Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Intentional Education

When my oldest child was just three years old, my husband asked me if I would consider home schooling her. Since my only exposure to home schooling up to that point was a dear friend who had transformed her dining room into a one room school house, complete with an American Flag hanging from the wall and pull-down maps hung from the ceiling, I laughed at my husband and began the arduous process of looking for a  pre-school for my young, impressionable daughter before she turned four and all the good spots were gone.

This, dear daughter, is not the way to go about making a good decision about how best to educate your children. Thankfully, the Lord intervened in my heart and put godly, wise women in my path to help me make a more informed decision. This, I think is the most important thing, praying and seeking the Lord and godly wisdom.
"Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors, they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22)

So many people in my life in those early years were completely taken aback by our decision to keep our children out of an institutional school setting and educate them in our home. Many of them freely admitted that it was just what you did, put your children in the public school. What I slowly came to realize was that many of them had not given this much thought. I want to encourage you to consider that God may be calling you to a different decision, to a narrower path, to a path that may not be as easy but will ultimately be one of the most rewarding things you've ever done. Home schooling is not for everyone. But if it is for you, it will be one of the most rewarding things you've ever done.

And, I would also like to point out that it isn't necessary to recreate a school room in your home. Once I discovered that I could fashion my home school in a way that best fit our family, I found myself getting excited about doing so. I also read "Better Late than Early" by Raymond and Dorothy Moore and became convinced that young children belonged at home with their parents and siblings in those early years. Here they would have the opportunity to develop their identities apart from their peers, continue to bond with their family of origin and find out who they were as part of that family. And they would have plenty of time to play, which is a benchmark of childhood. In their book, Better Late than Early, Raymond and Dorothy Moore talk about the importance of play as an overall part of the learning process for young children. They also point out numerous studies showing that young children who learn to read as late as age 9 catch up to their same-age peers within a few short months of those who learned to read as early as 4 years of age.

As I read wonderful books with my children when they were small and then watched them go outside to play and act out what they had learned, it became so apparent that this was how they were internalizing what they had heard. They didn't need tests and worksheets, they needed to run, play and act out what they'd learned.

Of course, as they got older, this type of play became less and less, but the benefits of home schooling continued and we just kept going until they graduated high school.

The bottom line, dear daughter, is that you have options. I pray that you will not just follow the crowd, but make a prayerful, intentional decision about what is best for your family and what God is calling you to. If you do these things, you will indeed be blessed.


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