Teaching the Bible with Nathan King
Teaching the Bible can be overwhelming, especially if you’re brand new to homeschooling. Or even if you’re not, and you just really want to give your kids a foundation in understanding the Bible and reading it.
Stick around because you’re not going to want to miss this conversation with Nathan King, the author of BibleQuest Classical curriculum.
Bible Quest Curriculum with Author Nathan King
Meg: [00:00:00] Teaching the Bible can be overwhelming, especially if you’re brand new to homeschooling. Or even if you’re not, and you just really want to give your kids a foundation in understanding the Bible and reading it.
Stick around cause you’re not going to want to miss this conversation with Nathan king the author of bible quest classical curriculum
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As a youth pastor in Kansas, since 2003. And the son of a pastor Nathan King Began to notice trends as he prepared to homeschool his own children, Nathan notice that there were trends happening within their youth ministry of children who were involved, but weren’t necessarily active in knowing the Bible and being able to recall the foundational skills within the Bible to stand on as an adult.
So, Nathan began to do research and today we’re going to talk more with Nathan about exactly how Bible quest came to be and why he made it.
hi Nathan, it’s so great to have you with us today thanks for joining
Nathan: [00:01:37] hello. Absolutely. Thanks, so much for having me
Meg: [00:01:40] I know it’s a really busy time of year, so we just really appreciate you being here. Let’s start with you telling us a little bit about you, your family, and how Bible Quest came to be.
Nathan: [00:01:52] Absolutely. So, my name is Nathan King and my wife, Melissa, and I have four children. we live in Oklahoma. And, this really kind of started, my daughter was about Oh, five years old and we were, starting to look into what we’re going to be doing for schooling. and, I was a youth pastor at the time.
And in the context of that, my wife and I were starting to wonder what effectiveness, are we bringing to the ministry, mean like how effective is youth ministry? I mean, youth ministers, they want to know, they want to know how effective they are and, and if there’s an impact that they’re, they’re making for the kingdom.
And of course, we know that God’s word does not return to him void. Of course, we knew that God is faithful, but we did want to kind of say, are we doing the very best that we, that we can do for the kingdom? And so, we came up with this idea, we’re going to do a study, of all the students who had gone through the youth ministry, all of the ones that had been, graduated out and gone on and, and just kind of see where were they?
And we took the entire, big lists. I kept records of, attendance and all that kind of stuff. And, and I believe we only worked with students who had been there more than one time. if you had just a guess, we didn’t, we didn’t count them in the, in the process, but we had this big list and we started going through and we started saying, okay, just subjectively, cause obviously I can’t see the inside of someone’s spirit, we can’t, can’t see exactly where it God’s spirit is moving in their life, but just subjectively looking at their life. Are they, a person that is following Christ strongly?
Do I see evidence of the Spirit’s work? Do I see the gifts of the spirit being we exhibited there or are they maybe on the other end of the spectrum where it’s like, if God is working, it is, it is well hidden and this person is really living in a way that is antithetical to, to scripture and to Christlikeness, or are they somewhere in between in the sense that maybe I don’t even have contact with them anymore, or just their life just doesn’t give me any indication one way or the other. I just don’t have enough contact with them to really make that determination. And so, we put our heads together and subjectively made those kinds of different determinations for our students just to get ourselves an idea.
And we found that 29%. Of our students, we’re obviously walking with Christ, we’re obviously following him in some way. We saw the evidence of that in their lives. About 20%. we’re kind of in the other category, the, the opposite category, and that did leave a large chunk of, of students in the middle we really didn’t know. And so of course those students could have been either direction. We just, we just didn’t have any sort of a real way of determining that. That 29% number was, was a sticker for me. It, it, it was, it was, it was sad to me because nationally it’s about 20 to 30%.
When you actually look at the research, that’s pretty common. But, to me, that seems like a pretty pathetic job, that we’re not doing everything we can, to reach the next generation for Christ. And, that was hard, to take a hard look at that and say, what’s going on here.
But as we, as we were praying about it, and looking at, those numbers, my wife and I, started talking about it, and we started thinking, well, let’s start adding indicators. Let’s start talking about, individual things that are going on in students’ lives and see if we can see any patterns that are emerging.
And as we looked at a whole bunch of them, but one single indicator, area started emerging as being important. And that was the role of parents. if a student had parents who were going to the same church, they were, we had students that came from other churches, sometimes, parents weren’t attending or whatever.
If they had parents who were going to the same church, attending services with them who were involved in their spiritual development in that , parents were involved in the youth group in whatever way they could be, , not necessarily as a sponsor, but, but , in supporting that , all these sorts of things, when we started adding those kinds of indicators, those students who had parents who were very involved in their spiritual formation and in their lives and in their church, 80% of them were walking with Christ.
