Integrated learning is a buzz word in classical education. We integrate our subjects because we have an integrated God, i.e. God's love for people isn't a separate subject from His brilliance in creating the world. If science means the "study of the natural world" it stands to reason that we also learn about the Creator of the world when we study science.
Last week on community day, we did a science experiment that demonstrated the magnetic forces of the solar system. We used a polarized magnet, iron shavings, paper, and vinegar. Through our procedure, we produced a visual image of the planets' orbits around the sun and understood that the magnetic pull of the sun contributed to their paths and orbit shape.
The next day during our breakfast Bible readings, the kids and I explored John 6:16-21, the story of Jesus walking on water. We've heard this story before, seen it depicted in cartoons, coloring pages, and pop culture references. The emphasis has usually been on the setting--detailed descriptions of the water, the boat, and the astonishment on the disciples faces. Nothing is wrong with this rendition of the story.
But the previous day's science lesson gave a whole new context to this miracle.
Let me be clear--it illuminated it for ME--the mama, the teacher, the middle aged adult. I found myself in awe of our Savior because the elementary school science experiment was fresh on my mind, and so because of this,
I was excited to review the science lesson while we discussed the scripture passage.
The kids caught on immediately and I could see the awe and understanding in their eyes:
God has placed natural forces in motion to hold the planets together. He has created elaborate systems and cycles (also a lesson from a previous week). Because of our science lessons, we have a greater understanding of how He does this, and so greater is our awe when God himself steps outside of those systems to do something unnatural!
The kids and I marveled together about how Jesus defied gravity by walking on water! Studying science made it more tangible for us. And the beauty of integrated learning is that we don't leave one lesson on the shelf while we study another. The benefit of homeschooling is that I'm with them for each of these subjects, so I can easily facilitate bringing it together.
Finding the relationship between science and scripture helps us worship the Lord more deeply, and that's really what this homeschool journey is all about!