From the brochure …
Developed in the US in an effort to restore vital concepts of history to American Christians, it is a way of living life, not just educating children.
Developers defined seven principles on which the United States was founded and many of the founding fathers were educated:
.ii. Self Government
..v. The Christian Form of Government
.vi. How the Seed of Local Self Government is Planted
vii. The Principle of American Political Union
While available resources are American and Christian, these principles could be adapted to an Australian perspective, or used without specific religious content.
To Elaborate …
It may seem odd to include a discussion of an approach to home education on an Australia website, which is inherently American and has a definite religious basis. The reason is that the principles themselves are, for the most part, readily adaptable to a local context which reflects the individual’s own ethics and views.
Many parents, regardless of their religious beliefs, want to instil sound principles into their children. A study of this approach to home education may well provide a framework around which to shape a full curriculum, regardless of nationality or religion.
The roots of this approach are found in the desire to restore three perceived vital concepts to society. (Religious references have been removed here, for the sake of emphasising the general principles involved.)
- the knowledge of our history
- an understanding of our role in how our nation develops
- the ability to live according to the principles on which the nation was founded
Four strategies are applied constantly in the application of the Principles.
- Researching – to identify the basic principles that govern a subject and determine its source and purpose
- Reasoning – from the researched principles to determined the governmental importance of a subject
- Relating – the principles discovered to the student’s character
- Recording – the individual application of the principles to the subject and the student
These steps are done simultaneously.
- a foundation of sound principles is said to lead to a stable, effective life
- continuous personal application ensures sound understanding
- teaches the learner how to think, not what to think
- available curriculum will, by its very nature, be American Christian, which may not suit many Australian home educators, regardless of their beliefs
- to Australianise and personalise this approach may take considerable effort on behalf of parents
- locating individually suitable resources may be frustrating
This approach holds considerable appeal for me, although it wouldn’t work for us in our current phase. I like the concept of looking at things from the perspective of the principles involved, and we may well have headed down a path similar to this if I’d had exposure to the concept earlier in our journey.
- Foundation of American Christian Education
Provides a comprehensive history of the approach, as well as curriculum resources, teacher training, etc.
- American Christian History
Comprehensive guide to teaching and learning using the Principle Approach.
- Homeschool World: Lori Harris
Research tips using the Principle Approach.
An internet search will yield additional resources, which you will be able to assess according to your own criteria.
“It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than
to hide them, more strength to relate to people
than to dominate them, more ‘manhood’ to abide
by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex.
Toughness is in the soul and spirit,
not in muscles and an immature mind.”
~ Alex Karras