We could see those lives impacted by that sort of familial interaction, from their parents, and the other 20% that we’re not walking with Christ in ,that subgroup a hundred percent of them with the exception of one kid, he’s kind of an outlier, but a hundred percent of the other ones, other than that, one kid all had daddy issues in high school. Meaning their dad either divorced mom, or dad died during their high school years. And so, yeah, the power of the parent. Obviously, God, can you use any circumstance to bring people closer to him? Okay. We know that, you hear all the stories of, Hey, I was in youth group, my parents were nowhere to be seen, and I went to, youth group and got saved. Great, God uses those situations. And obviously God could do whatever he wants, he’s God. But isn’t it powerful to recognize the power of a parent’s interaction and how God blesses that interaction with children?
We see this power of God using parents in the lives of students. And so that was good, extremely powerful Meg. So, they got me very, very, interested in working more solidly with parents, and try to help parents and equip parents specifically.
About that same time, my wife and I, of course, with Lydia, we’re starting to look into this schooling thing, and we got involved with a group called Classical Conversations. my background is actually in secondary education. Yes, I am a youth pastor, but that’s the background I have is I have a Bachelor of Science in Bible, and then I also have, a secondary education degree in history.
And so, that was, that was kind of my background. It was, was an education, but through classical conversation, they utilize that classical model. That that’s my kind of big things that they do. And, I started learning more about this classical approach to education and I’m going, I never heard anything about this in my college. And I started looking at the implications and what was, what, what that meant and, and the effectiveness, and I’m going, my goodness, what were we doing? Why were we not looking at this earlier?
And so, yeah, I mean, kind of have that milieu have not only looking to it, equip parents because I saw the extreme value, but also in looking at some methodological things that I had never really considered before, out of that milieu came bible quest.
And the idea to build Bible quest was born. So that’s kind of where it came from.
Meg: [00:07:45] Oh, wow. That’s interesting. I have a background in education as well, and I was a kindergarten teacher and throughout my schooling, I also did not hear much about classical education other than the fact that it was considered medieval. And I was taught it was cruel to use so it was more of a let’s talk about it, so you don’t ever use it kind of exposure to it
Nathan: [00:08:07] Sure. The kill and drill idea, where you’re killing their, their little spirits by drilling it out of them.
Meg: [00:08:12] Yes. And for a long time, I believed it And I lived it and I thought, having all of these posters, plastered all over the wall and all these different things that would be like resources for them and all the tools that we see in the modern American classroom today, as resources, instead what I actually found was that they just became another piece of decoration and it kind of sparked my wondering of something’s not clicking here.
Nathan: [00:08:40] I’m really fascinated to hear that from you. And I I’d like to be able to talk to you more about, I have some theories about modern education, so we’ll get to that.
Meg: [00:08:48] Yes. Okay. We’ll get to that shortly. So, the idea for Bible quest was born. You did some research to get some statistics to help you see what direction you wanted to go in, and then you began to create the curriculum. So, with the classical model of education, we have the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages. So, grammar is elementary, logic or dialectic would be considered middle school and rhetoric would be considered high school. So, in your curriculum you have equip, empower and expedition can you talk more to those phases?
Nathan: [00:09:27] Absolutely. And I’ll try to give it in a way that helps to make sense as an approach to anything, but yeah, obviously specifically to Bible quests, but, the foundation of any, area of human interest of anywhere of human study, it has to be with knowledge. Okay. Now actually, there is actually a further foundation. Okay. We know in scripture that the beginning of knowledge is actually the fear of God, So there has to be, there has to be a heart where I actually am going to believe what God says, and then I have to actually, realize that what he says has validity.
Okay. So there, there is that there’s that heart level, but when we’re talking about from a pedagogy or a method of instruction now, this step foundation is going to have to be knowledge. And, so that’s, that’s what classical education starts with. It starts with this knowledge and that knowledge is through memorized repertoire.
And so, I’ve heard the example of the. mechanic, in the mechanics garage. If you’re trying to become a mechanic, you probably ought to know what a wrench is. You probably ought to have some idea of what a ratchet set is, because if you say, do-hickey and thing-a-ma-bob, you might be able to get some things done, but you’re not going to be very precise in how you proceed In your, in your learning process.
It, we need to learn what things are called and what they are and what they do. And, and you need that information so that you can use it. One of the best illustrations, especially with when it comes to like memorization is ABCs. I am convinced that we actually do classical education, our culture, when it actually counts, when it comes to ABCs, everyone teaches ABCs.
And while you’re learning ABCs, sometimes you get these questions. Why are you memorizing? Don’t you want to understand it? You don’t, that kind of thing when you’re, when kids are memorizing ABCs, we do not care if they understand it. I do not care if you understand the deep things of M and or Q, I just don’t care.
