Archive for March, 2016

What is Homeschooling?

Monday, March 14th, 2016

by Kristin

A lot of parents, particularly mothers, think “I could never homeschool.”

For them, the idea  of homeschooling evokes visions of perfect, smiling mothers that are divinely gifted with infinite patience, super-human intelligence, and extraordinary organizational skills. These perfect mothers run the equivalent of a high-class private school in their homes, with perfect, quiet, studious children sitting at polished desks from 7:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon, learning three languages, a dozen musical instruments, trigonometry, physics, advanced grammar, theology, early church history, and economics. After school, this perfect mother simply waves her magic wand, her perfectly obedient children run to do her bidding, and the housework is resolved in minutes while a four course dinner appears on the table at precisely 5:00pm as her husband steps in the door.

I’m half-choked with laughing.

The reality of homeschooling is so vastly different from this. Are homeschooling mothers perfect? No! Are  we infinitely patient? No! Are we super intelligent and organized? Definitely not!

So how do we succeed at this homeschooling business then? What IS homeschooling anyway?

Homeschooling is an act of faith. You read what God says in His Word about raising children, about training them to love Him and to obey His Word (Deut. 6:1-9), and you realize that God is calling you to this, calling you to disciple your children for Him. And how can you disciple them when you are separated from them for the majority of their waking hours almost every day? And how can one to two hours of Sunday school or after-supper devotions compete with 30+ hours of humanist indoctrination every week in public schools?

So you as a parent take a step of faith, and keep your children home.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle. You are not re-creating your home into an institution. Home is still home. It’s where we live, share meals, do chores, play games, laugh, and relax. Now it’s also the place where we learn.

But learning is not restricted to superficial time slots, nor is it limited to lesson plans, workbooks, and test sheets. We are raising people, not computers. Education is about lighting a fire, not filling a database. There’s so much more to life and learning than simply memorizing multiplication tables and the dates of key historical events, important as those things are.

We need to teach the whole child: mind, body, and soul. Involve them in baking to learn fractions. Let them watch a sunflower grow from a seed. Teach them to care for a younger sibling and respect their parents. Bring a tadpole or a butterfly cocoon home for them to observe over time. Give them art and craft supplies. Read them timeless storybooks and stories about real people and places like Little House on the Prairie. Read, read, READ to them. Have them sort laundry by colour and put their toys away into organized bins. Give them puzzles and blocks and other open-ended toys that involve so much imagination and creativity. Teach them to ride a bike. Help them make cookies for an elderly neighbour. Teach them about God and His love for them.

Homeschooling is a vision for the future. Homeschooling is not just a daily exercise. We are giving our time, energy, and resources for the purpose of raising a godly generation to follow after us, for the glory of God. We are laying the foundation for not just our children’s lives as servants of the King, but for, Lord willing, a whole line of faithful descendants!

Such a long-term vision will drastically affect our choices of today. It will influence what curriculum we use, what activities our children are in, what we watch on TV, what books we read to the kids, who we socialize with, etc. We will make distinctions not only between what’s good and bad for our kids, but also between what’s good and what’s excellent. There’s only so much we can do in a day to prepare for the future, and so we need to make careful decisions about what will be the best use of our time and resources, and the best use of our children’s time and resources.

Think of it as building a Cathedral. Cathedrals take decades to build. Only the best materials are chosen and incorporated into the building. The different elements are handcrafted with great care and attention to detail by skilled craftsmen. They are adorned with breathtaking frescoes by gifted artists. They are filled with costly and beautiful objects. The whole Cathedral, inside and out, stands as a monument to the glory of God for centuries.

Homeschooling children is just like that.

However, like some of those who plan, design, and begin to build a Cathedral, we may never see the full fruition of our work. We do not know what our children’s children will do with the godly heritage we are seeking to prepare for them. But we know that we are doing the work that God has called us to, and we know that God promises to bless us when we step out obediently in faith.

And so we move forward with a vision and a hope, with our children in our hearts and in our homes.

* * * * *

If you are interested in giving homeschooling a try, or understand that God is calling you to disciple your children in this way, I would encourage you to check out the books below:

Educating the Wholehearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson

A Charlotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola

Home Grown Kids, Dr. Raymond Moore

I would also mention that Montessori materials and the Montessori approach of hands-on learning are also wonderful for teaching young children. The math materials in particular, in my experience, provide a solid foundation for young minds to comprehend this abstract subject.

