Step 5: Heart

There is more to education than educating the mind. Yes, concrete skills (multiplication, grammar, dates and places, timelines, and geography etc) are important. But at what cost? Morality? Creativity? Balance? Joy? Independence? Faith? How much are we willing to give up in order to fit the mold that the standard education model demands? Society has gotten so  caught up in comparing standardized test scores that we have forgotten to treat our children as individuals with divine worth and to support them in the deeper elements of their personal development.

What are these deeper elements?

1. Faith

Spiritual learning is not separate from temporal learning. We believe that God is the ultimate scientist, mathematician, orator, philanthropist, and healer. He is the source of all truth, light, understanding, and knowledge. At AFE we encourage students to bring their whole selves to class.  American Family Education is a multifaith organization. Our teachers and leaders each have their own personal faiths but do not teach the doctrines of specific faith traditions in class. Rather, we encourage the students to develop their spiritual selves through relating their learning to the faith tradition of their own family. We hold to a Judeo-Christian foundation and the five basic religious tenets held by the Founding Fathers.

  1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.
  2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.
  3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.
  4. All mankind live beyond this life.
  5. In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.


2. Character

At AFE, there is a considerable focus on teaching character values and developing a child’s ability to think with their heart, not just their mind. How do we facilitate this learning? Stories in literature and history!

Stories are the way to a child’s heart. The stories that we “feed” our children directly effect what kind of people they choose to become. Marlene Peterson, creator of “The Well Educated Heart” movement has amassed an incredible library of stories that nurture a child’s character and heart development. Take a moment and watch Marlene’s video explaining how important it is to carefully select stories for our children…

The Well Educated Heart (found at is an incredible resource for parents who are seeking to become people who are able to inspire their children and lead by example. We highly recommend diving into The Well Educated heart resources provided on their site. You can start with the Introductory Course (scroll down and click on Section 1:The Mother’s Heart) and by watching this video…

The Well Educated Heart also hosts a wonderful podcast. We would recommend listening to “Educating the Educator” and “Do Re Mi” to start.

The character education at AFE is based on literature that demonstrates moral action and right thinking. In order to help you bring these wonderful stories and examples from history into your home, visit The Libraries of Hope Store, get The Good and the Beautiful book list, and check out the Favorite Picture Books list from

Continue to Step 6: Developmental Levels