I do want you to sing the song and I want you to, I want it to be in the correct order. Other than that, all you have to do is look cute. I just don’t care. And so, when, when we get to the end of that, though, once we, once you’ve memorized it, and once I have that ABC song in my head, then we can start talking about how to put those together.
And after we’ve done that, then we can talk about how we then put those words and form it., it builds upon itself, but the foundation is that memorized repertoire. It’s interesting, in scripture, Psalm 119:11 says, that word, if I hit my heart, that I might not sin against thee.
And so, scripture even talks about, the foundational level. We, want our kids to, live for Christ. But do we do the hard work of memorization when scripture tells us that will help them in limiting the acts or in fighting this fleshly, indulgences, these sins, that kind of stuff that he explains to us what to do.
And, so that’s reassuring to me that when they look at scripture and they have submitted a lot of that is their memory banks. When they, put that into their memory banks they can then utilize that. Foundationally knowledge is extremely key. So that’s kind of the grammar phase, And that’s the, that’s the foundation. The, the dialectic phase, or you say the logic phase could be understood as understanding. It’s taking what I know and mixing it together Okay. So, I’m going to take this idea, these facts that I’ve now memorized, okay, and I’m going to start looking at them and saying, well, how did they fit together? And, a powerful way to do that is through conversation. And so, the while the equip phase and Bible quest was that grammar phase. That’s where we equip you with, your knowledge. We have tools to do that.
The empower phase is going to center in on conversation. Okay. We call those exploration, but it’s really about conversation and there’s very specific ways that we can, we can have those conversations, that lead kids to, the understanding of what they’re, looking at. But also, in my mind, it’s also what I call exercises.
And this is really in some ways is a skill development but taking that information that we know that we’ve memorized and we’re putting it together. not only in the way of conversation, but we’re also practicing with it and practicing, methods to look at it more deeply. Those would be Bible studies skills.
Okay. an example of, and I call these exercises, an example of an exercise would be, like keyword outlining, We’re actually going through verses and we’re looking for important words in those verses, They kind of, they’re able to leap out of the page and, kind of encapsulate the meaning of that word by, doing that, by looking at the importance of those individual words, I’m helping not only to build, reading comprehension, but I’m also giving myself a skill for reading scripture more deeply in the future. I don’t know if you remember when you were a kid, , some churches have done this for years, when you say, Oh, look at Matthew 28, 20 and the kid flips through the Bible really fast and finds Matthew 28, 20 and they recite it for you and Oh, good job, you, you got it. That’s a sword drill. And, and this, this skill set that I’m developing using God’s word. So, so again, it’s, it’s doing something with, it is not only helping me to be able to, know something more deeply about where these verses are and, and how to find them. And then there’s an intrinsic level of understanding from, even understanding, where are the books of the Bible are that kind of thing, but there’s also, it’s also this skillset of learning in the future. I’m actually learning Bible study skills in the future and gaining aptitude, in those skills. So, that’s the understanding phase of learning the dialect or the logic phase. And I kind of bring in that skillset development as part of it, because I see a level of aptitude that is built, by pursuing those kinds of things.
Meg: [00:14:46] Okay. I love that explanation. So just to recap, knowledge is the memorization and that is the grammar stage. The logic or dialectic is understanding. So, it’s kind of like a puzzle. We’re putting the puzzle pieces together. Of the knowledge that we memorized so that we can understand the picture of what we’re building for the puzzle.
Nathan: [00:15:09] Absolutely. Yeah. And kids and kids hit that phase naturally.
Oh, I mean, it varies per student, but I mean something in the neighborhood of like nine, 10 years old, something like that, they start asking us really kind of tough questions. why is there sin in the world and a good God? Like how God can be good and everything in the world. I mean, those kinds of questions, very valid.
but, they’re, they’re starting to try to put these things together and make sense of all of this. You can tell your student is in that logic and dialectic phase and they start asking those kinds of questions.
Meg: [00:15:35] That’s so interesting because my son this week just turned nine and he actually asked me, I would love your perspective on this because I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who are entering this phase or have gone through this. But he said to me, I don’t not believe in God. But how do we know it’s true
and, I still struggle with that question. And so I know it’s normal for them at that age, to begin asking these questions and figuring out the puzzle, but I’m wondering, as I go through Bible quest and I’ve begun doing some of the empower phase things with him, he started asking really tough questions and I think it would be helpful to just kind of know maybe a little bit about your perspective. How to approach that when you’re making that transition from the equip to the empower phase in your curriculum.
