Our family views home education a little different from most folks. We didn’t come to these beliefs over night, but after much studying of the scripture, prayer, and research. Just like so many facets of our nation, the education system in our country is inadequate and broken. from the beginning of our home educating journey we knew we didn’t want to conform to the world’s ways just because that’s the way its always been done. That is why we choose to take education beyond the typical classroom and utilize something I like to call Unschooling with Purpose.
Recently, I saw on Facebook where parent after parent was plastering their children’s report cards for everyone to see. I’m sorry, but I just cringe at the thought of “grading” children. If a child doesn’t make straight A’s and B’ does that make them any less of a human being, are they not special or worthy of a parent’s praise? I would challenge parents that if their children are NOT making the “grade” than they need to evaluate their personal involvement in their child’s education, how well the teacher teaches the materials, and whether or not your child is being given every opportunity to learn said material through different venues and outlets. Not ALL children learn the same way! I truly believe children want to learn, do well, and succeed but they MUST be given every opportunity to do so. (which isn’t usually found in the realms of sitting at a desk for 8(+) hours a day with 15-30 other students the same age.)
I don’t grade or test my children. I am INTIMATELY involved with each one of my children’s education. I know whether or not my children grasp the concepts taught without grading them. We do not move on to new subject matter until I am convinced they fully grasp the content. The few textbooks we use are simply used as a springboard. We ONLY use them as a GUIDE to keep me aware of topics I feel are beneficial for my children to learn. And we don’t do every problem or even every lesson. Learning should not be tarnished by requiring children to learn topics so they can pass a test.
I really don’t understand why homeschooling families feel the need to recreate the public school system. I am not talking about having a school room, I actually think it’s beneficial to have a designated place to store all the home educating supplies that can be accumulated over the years. What I’m referring to is putting your children in a designated grade, making them do text books (workbooks) all day, completing ‘so many lessons’ in a year, etc. Our family does NOT place our children in a specific ‘grade’. My children begin learning at birth and Lord willing they won’t stop learning until they are called home to heaven. We do lessons year round and every day; every moment we are awake is an opportunity to learn and grow in wisdom and knowledge.
We focus on teaching godly character, inspiring the LOVE of learning, and teaching practical skills that will enable them to be competent capable godly men and women who can adequately manage their own households. I listen to my children’s interests, engaging them in conversations about their hopes, dreams, and desires. I purchase books and materials that will encourage them in their God-given passions. We involve our children in our daily lives, not giving them restrictions on what they can learn and do because of age. Given the opportunity children can learn to do most anything. We allow our children the freedom to be creative and use their minds. We limit their ‘technology’ time, trading it for a more constructive activity.
Learning shouldn’t be separate from our every day lives, but an extension of every moment we get to experience. The gift of learning should never be governed or restricted by anyone. Yes, there are certain topics that are important to learn, but they should never be force-fed for the sake of that’s what someone thinks should be learned at a specific age. Our time on this great earth is numbered and it is our sincere desire for our children to experience all that God has for them to the fullest. We’ve come to the conclusion that this can only be accomplished by breaking the bonds that come from the typical classroom environment.
I have truly been in awe as I’ve watched my children grow in wisdom and knowledge. We’ve given them the freedom to learn at their own pace. We’ve brought them along side of us as we’ve worked and learned new skills. But, most importantly they’ve been given the privilege to learn in a safe, non-hostile environment where the only expectations they have is to do their very best unto the Lord.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:23 (KJV)
As a parent I believe it is our duty to give our children every opportunity to grow in wisdom and knowledge. For our family, we knew that would be impossible if our children attended school outside of our home. We will not support a broken educational systems that ‘graduates’ record numbers of children each year who can barely read or do basic math; by placing our children in those programs. Praise the Lord we still live in a country where we have the freedom to home educate.
It is an honor to be used by the Lord to lead my children through their academic journey. Just today, my oldest son said he loved to learn and hoped to learn as many things as possible. Once a child develops a heart for learning and realizes they can learn anything, there is no stopping them! Education does not have to be bound to a classroom, Unschooling with Purpose enables our family to experience the true joy home education.