Sunday, September 6, 2009

A home education...

Do you have kids? If so, you undoubtedly desire for them to be smart, confident, disciplined, kind, respectful, obedient, unselfish, and blessed. I desire all of these things and more for my children. This is why I am staying home with them. This is why I take my kids to the grocery store with me and teach them how to pick a good ripe peach, the smells that the fruit gives, the colors of the vegetables. This is why I let them make a mess in the kitchen so that they can learn to bake a cake and measure ingredients. It is why we sing songs in the car, read before bed and count things throughout the day. Being well educated, in my opinion, is not about textbooks, how early you start school, or even whether or not you go off to college. To educate children well begins with giving them a desire to learn.

I am in the beginning stages of educating my children and I am beginning to realize what a huge task I have on my shoulders and at the same time what treasures I have in my hands and how vulnerable they are. To send my children off to childcare or preschool isn't even a question. Why would I send my children off to learn basics that I can teach? Why let other kids habits rub off on my vulnerable little girl that is soaking things up like a sponge? Why let other men and women, who don't know my child like I know my child, try to teach and train them? Not only can they not prevent accidental or purposeful disagreeable behavior, but they also can't train my child the way I see fit to have her behave in a kind, unselfish, polite way. And then, once the basics are taught and my child behaves, then what? Do I want to send them to school to spend time with one teacher and 25 kids? Do I want my child to face peer pressure prematurely? No. I want to raise my children to be grounded. To stand for what they believe and at what point they are ready for this will probably vary from child to child, some might not be ready to face peers and decisions on their own until they are 18 while others might be ready at the age of 14. Some may say, "you are preventing you're child from being used by God." Or, "they're going to be socially awkward". With this, I would have to disagree. My job, as a parent, is to teach, train and protect my children. I do wish for my children to socialize. I do want my kids to have friends and have opportunities to bless this world and those around them. I do want my children to be witnesses of Christ. But is a schoolroom or high-school hall the most effective and best model? In my opinion, the answer to that is no. Stephen and I hope to always be welcoming people into our home, those who love Christ and those who do not. I never want to shelter my kids to the point that they are socially awkward. We hope to entertain, serve our community and share God's love as a family. Under our guidance, our children will get to communicate and spend time with other children, of all ages and stages. Yes. I have decided that the best place for a child is in the home.

If the best place for a child is in the home, how do I ensure that she is properly educated? After all, I didn't even go to college! I honestly do not think that you have to have a college degree to teach children and inspire them to learn. Education begins first thing in the morning and ends when your child lays down to sleep. It's not a matter of "okay, let's start school now," or "it's time to go to school so you can learn." We count, identify colors, read books, identify letters and most importantly discipline and train in character all day. This is our education. Now as my children get a little older (Pear is only 2 1/2), we will move on to do more things, different things. But the core of their education will remain the same: in the home, throughout the day, in all we do, both work and play! (Kinda corny, huh?)

Why do you have to "do school" for so many hours a day, days a week and months a year? Why is it that we feel we must complete the text book in order to ensure a decent education. Do you think it would be better to read a chapter in a history book full of dates and numbers and facts that the child is really not interested in or would it be better to read through an intriguing book on a historical figure, invention, war, etc. Let's say your child is really intrigued with dinosaurs, science inventions, wars, cowboys, whatever it may be, captivate him through that interest. Make learning fun and something that isn't just a bore. Play games that help with times tables, State capitals and spelling. Have your kids dress up and act out a historical moment. There are so many creative outlets for teaching and learning. I am so excited to be a part of my children's education. Not just a part that helps with homework and listens to them talk about their day. I am going to inspire, be creative, have fun with and BE a part of their day.

This all sounds good and it's easier said than done. I have no doubts that there will be many days that I will want to throw in the towel. I'm sure there will be times when I feel my children are lacking in one way or another on the education front. However, I don't think that I will ever regret it once it's all said and done. I will create memories, build character, and inspire my children to learn, more than would ever be possible if I sent them to school.

I was home-schooled. I was slightly stereotypical. There were days that we didn't "do school". There were weeks that I should have devoted more time and energy into learning. I graduated at the age of 17. What this means is that I completed enough "school" to take a test and obtain a high school diploma or rather the GED which is equivalent. I have never stopped learning though as my curiosity about life, history, science, health, English, and more (basically everything except for math) has been spiked because I was encouraged and inspired to learn. My parents taught me that I can figure out, learn and do just about anything I put my mind to. I hope to inspire and encourage my children even more and hopefully, the tradition will follow from generation to generation.

6 comments:

Larissa Wardrip said...

That's wonderful, Paige! I also plan to homeschool Jack. I'd like to know what he is being taught and control the influences around him. I also hope that in homeschooling he can become a bigger part of the church and learn more and focus more on God and His will not this world and it's will. Not saying that people who go to public school don't care about God's will (I went to public school and I care about God's will more than anything), but I think it is easier and I want to help Jack love God in anyway that I can.

You are such a great mother to those girls and I know you will be rewarded for it! Thanks, also, for the encouragement!

Disney said...

I have to admit, it feels really nice to read someone's opinion on home schooling that correlates with mine! From talking to many other mothers who disagree, the two most common reasons that they have for not choosing to home school are worries about their children's social skills, and not having any time to themselves without their children during the day. Two of the least important concerns in my opinion. I'm so glad that we're blessed with the ability to educate our children at home. I hope we always have that!

Jeff Timberwolf said...

Thanks Paige for bringing up the debatable topics. I appreciate it and you do it with such grace. I really can't say that we are going to go the homeschooling route in all honesty. However, I haven't ruled it out either. I hear both sides of the coin and in the meantime, I am very thankful to stay home with our girls and pray for wisdom as to what works best for our family. Great thoughts to chew on.

kamille

EricaRose said...

You do have some very good points and very good reasons and I'm not going to disagree with you, but being homeschooled can definitely shelter a child and not prepare them for the world out there. It definitely can make everything a lot harder.

EricaRose said...

Only because when you're home all the time it can feel like your in a bubble and when your around everyone in the world...it's like your still in that bubble and you don't undertand anything going on around you, because you never were apart of it. You were protected from it. How is a person suppose to be confident enough to protect themselves and stand up for themselves when they are never out there becoming aware of what goes on?

Paige said...

Larissa- that's terrific! I'm glad that you want to stay home with Jack and be that part of his life.

Disney- I too hope we always have the opportunity to teach our kids from home if we choose to.

Kamille- it is a debatable topic and may not be for everyone. However, I am glad that you haven't thrown it out yet. I know you would be (as you are now) a terrific teacher for your girls. Keep chewing.

Erica- yes. If homeschooling is the route you choose, you as the parent must make sure to create situations and make a point to teach, communicate and show your kids the world around them. See my next post...