Nathan: [00:16:34] So Bible quest is not inherently apologetic, I mean, it actually doesn’t deal with like defenses, the faith, faith per se. It does. Go into first cause from Tom’s clients or in any of the stuff that he wrote or, any, any of these things that we utilize when talking about kind of these big questions of, how do I know that it’s actually real and that kind of thing, it deals with biblical literacy.
But I’m going to take a little segue, and I want to engage that a little bit, with your students specifically. What I would say is this is one, we can look at scripture and we can see this internally consistent. Okay. So, we can start looking at these different things. And there are things, Bible quests that lets you do some research to start looking at things.
And one example of something that is just absolutely powerful mind-blowing is Jericho. Okay. So, is this the city maybe for, for listeners who maybe don’t know who that is, or, what that is? Jericho was the city that the Israelites engaged after they crossed the Jordan river, coming out of the Exodus and the desert wandering period.
They crossed the Jordan and they engaged with Jericho. Or there may, I think there’s one city before that, I think. Called AI, but Jericho was like the big one. Cause there’s the walled city. And that’s the one where the children of Israel walked around at seven, at one time for six days.
And then on the seventh day, he walked around at seven times and they with a great shout, they, they shot it in the walls, came tumbling down as the song says. Jericho is still there today. The ruins are there. And when you start looking through the archeological evidence. You start seeing all of these markers that were in scripture that are then, being shown forth.
Like it says in scripture, it says that it was actually, after the harvest that this happened. And in Jericho, they still have grain, massive, large amounts of grain, very old grain, but grain that’s in these, these big jars and it has fire damage. So, they didn’t have time. To get this stuff out of it before the, before the city was burned and scripture says it was burned.
Oh, when you look at how the walls came down. They made this, this ramp that the children of Israel ran up. It says that they ran up into the city. He actually says that in scripture. And when you look at the walls and how they, how they, they fell, they fell in such a way that it’s almost like this ramp leading up into the city.
And, you start seeing all these, indicators being echoed in scripture. There is, some people who, of course, who, who want to, detract from that record and then wanted to say, well, this is not, this is Jericho can’t possibly have been the one in scripture or did wasn’t at that time.
Or there’s some things that come into that. And then of course the more complicated conversation, but I would impart to a student, we have this in the soil in the land, in the dirt, in the stone, around the world, things that are in the scripture are echoed in archeology. And so, there’s good reason for us to say, look, there’s evidence for this, but the other side of that because, there’s a problem with that. When I give this kind of evidence, because I am appealing to their sense of is this true because I understand it. Something is not true because I have the evidence for it.
Jesus is not Jesus, because I believe he’s Jesus. He’s Jesus, because he’s Jesus. And the question of whether or not I’m going to believe on him, his, his reality is not dictated by my understanding, the fact that he’s God is not dictated because I found some great evidence. That’s not what makes it true. However, it is reassuring that there is evidence. Does that make sense?
Meg: [00:19:54] Yeah, I like that explanation. You know, everyone is so loud today with their opinions and their perspectives of things, it’s good to be able to understand on a level, but at the same time, it really is not up to our understanding or comprehension of something to make it true.
Nathan: [00:20:19] And the same thing with apologetics, I love apologetics. I don’t talk a lot about them. I don’t bring it in Bible class quests really much at all because I think that they’re very, very valuable for some unbelievers Where they’re really valuable is for believers. it’s just kind of like, God, are you there? And, and he gives us a little, would have evidence to say, okay, look, look, I’ll feed your, I’ll feed your need for a little bit of evidence here.
and so, he gives that to us and, and apologetics can be handy in that way, but at the end of the day, it’s got to be about my relationship with Jesus Christ. and so, it’s, it’s a very valid question. It’s great that your son is looking into it. That is, that is a wonderful thing that he’s looking into, but at the end of the day, I want to show him our relationship with Jesus Christ beyond all the evidence he sees, your witness and, and she showed him Jesus Christ as a, as a personal savior.
Meg: [00:21:04] Yeah, we talk about that quite a bit. That seeing isn’t always believing, but feeling is believing too. And. Seeing things like the battle of Jericho. Is that reassurance for us, like you said, to fulfill our human need for understanding. He throws us a little bone. If you’re wondering where to find the battle of Jericho, you can look in the book of Joshua. Okay. So, we’ve talked about grammar, we’ve talked about the dialectic. So now in the rhetoric stage, you have what you call the expedition phase. Can you tell us more about that?
Nathan: [00:21:44] Yes, the expedition phase rhetoric in general, that, we, we often misuse that term in our modern world. People say, Oh, it’s just rhetoric. And, and I guess in our vernacular, it’s fine. what you’re saying is, Oh, it’s just words you’re speaking that don’t really have meaning. It’s just what you’re saying to try to get people to do whatever. But in the classical model and in the ancient world, rhetoric is really the arts of persuasion.
