A home schooling mentor once gave me some good advice: Begin with the end in mind.
Looking back, my friend was insightful. But when you are a new homeschooling mother, you are– I don’t know–just plain overwhelmed. And scared.
Well-meaning people unintentionally put fear–no, out right dread–into me as their jaws dropped open at the mention of even thinking of home schooling. It seemed akin to letting your kids lick batteries or play in the street. Questions like “Do you think you can do it?” and “What makes you think you can do this?” left me deflated and discouraged. At that time, both of our sets of parents were skeptical (or just plain scared that we would turn their first-born grand daughter into a first-class social outcast. And an ignorant one at that.)
I remember looking through my first home schooling catalog with that “deer in the headlights” look. But I reasoned, “How could I possibly mess up kindergarten?”
So, for the first years we played school in our house.
We displayed an American flag and pledged it. ( I am not joking.) We bought a full curriculum, complete with class room charts and flash cards. I had a desk and a chalkboard in my kitchen! (Yuck!)
I had all the tools, and none of the goals. My “plan” was just to go through the work pages. Every. single. one.
Of course, that did not last. My home is NOT a school room and I do not need to treat it like one. If my child fell and scraped his knee, I would just give him a band-aid; not play ER and take the kids vital signs,scan insurance cards, and ask about the family history. My home is my home, and in it we eat, clean, play and learn.
So my friend asked me a simple yet profound question: What do you want your kids to know when you are done? Begin with the end in mind.
Ahhh…a revelation. Yes, I know. This should have been obvious, and now YOU are concerned that I have taken on this task.
So, we sat down and made a list.
- 1. I want my kids to love reading.
- 2. I want my kids be learners for life.
- 3. I want my kids to be self motivated and directed someday.
- 4. I want my kids to have good character.
- 5. I want my kids to know the Bible and their Savior.
So, our next year looked a lot different. We read books. Lots of them. We did hands-on math. We watched science movies and visited living history museums. We studied and memorized scripture . We talked about godly character traits. We played great music and painted. We fired the text books and went to original sources. In short, we made learning…well… interesting.
Now that my oldest is in her senior year, I am seeing the results. I can tell you right now that my kids are not the smartest kids by any stretch. They are not “cool” by this worlds standards. (thank God! Have you heard the lyrics to the music the cool kids are listening to? ) They are not perfect spellers or math whizzes. But they do love to learn. Even in high school, they are still inquisitive, avid readers, musical, creative and happy.
I leave you with these great quotes:
‘The surest sign of true intellectual acumen is a student’s comprehension of what it is he does not know; not what he does know. It is a spirit of humility that affords us with the best opportunity to grow, mature, and achieve in the life of the mind. It is knowing how much we do not know that enables us to fully embark on a lifetime of learning; to recover to any degree the beauty goodness and truth of Christendom.” ~C.S. Lewis
“I learned most, not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me.” ~St. Augustine
“When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it. For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding. Education extends to all of life. In fact, an educational system that says, one bright summer’s day in the dawn of my youth, ‘There. Now you are educated. This piece of paper says so,’ is doing me a gross disfavor. The truly educated person has only had many doors of interest opened. He knows that life will not be long enough to follow everything through fully.” ~Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
“The question is not, how much does the youth know when he has finished his education but how much does he care and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him? …….In the end we shall find that only those ideas which have fed his life are taken into the being of the child……..” ~Charlotte Mason
EDUCATION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up of as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future situations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. ~ Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary