Can Christians Unschool?
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Unschooling: Within God’s will? II

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However, the opening command, that “these words. . .shall be on your heart . . .” belies a strictly literal meaning.

No one seriously believes that God intended, or the Israelites practiced , a sort of open-heart tattooing clinic. These words were not literally to be “on their hearts,” but that the concepts they embodied should be a permanent part of their moral structure.

The following passage, about “when you sit. . . when you walk. . . when you lie down. . . and when you rise. . .” should be understood in the same way. Meaning no disrespect, a literal rendering of this looks like a sort of aerobic workout/moral fitness training, where the trainer says, “Sit! Thou shalt have no other. . stretch it out . . .Walk! Thou shalt not make unto thee. . . On your back and stretch! Thou shalt not take. . . ”

On the contrary, this passage describes a life permeated by God’s message. I believe you could paraphrase it this way, without doing any violence to the text. “Continually, as you go about your life, when sit down at the table, as you’re walking (today read ‘driving’) from one place to the next, from the first thing in the morning (‘when you rise’) till the last thing at night (‘when you lie down’), your conversation should be saturated with God and His works.” Not a series of formal lectures, but living conversation about a living God!

Considering the tendency of religious people to turn their own prejudices into absolutes, and then fossilize those absolutes into rituals, I’m surprised no one has taken the text absolutely literally. Somewhere, there must be a curriculum based on this passage, complete with:

* The Sitting Lecture
* The Walking Lecture
* The Lying Down Lecture
* The Rising Lecture

Follow God’s formula for success to the letter!
Buy today and we’ll include plaques for the hand, the forehead, the doorposts and the gates!

But I digress. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is the definitive text for Godly education.

Nothing in the passage precludes unschooling. Actually, it sounds a lot like the unschooling I know. Parents and children together, sharing their insights about God and about learning as they go about otherwise normal and mundane lives.

Paul’s mention of a schoolmaster in Galatians has no bearing on the topic of schooling or unschooling, since he’s using an analogy. In any case, the “schoolmaster” in question has nothing to do with what we might think of as a principal or headmaster. Paul uses the Greek word “paidagogos.” The paidogogos in Paul’s culture was a house servant assigned to the child, a sort of “nanny,” although the gender of the Greek word is masculine, and a male servant fulfilled this role, for reasons that will become apparent. The main duty of the paidogogos was to escort the child to the school. He would wait there until the end of the day, and then escort the child back again. Next page