The 6 R’s

Most of us are probably familiar with the three R’s, which is a popular phrase in spite of its misuse of spelling. We have an expanded version of this, which we believe defines all that makes up a quality education. Instead of three R’s, we believe there are six. Specific ideas on how to teach each of these are included in the next section, and all are taught in Blessed in the Man.1. Reading - The ability to read a variety of material well and understand what is read is one of the major keys to real literacy. Many doors of opportunity are open to those who can read, and the widely-read student will always benefit much from reading. Such a person can learn much and have many valuable experiences between the pages of books and will enjoy the many good books in this unit.

If your student has difficulty reading or is not on grade level, he may need some intensive tutoring in that area, perhaps including a phonics course or review, before beginning Blessed is the Man or concurrent with it. There are many good programs to teach reading and to improve skills in that area. The appendix lists some that are specifically designed for older students and adults.

2. (W)riting- It is crucial that a person be able to communicate his ideas in writing. This will include, but is not limited to, penmanship, grammar, creative thinking, spelling, vocabulary, and composition in a wide variety of written work.

If a student has poor penmanship that seems to hold him back in other areas of composition, there are several things that may be done to ease the situation. Separate penmanship from creative writing by the use of typewriters, word processors, or tape recorders to do the initial composition. Often switching to another form of handwriting; eg. Spencerian, Italic, etc. will improve legibility and confidence. Practice penmanship when content is not at issue by having him copy Scripture verses, grocery lists, items to be memorized, or similar things, while you let him write original compositions on the typewriter or computer or dictate them into a tape recorder. For other suggestions in this area, see ‘Supplemental Courses’ in the appendix.

3. (A)rithmetic - This can be broadened to include all aspects of mathematics, including algebra, geometry, and any of the advanced math disciplines. It should also include at least some business math, bookkeeping, or accounting and a course in practical math.

All math is best taught on the basis of need with immediate or near-immediate application. You will see that certain units offer specific math courses to coincide with the unit. If your son needs more math for his chosen profession than the unit study offers, or your son or daughter is led to attend college, you may need to teach math as a separate course, using one of the books in the resource list for that purpose.

4. Research- The ability to find for oneself whatever information one might need to know is much more valuable than memorized lists of names, dates, and other facts. Students should be introduced to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and libraries very early and should be given many opportunities to use card catalog systems (now mostly online), periodic guides, microfiche readers, and other research tools. It is also helpful to let them know what is the best source for finding which kind of information. There are ample projects in each unit of this curriculum which offer that type of training. It is important for the student to do as much of his/her own research, even locating the resources, as possible.

5. Responsibility- This may be one of the most important goals most of us have for our children. If (s)he has been given adequate training and opportunities in this area, a young man or woman may already be quite responsible by the time (s)he begins this course. Unfortunately, however, most schools and homeschool curricula don’t expect any more in this area from a 15-year-old than from a first grader. They spoon-feed material to the student, and urge teachers to explain everything thoroughly and monitor closely.

Ideally, a high school student should be an apprentice adult, responsible for his/her own education as well as caring for himself/herself and his/her own things in the home. If your young person is ready for this responsibility, (s)he will be able to choose his own activities within a unit, make productive use of time each day, and complete work on schedule without being reminded. You should encourage the student to do as much on his/her own as possible, but provide the supervision and guidance you deem necessary, decreasing it as you are able.

6. Righteousness- The ultimate goal of all that we teach our young people is, or should be, to develop godliness and lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ who alone can give true righteousness. There is no greater ministry in our lives than to raise godly men and women to lead, nurture, and train the next generation. This is both a privilege and a heavy responsibility for us as parents, but God has promised to enable us with His power and bless our efforts. Bible study is important to this goal as is examining all other studies in light of Scripture.

Perhaps even more important is setting before our students a godly example of Christian living. Though mothers are most often the teachers of sons as well as daughters, it is valuable for Dad to take as large a role as possible in the training of the students who are using Blessed is the Man. If there is no father in the home or if he is not a believer or unavailable for discussions, it may be wise, if possible, to get help from another Christian man.

The example of a godly Christian father is valuable, for both boys and girls, but not completely essential for either, as God can meet any need in yours or your child’s life. Rely on Him and let your children know that you do. Your relationship with the Lord may be as crucial in your child’s life as any other single factor besides his/her own salvation.