Friday, May 27, 2016

About Homeschooling or I Saw the Angel in the Marble 2

...Children are curious.  God built this into them.  They want to know all sorts of stuff (and if we aren't careful we will educate them out of wanting to learn)
- from I Saw the Angel in the Marble (comments in parenthesis mine)

It is on my heart to try to help those new to homeschooling or those who have been doing it awhile but who have just brought traditional, public school home.  I want to encourage you that God has a better plan and way than the governmental system that most of us have experienced and feel obligated to use as our measure of our homeschooling progress.

Previously I posted about the book (read part one of this artcle here), I Saw the Angel in the Marble by Chris & Ellen Davis and today I want to share more about this book and my thoughts about homeschooling. (BTW, if you only read one book on homeschooling please read this book!)

"For those of you who have "brought the school home" let me suggest that you rethink what you are really doing with your children.  Do you ever consider what kind of person this little boy or girl is to become by the time he or she leaves homes?  Have you ever wondered if God, Himself, has placed some very specific talents, giftings and callings in this youngster that He expects you to discover and promote during the child's stay with you?  Do such things determine your family's priorities, weekly schedule or the curricula you purchase?" - from page 100-101 of I Saw the Angel in the Marble.

Most of us, when we begin homeschooling, think that homeschooling is about education. But hopefully, as you travel this road you will learn that homeschooling isn't about education. Certainly, it includes education but that is not the point.  I want to encourage you to study scripture, listen to the Holy Spirit and read this book to gain wisdom and vision for your family's home school journey.  

I've watched the way that homeschooling families operate change a lot over the last 20+ years.  When I began in the 1990's people home schooled because they were pioneers, people who did this because they wanted a new and different way to teach and train their children, not the one size fits all, government-expert planned, education that takes learning out of context of real life.  Today, I see masses or refugees fleeing this system to "do school at home".  Unfortunately, because of fear of failure, or measuring up they use this same system they are fleeing, just at home.

This system pulls children from their families, takes more and more time away from family time with each passing year (i.e. sports, extra-curricular activities, etc.)  I encourage you to put FAMILY as a priority in your home school life.  In my observation I see many who are "running to and fro" taking their children to every activity possible and not instilling in them family life, family closeness and family routines because, well, quite frankly, they are never home.  How is it that homeschoolers are home so seldom?  We are losing the home in "homeschooling" and that is very sad.

From the book, "Children lose when parents don't have a clear vision for what they are really trying to accomplish.  It's simply easier to "bring home the school" along with the child than to ask God what this is all about"

When I first began this journey, I used prepackaged curriculum (read TEXTBOOKS) and tested and did like school systems that I had witnessed.  I was afraid of failure, of being behind, of not measuring up.  We need to ask ourselves who set those guidelines?  What kind of people are they?  Who decided they were so smart?  The truth is we need to use the word of God as our measure, not the secular government system that was designed to educate masses of people simultaneously.

As I began to deviate from this traditional system (I did it in baby steps), I began to realize what a joy it was just to be with my children.  To do routine things together.  To help develop their natural curiosity and to be able to freely enjoy finding a bug and reading about it, reading a fun book on a topic we cared about, reading real books and doing things in context of real life.  While using a packaged curricula I was so busy trying to accomplish it all (and failing miserably) that I wondered how people had time for fun books or nature walks?  

Chapter 18 of I Saw the Angel in the Marble talks about homeschool burnout.  We have to guard against people who steal our time and energy, events that steal our time and energy and beliefs that steal our time and energy.  If you believe you have to measure up to an academic system that has proven to be a failure you will be worn out and unhappy.  If you spend too much time running from this event to that event I think at least you will miss out on the simple, wonderful time that you could be experiencing everyday joys watching your children and the wonder and curiosity they have about life.  Busyness has become a plague in our culture and we have to be careful that we don't wear it as a badge of honor. Truthfully, busyness is a choice.  We need to prioritize what is really important for our families.  Ask yourself what is truly important? God and our relationship with him, our relationships with our family, church and others and the skills needed for these.  Then comes life skills.  Then academics and sports and extracurricular comes somewhere way down the line.

I encourage you to put the "HOME" back in "HOMEschooling"

(Read part 1 of this article here)


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