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David Quine is a popular homeschool author and speaker, and is president of Cornerstone Curriculum. Drawing on 30 years of experience as a teacher, administrator, and consultant, he has developed curriculum in the areas of Christian education, biblical worldview, discipleship, math, science, music, and art. He and his wife, Shirley, have home educated their nine children and live in Richardson, Texas.

CBD: You and your wife, Shirley, have educated your nine children at home using materials you developed yourselves. Why did you become interested in homeschooling? What in your experience prepared you to write your own curriculums? DQ: Upon graduation from college in 1972 with a degree in geology and mathematics, Shirley and I began working with college students doing evangelism and discipleship. It was during a time when Christianity was being challenged in nearly every discipline on university campuses across the United States. We began to realize that most of the Christian students were not adequately prepared and equipped to give a logical defense for their own faith. Though many of these students had attended Sunday school and some even Christian schools, they were not able to reason from the biblical worldview.

These observations motivated me personally to return to the university in order to begin work on my master’s degree in curriculum design. It was my desire to construct curriculum that could be used for adequately preparing children to reason from the biblical worldview. I envisioned students enrolled in psychology, biology, economics, literature, humanities, philosophy or theology classes analyzing and evaluating the thoughts and ideas being presented by the instructor or professor. These Christian students would be prepared to explain the biblical position in each of the areas of study. At that time, I had no idea I was being prepared by God to write educational materials for families who would be teaching their children at home.

Discipleship was very important to Shirley and me. In the early 1980s, we learned that we could home educate our children through a radio broadcast on Focus on the Family. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to disciple our own children. At that time, we had four children: Bryce, 5; Ben, 3; Betsy and Blaine, 6-month-old twins. There is no greater opportunity for discipleship and there is no greater privilege than discipling your own children. Homeschooling would allow us the opportunity to build discipleship into the lives of our children. From the very beginning, our priority has been to teach our children to reason from the biblical worldview. All the curricula I have created were originally written for my wife to teach our own children.

Through the encouragement of other homeschool families who had a similar vision for teaching their children, we started Cornerstone Curriculum in 1984. We have been blessed to be part of this movement of God in this way.

CBD: In Let Us Highly Resolve, you noted that “Christianity at the end of the twentieth century is losing its most fundamental struggle—the battle for the Christian mind.” Christian influence in our culture has declined in the last half century. In your opinion, how can we prepare our children to meet the challenges posed by an “anything goes” secular society?

DQ: We must be giving our children a biblical worldview education. I am proposing three phases in this educational process. During the first phase, we must be filling our children’s hearts with truth. It is during this time that our children learn of God. As parents, we must pray that God will give them through His Word a true picture of Himself and the universe which He has created. Our children must also be given the proper view of man. Spending time with your children studying the Bible is so very important during this time. In addition, reading ‘living books’ is also very important. These readings should complement the students’ growing understanding of God and man. There are so many good books to assist you in this endeavor. If you need help selecting books to read with and to your children, let me refer you to Honey for a Child’s Heart, Books Children Love, or Who Should We Then Read? These three books are great resources that should be part of every homeschool library.

There is coming a time (when your children are between the ages of 10 to 15) that you will assist them in evaluating ideas against the truth. This is the second phase of my educational model. Paul explains in I Thessalonians 5:21 that we are to “examine everything carefully, and embrace that which is true.” Under your close supervision, your children will be exposed to some ideas that are not consistent with the biblical worldview. Together with your children, you will examine carefully what the author is saying and compare what is being said to what the Bible says on that subject. For example, in Starting Points, children will read Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. One author believes that man is good and that he does evil things only because of society. The other author writes that deep within the heart of man hides an evil force. You will lead your children to examine and evaluate these two works to determine which view represents the biblical worldview. Such a study is very engaging and very important. We desire our children to discern truth from error. Under your close supervision, you will assist them to do so.

Whether your children go to college or begin working in society, they will eventually be sent out by God into the culture with the life of Christ and the truth of Christianity. This is the last phase of a biblical worldview education. You have prepared and equipped them to stand for Christ in the secular society. They are ready now to give an answer to anyone who asked them (I Peter 3:15). They are prepared to meet the challenges posed by an “anything goes” secular society.

CBD: Making Math Meaningful is very popular among homeschoolers. How is your curriculum different from other math curriculums? Can you suggest ways to help parents integrate a Christian worldview with concrete disciplines such as math and science?