 

 

Keeping Your Children Home

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

by Kristin

I’m in the middle of reading a book by Dr. Raymond Moore (namely, Home Grown Kids). Dr. Moore is a developmental psychologist and a strong advocate of homeschooling and of delaying formal education (see School Can Wait and Better Late Than Early by Dr. Moore). He stresses again and again the psychological benefits of young children staying at home under the loving care of their parents.

I find it deeply saddening to see so many parents following the popular culture in sending their precious children off to school at an increasingly younger age.

Granted, some families are in a position such that they have little choice but to enlist childcare outside the home. However, at the same time, there are many parents who do have a choice but don’t seem to realize that their personal love and care and training is far more important to their child’s development than anything the best preschool or daycare could provide.

Having said this, I realize that many mothers and fathers lack confidence to keep their children at home. We have been brainwashed as a culture into thinking that everything needs to be done by experts, most especially the delicate business of raising children. We have pediatricians, child psychologists, early childhood educators, teachers, school nurses, child psychiatrists, etc., etc. From the moment the child is born until the time he reaches adulthood, we have someone with a degree telling us when he should sleep, what he should eat, how he should play, who he should socialize with, what he should learn and when, and on and on and on, ad infinitum.

But is this really necessary? Did Abraham Lincoln have a child psychologist? Did Mozart need an early childhood educator? Did Thomas Edison need a school teacher?

The point is, No, you as a parent do not need a panel of experts to help you raise your child. This is a modern development, and quite frankly, it’s had more of a negative impact than a positive one. For example, simply compare the level of education today with what a child received 100 to 200 years ago, and you’ll see what I mean. For all their “expertise,” today’s experts don’t have much to show for their efforts.

This may be true, you say, but where is a parent to begin? How will a parent know what to do? What about specialized areas?

[Granted, there are times when you as a parent need specialized help, for example, when your child is very sick, when he has a disorder, when he needs more specialized training/education, etc.].

First questions first. Where do you begin? How will you know what to do?

Start with the Bible. Learn all of what God says about raising children. He made them after all, so He knows how they tick.

Then find solid Christian child training resources that are based on God’s Word (e.g. Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp). Remember, your first priority as a parent is always moral instruction: shaping your child’s character, teaching obedience to God, etc. This is the foundation for all other education.

Don’t believe me? Try teaching arithmetic to a child having a temper tantrum.

See what I mean? The moral training is necessary before any other training or instruction can take place. Even if you find ways to get around this, you won’t score any points in the end when you produce evil geniuses of your offspring. (Note: you’ll observe that schools nowadays are woefully lacking in any moral training [or rather, they’re excelling in immoral training], which is another good reason to teach your kids at home!).

Furthermore, this moral training — or “soul training” if you will — is foundational because it is the eternal aspect of parenting. One day your child will stand before God. Preparing him for that moment is infinitely more important than preparing him for highschool, or college, or his first job, etc. We must be so careful as Christian parents not to put on the same narrow blinders that the secular parents around us are wearing. This life is not all there is, as our secular counterparts so naively believe. We need to prepare our children first and foremost for their eternal future, and equip them to do the eternal work Jesus has prepared for them to do on this earth.

If you are interested to learn more, check out my small sample of resources below, and stay tuned for my next post, “What is Homeschooling?

 

Resources:

See this website for a list of great men and women of history who were homeschooled: http://www.homeschoolacademy.com/a/famoushomeschoolers/

Repairing the Ruins, ed. Douglas Wilson

On Secular Education, R. L. Dabney

The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp

Home Grown Kids, School Can Wait, and Better Late Than Early by Raymond Moore

 

A Belated Christmas Announcement

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

by Kristin

We had a little Christmas surprise (or rather, a big one) that we wanted to share with you.

We’re having another baby! Baby Kidd #5 is due June 6, 2016.

However, we have been facing some complications with the pregnancy, and there’s a significant risk that the baby could come prematurely. We would appreciate your prayers for this little one at this time.

~The Kidds~