“The Principle Approach is America’s historic Christian method of Biblical reasoning that makes the Truths of God’s Word the basis of every subject in the school curriculum.” (Rosalie Slater)
True teaching and learning, at its core, is built upon and flows from an understanding of the knowledge of God and His creation, as opposed to education based upon the subjective understanding of man.
At the heart of the Principle Approach is an acknowledgement of the absolute sovereignty of God and of the dignity and worth of each individual, made in the image and likeness of God. As part of creation we owe a duty to our creator. Out of this understanding of God, the individual and our duty, two pillars support our model of education.
- God is a loving creator who acts providentially throughout history to bring about His purposes and will.
- We as are creatures made in the image of God, although fallen, have the ability to reason from foundational principles revealed in His Word and in the “laws of nature.”
God’s Word teaches many specifics, such as "do not murder," but in many cases it teaches principles. In fact the command do not murder is in fact a principle, because most would believe it does not teach do not kill, but something closer to do not take the life of an innocent. We then have to “reason” from the principle of “do not kill” to determine how it applies to specific issues of life. The Principle Approach uses an old-fashioned tool to help us reason from principle to find answers to the questions of life; the method we use is called the 4 R’s.
- Research: search primary sources, and the best secondary sources, to find relevant information concerning the topic researched. The preeminent primary source is God’s Word.
- Reason: Once we have researched a topic, sought our scripture concerning the topic, defined key vocabulary concerning the subject, read both the best primary and secondary sources concerning the subject, we begin to form principles or key ideas based upon the information researched.
- Relate: After we have reasoned from our research, and formed an understanding of the subject, possibly defining principle and/or key ideas, we apply that principle or truth to the issues of the day.
- Record: Once we have reasoned to principles or key ideas, which we believe to be objective truth, we than record them, write them down, in order to more fully develop the subject discussed or considered. The step of recording helps us to more fully develop our thoughts and understanding and moves us towards a “mastery” of the subject rather than just a familiarity with the subject.
The primary concern for parents as they consider a school for their children, beyond the basic needs of safety etc, should be what will be the outcome, the finished product. What ideas, skills, disciplines and habits have been implanted within our students which prepare them for the workforce and the purposes for which God has designed them? Today's educational institutions, especially our government schools, are failing to deliver a quality education to our students. We see consistently declining test scores in almost every academic subject and at almost every level of testing.
- 66% of 8th graders are not proficient in math
- 19% of high school graduates can't read
- 90% of Christian students have a materialistic worldview
- 24th US world ranking in science
- Students can't define socialism vs fascism
- Non-biblical sex education
- 76% of high school grads not prepared for college
Principle Approach - Academic Excellence!
- 5+% National Merit Scholars
- 1100+ Average SAT Scores
- 99% College attendance
- $25k Average college scholarship
- 80% Parent Satisfaction
Again, in education, outcomes are the most important things. As Christian educators, our primary concern should be that children gain an understanding of who God is, who we are, and what duty we owe to God and our fellow men. Education is discipleship! The graph below is a result of research done by the Nehemiah Institute which sadly shows that the vast majority of Christian young people, regardless of whether they attend a public or traditional Christian school, have a secular worldview.
Principle Approach Schools produce a biblical worldview!
In the graph below, the green line at the top of the graph are students from Principle Approach schools! Principle Approach students have learned to use the Bible to inform them about all aspects of life; including politics, education, economics, religion and social trends.