Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
These verses give us a great example for us as to what parental instruction and value transference looks like. Truly, I like to think of these verses as an unschooler’s handbook.
Unschooling, or learning without school, is the idea that humans, children especially, learn what they need to know for life, for function, purpose and edification, through observation and interaction with life around them. They figure out what is relevant and irrelevant in life through the same process. This is how we naturally learn.
The common fear raised against unschooling is that by following this path my child won’t learn everything he “must know,” but the paradigm shift I’ve come around to is that the things in our culture that are truly must know things are so ubiquitously ingrained in our cultural values and everyday living that it is nearly impossible to live in our culture and not assimilate that information and skills. The things we think we must know are really only must know things for individuals who actually use them in their lives.
In light of that understanding, I must do some deep self-reflection and ask myself: Is the word of God ubiquitously flowing through the culture of our home? Is it so intertwined with everyday living that it would be nearly impossible not to assimilate that information? Am I truly living out my values? Am I living out my values in a way that will be seen as relevant values by my children?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is simply instruction on value transference in accordance with how we naturally learn. God knows this is how we learn best, because He designed us. Theses verses are an admonitionment to thread out the values we have intellectually accepted into the fabric of practices and interactions in our everyday lives. The way we live our lives is the loudest and most lasting instruction and training we give our children.