By Jasmine B., Logic School teacher
I stood in front of a father and his two uniformed children at the grocery store the other day, eavesdropping.
“Nine times two is?”
“Twelve times three is?”
“Say what now?”
The kids laughed, but Dad looked pretty serious. “Thirty-six,” his son said, and Dad immediately cracked a smile. “No more B’s on our math tests.”
This dad understood that his responsibility to help his son learn math couldn’t be completely abdicated to whatever school they were enrolled in. He was taking an active part in getting those math facts into his kid’s head. And it didn’t just take place at his desk at school or at the kitchen table at home, but in the grocery store checkout.
And that poor kid’s eye roll resonated deeply with the childhood “me.”
Education as Part of Life
As a homeschool graduate, the scene looked familiar.
Growing up, we did school all year round, taking breaks whenever family vacations or burnout presented themselves. We didn’t have a set time to finish school each day, sometimes finishing at noon, sometimes taking long breaks during the day and finishing after dinner. And, speaking of dinner, our conversations could range anywhere from why mathematics is important for believers to conquer (there are very few math lovers at my house) to why George Orwell is just a much better dystopian author than Aldous Huxley (my brother and I could never agree).
For us, education wasn’t just something that happened at school time. All of life was full of opportunities for discovery and illustration. We weren’t antisocial eggheads by any stretch of the imagination, but our thirst for learning was stoked by realizing that learning wasn’t just something that we did from eight to three every day—it was the active worship of our Lord.
Education as an Act of Worship
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” –Deuteronomy 6:4-9
As the Israelites stand on the verge of walking into the Promised Land, Moses speaks the commandment given him directly from the Lord: love him with all of your heart, teach his ways diligently to your children, and never let up.
Now, true, this passage says nothing about drilling math facts while you’re buying produce. But throughout the ages the Lord has made himself apparent in a redemptive plan that has been ever-unfolding, a plan that has been revealed to us through the years, a plan that we interpret through his Word.
And as the plan has unfurled, great mind after great mind has interacted with thought after thought. The act of educating ourselves about these thoughts not only enables us to gain deeper insight into truth, but to articulate that truth with a confidence all our own. And the greatest thinkers have always known: this discovery does not take place in a box.
Education as a Lifestyle
The concept of education as a lifestyle may be hard to impress upon a middle schooler rolling his eyes in the grocery store checkout. And the concept of education as a lifestyle isn’t always rooted in the gospel.
But when it is, something beautiful happens:
Education becomes less about not getting a B on the math test and more about viewing math as a vessel for God’s glory. It becomes less about winning an argument and more about relating to others in a meaningful, challenging way that points them to truth, goodness, and beauty. It becomes a passion, a fire lit by educators who want more for their students than empty, heartless repetition eight hours a day.
This is my goal in the classroom because this was my parents’ goal at home. And abroad. And in the car. And during soccer practice. And in the grocery checkout.
I hope I never stop learning, never stop growing in a curiosity that is rooted in a desire to know more about the world the Lord has given us, and to become more adept at communicating those truths to others. I hope that for my students, and I hope that for their parents.
I might have balked, mouth wide open, during those summer days of homeschooling if you told me that I’d end up spending my days in a classroom. But the older I got, the more that balking gave way to the fact that being involved in education as an adult was just inevitable for me, because education is such an inextricable part of my life and my walk. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.