About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.

Monday, 2 July 2012

What is 'worldview'?


A term I often use is ‘worldview’, and I thought it would be helpful to consider what that means. The term is derived from the German Weltanschauung – composed of Welt (world) and Anschauung (view or outlook). It refers to a network of presuppositions, not verified by the procedures of natural science, in terms of which every aspect of man’s knowledge and experience is interpreted and interrelated. A worldview describes a consistent and integral sense of existence and provides a framework for generating, sustaining and applying knowledge.

Everybody has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life and reality. Our worldview is formed by our education, upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and films we are exposed to etc. Often it is simply something absorbed ‘by osmosis’ from surrounding cultural influences, without a second thought. But it is worldview nonetheless, just as an atheist has a belief structure and a faith in his belief structures. 

A Biblical worldview is shaped by several fundamental truths regarding firstly God’s existence, secondly His nature and thirdly, the way in which these truths shape our lives. Truth is absolute, not relative, and can only be understood through the prism of understanding more about the One who said, ‘I am the way, the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14:6). While Christianity is believed by faith, it is a reasonable and rational faith, addressing questions of the mind and the heart. We all live by faith. Some have faith in themselves. Some have faith in the government or a prospect of world peace. Others have faith in money, education or career. All of these things are temporary and can change. They can all let us down. Our health can fail; we can lose our job; a relationship can end. But God can be depended on through it all, as He changes not.

Just as we all hold a belief structure and worldview, many influences do communicate a worldview. This does not just include the ‘obvious’, for example religious or philosophical teaching, or that relating to ethics or evolution. Subtle messages about ourselves and the world we live in are communicated, and absorbed, many times a day. The developing minds of our children can be subtly, and harmfully, influenced by conflicting and unhelpful influences.

Through home education, we can help our children form a correct worldview. Critics may misunderstand this as ‘not living in the real world’, but instead, I would see it as living ‘IN the world’ but not being ‘OF the world’.  Rather than cloistering our children, or brainwashing them into a rigid belief structure, we seek to help equip our children with the necessary tools to weigh up and fairly assess situations, circumstances, facts and feelings. We want to provide them with the skills and resources they need to live in this postmodern world where anything can be seen acceptable if it suits the individual involved. Far from being sheltered, we seek to teach, discuss, debate, warn and encourage our children to weigh up all things but from a Biblical perspective.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting post, how do you ensure you are not brainwashing your children?

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  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I think there will always be those who contend that anybody who holds a deep conviction of any type (be that religious, political, ethical etc) is brainwashing their children by seeking to teach their children to appreciate, and come to embrace for themselves, that same perspective. (From my Christian 'perspective', I believe there is far more to a child coming to know and love the Lord for themselves than simply having been exposed to Biblical teaching from a young age, and that rather an amazing transformation must occur in their heart. But I use the term to make the point).

    How do any of us ensure our children are not 'brainwashed'? I believe that through home education, you can choose to expose your child to a wide range of opinion, but with the safety net that we will be helping them ask the right questions about what they are reading and learning, and guiding them to form a balanced interpretation. In that respect, a home educated child may be considerably less 'brainwashed' than the child next door who attends government schools from a young age and is pressurised to conform to this societies mores and peer pressures.

    I have posted a book review of The Well Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole, which outlines the many benefits in terms of socialisation and diversity that can be embraced by choosing to home educate. Being involved in local networks of home educators can be a great resource to enable children to be exposed to real-life situations and diversity. And we can then continue to discuss and direct the child's learning as issues arise. I would recommend this book to address some of the commonly held misconceptions about home education; she is far more knowledgable and eloquent on the topic than I am.

    But ultimately, there will be critics who do not agree with any of these arguments. (And there will always be families, both home educators and otherwise, who do seek an excessive degree of control over their children and cloister them from the world). Being aware of my human frailty and weakness, I need to pray daily for wisdom in raising my children with a Biblical worldview, without harmfully removing them from the real world. And more importantly than that, I need to continue to pray for the wonderful work of God in their hearts whereby they come to their own understanding and appreciation of the truth, and God-willing, a solid foundational framework with which to enter adult life.

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  3. Kondwani,

    A good post.

    Nuture your children to question, give them a framework to question within, and be there to help them unpick the difficult things, that this raises as they grow older

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