Okay. And so, it really is at that level, when we’ve gone beyond grammar, we’ve gone beyond the logic phase. Now we’re into rhetoric. It really is persuasion. And really, it could also be considered application. And bringing things to bear that I now understand and know, so well.
And so, in Bible quest, application of scripture, is really something that is done as you learn it. James says, don’t just, don’t just listen to the word and so deceive yourself, but do what it says, and so, you don’t want to just like, listen to the word and just learn it. You want to actually do something. When you, when you need to love your neighbor, you need to go love your neighbor. We need to forgive someone who’s hurt you. You need to forgive them. We need to go feed the poor. You go feed the poor. We need to go on a mission trip, there’s so many ways we can apply God’s word.
So, what I kind of did is I kind of honed it down. In Bible quest does idea of expedition, which has a little bit of application, direct application, but it’s mostly about, Hey, how am I going to persuade and present this great stuff that I’m learning to someone else because it makes them hash through it. And the objective is to do that with a caring, godly mentor, because this really is what develops wisdom.
So, we have knowledge leading, then we mixed that together really well in the dialect phase and have understanding, and then we, we go to use that. We’re going to, and we’re going to apply that and we’re going to develop wisdom.
And so, Bible quest really deals with that persuasion side, and in the present, as presentation. So we have a lot of different ways that people can present things, different ideas on how that’s done, but that’s really supposed to be done through a godly mentorship, that someone is able to show them, where to go and, and, and how to come to the conclusions and how to present that in a way that it’s, it’s a pleasing honoring to God and so on and so forth.
There’s people in this world that have had very, very great understanding and wonderful amounts of knowledge and use their information wrongly I’m thinking of Stalin or Hitler, or, I mean, it’s, it’s not that these people aren’t smart people is that they did not use it in the right way. So, we want to have a godly mentor involved as we’re, using this information. So anyway, that’s, that’s kind of the encapsulation of the whole thing.
Meg: [00:24:03] Yeah and that’s basically boils down to and correct me if I’m wrong but why we have the bible to reference.
Nathan: [00:24:11] Yeah, absolutely. Because yeah, it’s exactly. And as I look at scripture, of course, scripture does correct itself now because you, you start saying, Oh, wait a second.
I’m a, I’m worthless, I’m a worm, Well, at the same time, Jesus died for me. I mean, the scripture helps us to have the attitude when we, when we are self-corrected when we read the whole thing. But of course, if people are reading only reading a certain portion, or if they’re, they’re being influenced by someone who has an agenda, this, this is a problem. I can have a wrong understanding of scripture. Is that, is that kind of the same vein of what you’re saying?
Meg: [00:24:43] Yes exactly. And I think it’s understanding that in the rhetoric stage itself, it’s about learning to make your beliefs make decisions of what you’re going to stand on what are going to be the foundational pillars that you’re going to have as you move into being an adult.
Nathan: [00:25:06]. Yeah, it brings up a great point because, and here’s the, where it comes in to do the modern education thing. I want to talk to you about. So that’s the classical model, you have grammar, your foundational knowledge, you have your dialectic or your logic phase, which that, that kind of conversation in my mind, you’re also going to have kind of the, the aptitude building exercise kinds of stuff.
And then you’re going to move into that rhetoric. How am I going to use it and how am I going to persuade others and present it to others? That’s very intentional., it makes sense and frankly, when it matters, we use it, as a modern culture.
I’m going to contrast that with what I see in modern education. In modern education, in, in my mind, in most circumstances. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions, but generally speaking, modern education doesn’t really focus on knowledge at all. There’s a lot of arguments against it in fact. Things like drill and kill or, Oh, they’ll just look it up on their phone later, or don’t, don’t worry about having a memorize math facts. Just give them calculators. they’re downplaying the value of memorized repertoire really, in a lot of ways. And, what they like to target in my mind, this is my theory.
They like to target. Understanding. because as a teacher, isn’t it fun when students like, do you see the lights going on? You see, you hear it, just talking about this, the light bulbs going on. It’s a light bulb. I want to understand something, and I don’t, I don’t disagree. I mean, that’s fun. Dialectic in my mind is, is kind of that phase in a lot of ways that is, bringing in the light bulbs with a lot of endorphins going in your brain where you’re like figuring stuff out. I mean, it’s cool. it’s fun to have dialectic conversation. Teenagers love having deep conversations, like in youth group, they’re like, Oh, we just want to have deep conversations. You’re like, great. Let’s go and memorize some stuff. So, you can have some deep conversations. Oh, we don’t want to do that.
They don’t want to do the hard work of it. They just want to be able to have the deep conversations because of all that endorphin rush from figuring stuff out. And so, I have a theory that teenagers, since they don’t have necessarily, many times that the, the memorized repertoire to have deep conversations, they focus on things they do know which usually is their feelings.