DQ: The focus of Making Math Meaningful is teaching children to think and to reason mathematically. If you agree that the focus of home education is to teach your children to reason from the biblical worldview, then all subject matter should contribute to this focus. Math and science are certainly no exceptions. Math and science instruction, if taught properly, can contribute significantly to your children’s ability to reason. Charlotte Mason, writing in the last century, explains that math education at all levels should be teaching our children to reason. In the younger grades, each math lesson is begun by using concrete objects. Counting chips and connecting cubes should be used in all lessons that introduce new ideas.

Children who use Making Math Meaningful certainly memorize the addition, subtraction, multiplication, division facts. However, in the process of memorizing these facts, your children will learn to think mathematically. For example, in learning to know, understand, and memorize 8 x 7 = 56, children will practice multiplying 8 x 5 = 40 and 8 x 2 = 16. In addition, they will also learn four algebraic principles.

One other significant difference between my program and other math programs is my focus on word problems. I know that word problems give most of us parents a queasy feeling. However, since my program begins by teaching children how to solve word problems, it’s much more natural for them. They don’t seem to have the difficulties you and I had when we were studying elementary school math.

Because most of us as parents were not taught in this way and because most of us as parents don’t think in this way, I scripted Making Math Meaningful. I tell you exactly what you are to do and exactly what you are to say. It makes teaching math so simple. Every parent can teach their children this way. It’s simply a conversation you are having with your children about math.

CBD: Contemporary books and movies often do not reflect a biblical view of life. What teaching methods can parents use to help children discern the wheat from the chaff in popular culture?

DQ: In Starting Points, I help children establish a framework or grid to evaluate literature and cinema. First, during the first nine weeks, they develop the biblical answers to the seven worldview questions: 1) Is there a God, and if so, what is He like? 2) What is the nature of the universe? 3) What is the nature of man? 4) What is the basis of ethics and morality? 5) What is the cause of evil and suffering? 6) What happens to man at death? 7) Do life and history have any real meaning? The biblical answers to these seven questions serve as the basis of examining both literature and cinema. During the second nine weeks, I teach them how to use their grid to evaluate a person's ideas. I always ask our children if they think the author or producer was presenting ideas that are consistent or inconsistent with the biblical worldview. Remember what the apostle Paul said: we are to examine everything carefully and embrace that which is true. We must be teaching our children how to make such an examination so that they will know what to embrace.

CBD: As pioneers in the homeschooling movement, what practical tips and encouragement can you give to new homeschoolers who want to emphasize a Christian worldview in their lesson plans?

DQ: Because we are living in a post-Christian period, teaching our children to reason from the Christian worldview is no longer a luxury; rather, it has become a necessity. It is not something we can leave to chance, or to someone else. It means thinking biblically. Gladys Hunt in her book Honey for a Child’s Heart writes:

“As Christian parents we are concerned about building whole people—people who were alive emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. . . . to train the child’s character, to give him high ideals, and to encourage integrity. It is to provide largeness of thought, creative thinking, an imaginative wondering—and adequate view of God and His world. He can never really appreciate the finest without personal redemption. But many a redeemed person lives in a small insecure world because he never walks with God into the larger place which is His domain. We have books and the Book at our disposal to use wisely for God’s glory.

“We sometimes talk about the characters we meet in our stories and about the motivation behind their deeds. We discussed worthy ideas and try to hang important concepts to a larger framework of truth. The Christian parent who uses both the Book and books has a distinct advantage. The Bible spells out the precepts, the teaching of God’s plan for man. It also tells about real people—their faith, their sins, their courage, their disbelief—and we see the fruit of each and what follows in their lives. Good books fulfill our human need for adventure and wider experience, but they also provide support for the kind of character development of which the Scriptures speak.

“The goal of family Bible reading is to teach children to think biblically. That’s a large goal: to think biblically. It means a good bit more than quoting certain Scripture verses. It involves squaring up our thinking with what the Bible says about God, about man, about sin, about redemption, about human need, and about righteousness. Thinking biblically insists on an understanding of the vast sweep of what Scripture reveals to us. It is the gauge against which we measure our ideas and our lives.

“How has God worked in human history? What is His goal? What is His essential nature, His character? What is the nature of man? What are his basic needs? How does the death of Jesus Christ fit into the picture? How do we know what is true? These are only some of the questions we answer in learning to think biblically.”


 

 Books by David Quine

Answers for Difficult Days: Surviving the Storm of  Secularism
Answers for Difficult Days: Surviving the Storm of Secularism
David Quine

Principles from Patterns: Algebra 1 Student Book
Principles from Patterns: Algebra 1 Student Book
David Quine

Starting Points World View Primer
Starting Points World View Primer
David Quine

Let Us Highly Resolve
Let Us Highly Resolve
David & Shirley Quine


 

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