What is Homeschooling?

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.

 

 

Comments are closed.