Guys and girls had like these deep conversations. Which really just means they’re talking about what they feel at that moment. And they’re like making connections and so on and so forth. Anyway, but in modern education, I think that teachers want to target standing. They don’t worry so much about having you memorize and having you have this foundational information that is so helpful, later on when you’re starting to make those connections. Cause you’re able to start saying, Oh, this Oh, but so you’re able to bring those things in. No, no, no, no. You’re limited to that, the information they give you at hand, and you’re not even memorizing that information.
So, you kind of get this dull sense years later, after you’ve gone out of your out of school. I was, I was public school. You had this dull sense that you sort of understand something, but you’ve lost all the information that undergird it. And one thing that I find that is that is, is often the case is that many times churches will do the same thing.
They will target understanding. And again, I have nothing against going through this understanding phase, I mean out that, when we do that without doing the hard work of memorization without doing the hard worker committed God’s word to memory without doing the hard work of, of putting these things so that I can always bring them back at my ready to recall when we even neglect that.
Imagine years later, when someone brings up something about the Bible to me and they say, well, did God really say… and I start going, well, what maybe? And my understanding is it’s pretty wobbly because it doesn’t have a firm foundation of the memorized knowledge to stand on. I can’t bring that back to them and, refute that argument, or is difficult to do.
So now again, we all come in different places, and, and someone may come into the middle of a program and they can’t memorize everything at the get go. There’s nothing wrong with having some understanding as, a goal for a class, for a certain sort of single classroom. Okay, I’m talking about the ideal of classical education being so powerful as a general strategy broadly over the entire spectrum of a student’s learning period.
Meg: [00:28:57] As you’re talking about this, it’s actually taking me back to my public-school experience. And reminding me of my time learning history. And I’ve talked a lot about this on my YouTube channel and with the history curriculum that I share. And it’s exactly what you just said. It, my knowledge of history is wobbly. I know the big major points, but when it comes to having those conversations, I get really nervous because I don’t have a firm knowledge foundation. And I can’t recall those facts are there’s dates are those time periods. So, thinking of that with the memorization and having that solid foundation of knowledge to prevent a wobbly understanding. What would you say some of the best practices for memorization would be?
Nathan: [00:29:51] Absolutely. So, I’m going to steal a little bit from, my boss, Andrew Pudewa. I actually worked for the Institute for Excellence in Writing, IEW. I’m his, event coordinator. And I, I do some things from, from project management stuff. So, I’m, I’m involved in a lot of the, the, Yeah. products and stuff that we make. And, one of the talks that he has is talking about the goodness of memory and, it’s, he, and I believe he talks about this in, in nurturing, competent communicators as well.
But basically, memory comes from three main functions, okay. Frequency, duration, and intensity. And so, when we talked about frequency, he was talking about like, okay, if, if I was explaining to you, the definition of a specific word, okay. I use the word shemozzle, and my understanding of that word is that the definition is actually a group of monkeys.
Okay. So, it’s a kind of a funny word. It was on a Balderdash thing. I haven’t double check that you can, fact check that that’s fine, but let’s say it is, let’s say that that’s actually the definition says schnozzle was a group of monkeys. If every day I called, you up Meg. And I said, Hey, guess what?
I shouldn’t also be a group of monkeys. eventually. You probably remember that a Chanel is a group of monkeys, I mean, like the frequency, if we did that, for a year and every day I called you up and that’s an example of frequency, Actually, honestly, if I did that for probably a month, I remember it, forever.
Okay. So that’s an example of frequency, duration, that idea of I call you up one day a month for 10 years. And I say, a shemozzle a group of monkeys. And you would probably remember that even though it wasn’t every day, you had long distances between, Oh yeah. Nathan’s calling me again.
He’s telling me shemozzles I give her a monkey. So that, that would, that’d be an example of duration. I take it and extend it over a longer time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as frequent. But it’s, this idea of duration is about over a long period of time. I’ve heard this thing, a multiple period of multiple points. And that has then helped me with my, my memory, The third area where, where, that, that really yeah. Leads into memory is the idea of intensity. And so, let’s say, I said my Meg in, in one year, I’m going to tell you something and in one year, if you can recite it back to me, a hundred percent, I will give you a million dollars.
That would be, that would be kind of an intense thing. And I said, a schnozzle is a group of monkeys. Do you think that in one year you would probably be able to tell me that a schnozzle is a group of monkeys?
Meg: [00:32:04] Yes.
Nathan: [00:32:05] Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty intense. And then of course we would never want to do this, but the opposite is also true, if I said Meg in one year, if you cannot tell me that Chanel’s was a group of monkeys, I will kill you. That would also be pretty intense. And you’d probably remember it either way is the intensity is not necessarily saying positive or negative, it is. It is saying that is, that is an emotional thing and attached to that.
