed sermonizing.
Feel free to make use of Bible study helps, such as Bible dictionaries or commentaries. But be careful not to use those aids as a crutch. Teach and show your children how to study Scripture for themselves first before they read another Bible student’s comments.
Charlotte’s students memorized several portions of Scripture every school year, both large and small portions. Our children (and we, as parents) should do the same. As Charlotte explained, “It is a delightful thing to have the memory stored with beautiful, comforting, and inspiring passages, and we cannot tell when and how this manner of seed may spring up, grow, and bear fruit” (Vol. 1, p. 253). The Scripture Memory System described on our website is a great tool to help you learn and review verses or whole chapters of the Bible, all in just five or ten minutes per day.
Sometimes it is hard to find good Bible studies that adhere to these superior study methods. That hunt is what led to our writing and publishing our own Bible studies. Next week we’ll tell you about a new one!
Sonya’s Workshop Recordings
We so enjoyed getting to see many of you at the homeschool conventions we attended this spring! Some of you who weren’t able to attend have asked if there is any way you can get the recordings of the workshops Sonya presented.
A nice selection of her workshops is available from her presentations at the NICHE conference in Des Moines, Iowa:
Laying Down the Rails: The Power of Good Habits
Charlotte Mason and Her Methods
The Quiet Schooling of Nature
The Early Years: Homeschooling Your Preschooler
Learning with Living Books
Looking Past the Fear
You can order directly from the company that recorded them: Rhino-Technologies.
Be sure to download the handouts that go with the recordings; you’ll need them! Handouts for all of Sonya’s workshops are available on our SCM Workshops page.
This is part of the series: Subject by Subject
How to teach each school subject in a Charlotte Mason way.
- A Generous Curriculum: Subject By Subject,
- Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2
- Teaching History: Subject by Subject, Part 3
- Teaching Geography: Subject by Subject, Part 4
- Teaching Spelling: Subject by Subject, Part 5
- Teaching Bible: Subject by Subject, Part 6
- Teaching Handicrafts: Subject by Subject, Part 7
- Teaching Science: Subject by Subject, Part 8
- Teaching Foreign Language: Subject by Subject, Part 9
- Teaching Music: Subject by Subject, Part 10
- Teaching Writing: Subject by Subject, Part 11
- Teaching Literature: Subject by Subject, Part 12
- Teaching Grammar: Subject by Subject, Part 13
- Teaching Beginning Reading: Subject by Subject, Part 14
- Teaching Art: Subject by Subject, Part 15
- Teaching Poetry: Subject by Subject, Part 16
- Teaching Math: Subject by Subject, Part 17