And so best practices. When we look at those from memory, we want to have frequency. And duration, those, those two, there are pretty easy for us to bring in, and, and be strategic about intensity. I don’t worry about so much, but if you can do things that are different and fun, that does help with intensity,
So those are the three things I kind of look at when I’m looking at memory. If I’m not doing one of those three things, I’m probably not going to remember it. If we had one of those three elements is not involved. and so, in Bible quest, we have a lot of tools, for this phase, this, in fact, this is probably most of the book.
The Bible course program is centered around the tools for that particular phase, because we actually put that information together in a very specific order and we put it together in a very specific way so that it actually lends itself to better understanding later.
So, for example, we have a, big Bible story song. It is a 41 point song, and I know, it now, but a bit has been lifted with this 41 point song and, and what’s, what’s cool about it is we, I, when I, when I teach by request, I do it every time. Every time I do the, the big Bible story song. It’s kind of like the ABC’s of biblical chronology.
It helps the student to be able to identify in their mind, where is this in the Bible? There is this particular thing I’m learning. Cause we don’t have everything in Bible Quest. And we don’t have, for instance, the person that bailed them. He’s the guy that, that, that the donkey spoke to in, in, in this time period.
I mean the, the Israelites were still kind of wandering around in the desert, but if I know. That them takes place in this time, period of desert wandering, I instantly have a context for where he connects with Moses, who was still alive at the time, where he connected with, Adam, where he connects with Jesus, where he connects with David. Like I know where he’s at chronologically. I can see where he is.
We actually had a girl years ago is in youth group. And she actually thought that Joseph Jesus, his dad was Joseph in Egypt. it totally makes sense.
I mean, why would you name the guy that’s that? of course, but, but of course we see that all the time, people with the same names, Martin Luther is not the same person as Martin Luther King. But we know that we understand the history and so on, so forth. But if someone is just becoming acclimated to scriptural information that could be really confused and people go, man, the Bible is confusing. Well, yeah, if you, if you don’t know the details, but if I start understanding the chronology, I’m starting to able to put, okay, this is Joseph in Egypt. Oh, this is Joseph Jesus’ dad. There’s, there’s no confusion here.
I can start having this context. It starts to make things clearer in my understanding. And so that’s an example of us putting information in a very specific order and presenting in very specific ways to aid with that understanding process later because we know where we’re going with this. but we use a lot of tools, for memorization. Song is a big one for me. Singing is just, it’s just so powerful. it’s easy. Kids love it. especially younger kids love it. High schoolers, not so much.
Meg: [00:35:13] Yes, the songs you’ve created are all created to very familiar tunes. So, my kids and myself we’ve picked them up and we go around singing them throughout the day and throughout the week after we have our morning Bible time and it stays in your head. And then to engage those middle schoolers and high schoolers that may not be interested in the singing. You’ve created some really awesome games and the games work for the younger kids as well, but I’d love to talk a little bit about the games.
Nathan: [00:35:43] Sure. Yeah. So, we actually, in, in Bible quest we have these cards, they go with it, and they have, they have these fun pictures it has information on there. And so, I can utilize that information to play a ton of different games.
We have, I think about 18 of them now. And they vary anything from, kind of the traditional memory game that you’re used to seeing, memory for little kids all the way up to, we have to something that is, much more advanced. there’s a game out there called code names. and I believe we have an example of that on our website where you can play kind of a code names, variant, based on Bible quest card, which is a much more advanced kind of idea.
So, you can use those same materials for, very, very simple, reinforcement and, repetition all the way up to the stuff that’s much more advanced for older students. There is, a lot of other tools in there as well, whether you’re writing things down or whether you’re creating songs to sing on your own. You know high schoolers, sometimes they’ll go for it if they get to make their own songs, or they, if they’re teaching it. Then they’ll really go for it because they don’t feel silly anymore. Like if you’re teaching something to a little kid, you don’t feel like you’re not an adult because you’re teaching a little kid. So, when you have your high schoolers, your junior higher helping you teach it suddenly it’s no longer, too immature for them. It’s something that they’re, it’s theirs at their level. that’s, that’s sometimes that helpful.
Meg: [00:36:52] Yeah. And there’s some pretty staggering statistics out there of an eye, because when you really think about this statistic, it shows you that classical education is at the root of it. But it talks about how 80% more knowledge is retained once it’s presented and then regurgitated where they can actually say the same thing or repeat the memorization of what they’ve learned.
Nathan: [00:37:20] Absolutely. Yeah, no, that’s powerful. That’s powerful. Do you, do you remember in college, did you ever go over a lady named Madeline Archer? Do you remember her name? Oh, it was so funny because years later, we would, we have this lecture in my, in, college.
I went to Kansas state university and, and in that lecture, they were there explaining to us, different pedagogies and different things. And, and one person that was just, stood out and was just so amazing. Her name was Madeline Larcher and she said, review, review, review, and it was, Oh, wow.
This is wonderful that she said that. And that’s classical education. I mean, but were there, there was batting in as though some like, Oh, she’s really wise to say that. Of course, she’s wise, this has been going on for thousands of years. Why is this so novel? Why is this so powerful?
And of course I had no context to realize that I just thought, Oh yeah, that makes sense, but years later I looked back and I was like, wow, they were looking at that like, that was something like novel and really, something amazing to look at when really 2000 years prior to that they were doing exactly the same thing.
Meg: [00:38:15] It’s so interesting to me, especially as I’ve become more aware of the classical model of education, how much society has shifted away from it. And I really struggled to understand why, but I see it coming back. And that’s the goal here with this podcast to help reach other people that might not understand it or might want to know more and don’t know where to go to find out more. So, I really feel like you have just given people something to chew on and to think about and just take it and run with it in their homeschool.
Nathan: [00:38:54] Absolutely, and I would, if I, if I may, I’ll add one thing to that, this is my personal theory, so say I, not the Lord. But I see in our culture today, that’s so much of what is said, what is presented to others, is based on vitriol is based on this emotive kind of stuff. Not, not based on any sort of factual information it’s based off of just, screaming, emotional baggage that people hold. And I think a lot of them are hurting. And, I mean, obviously I know that comes from a place where there’s a lot of hurt and damage in our people because they need Jesus.
But what’s interesting is that if we don’t have knowledge, something that we can stand on, something firm, we can stand and on. I have to put my understanding on something. I have to put it on some sort of foundation. And if I don’t have knowledge there, I’m fill that up with stuff I make up.
I’m going to fill that up with stuff that I hear somewhere, I’m going to fill that up with my emotions because I have to have something to rest my understanding on. And so, I, I really think that in many ways, this, this idea of trying to go against the classical model is itself. A way for those who be enemies of freedom.
and I’m going to say possibly human, but also specifically those of a spiritual nature who are enemies of freedom, are going to try to, they try to undermine the value of a tremendous, memorized repertoire of something that you can actually hold onto, because if they can do that, then they can, they can manipulate. And they can, they can move people to where they want them to go.
Meg: [00:40:28] Yes, that is such a great explanation because emotion will drive us. If we don’t have a foundation to stand on. And when our foundation is made of emotions, emotions are not stable.
Nathan: [00:40:43] Well, yeah, so let’s do battle, Let’s do battle by teaching our kids. Let’s do battle. I can hear kids in a way that’s going to help them to actually be able to, to engage those ideas and those hurtful thoughts that the enemy is throwing at our people today.
Meg: [00:40:59] The value of giving our children this kind of education, you give them the foundation and the ability to memorize stuff, because when you memorize stuff and you know a lot of facts, you sound smart. And I think that goes back to the frequency and the duration. Those experts in the field, they are experts because they have a lot of knowledge and they have a lot of facts that they can recall and information.
And having this approach to education, that’s broken into these three phases of get the knowledge, then have the understanding, then form your opinions and be able to communicate those opinions to others is so valuable for our children and for the future generations. It’s very interesting to me, and I just wonder sometimes in another 2000 years, what’s it going to be like, what are the discussions going to be?
Well, lots of great information to chew on today. Thank you so much, Nathan, for joining us and for sharing your time and your wisdom. We are so grateful for you.
Nathan: [00:42:16] No, Megan, I really appreciate you reaching out and, talking to me and me it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been, a learning experience for me. I appreciate it.
Meg: [00:42:23] Real quick before we go Nathan would you tell our listeners how they can connect with you and check out your curriculum
Nathan: [00:42:30] absolutely. So, you can find us at Bible quest classical.com. and if you, if you’d like you can, you can put in Bible quest, classical.com forward slash request hyphens a hyphen sample. Yeah. Let’s just find that on our menu. Okay. That re sample materials, but you can go there, and you can get four free weeks of Bible quest.
that’s with songs and games and you can print everything out and, yeah. And take a look and see if it’s something that would be useful for you. but, it’s just, it’s just kind of the tip of the iceberg. She can go there. We do, I do have a blog. I’m not the most consistent blog writer.
but I do try to get out there and put information out there as I’m able. and, yeah, we’d love to have you come in and take a look and connect with us.
Meg: [00:43:12] Fantastic. Well, I encourage you to go check out that free sample and connect with Nathan online. And Nathan I hope to talk with you again soon thank you for joining us today.
Nathan: [00:43:23] Awesome. Meg, thanks so much.