Friday, May 21, 2010

Home Schooling Part 2~ When

For us, home schooling is truly more a way of life than a scheduled activity. No, I would not call us "unschoolers", but the formal education we hope to achieve will merely be an extension of a life of learning. One of the biggest concerns of those criticizing home schooling is that the child will not get an adequate education. Yes, it can happen. I've seen it happen. But I've also seen it happen with public and private school graduates as well. There most certainly is a thing as not enough education. But I believe that there is also such a thing as too much education and not enough learning.

Many parents worry that their children haven't learned enough to go to college. I truly believe that anyone who has learned to learn can succeed anywhere. So how young is too young to start learning?
The early years are so amazing. It breaks my heart how many parents completely miss the amazing advantages of using the very beginnings of their child's life to teach and to train. People tell us all the time,"Wow!Your girls are so smart!". While I would love to believe that we are blessed with naturally brilliant children, I really don't think that is the case. How does Bethany know how to spell her name? Because we say it over and over. "B" "E" "T" "H" "A" "N" "Y". How does Lydia know that worms crawling through the dirt make it better dirt? Because we talk about it as we examine the wiggly worms we find. It's incredibly simple.

Do not fall into the habit of lying to your children. That may seem harsh, but it truly is what often happens to children. The classic example of this is Calvin's dad.

I watched a little girl awhile back who believed that she was a little fairy that her daddy had found under a flower petal. She believed in everything from santa clause, the easter bunny, the tooth fairy and Jesus. Now when she learns the truth about the things she believed to be real, what is going to convince her God is not pretend as well? Now this does not mean that we don't play around with our girls! But they always know that they can get a truthful answer out of us.

Teach your children to ask good questions. I know we all struggle through the "why" phases. It is very draining. But that time is precious to develop a mind that is truly eager to learn. I heard it said once that the only truly "bad question" is one that you don't want an answer for. Over and over our children will ask us a question, but instead of answering we make them give us the answer. Example~ "Mommy, why is it rainy today?", "You tell me Lydia." "Because God made it rain. Because we need rain to make the plants grow.".  Now when Bethany asked David what a reflection was he didn't say,"The return of light, heat, sound etc. after striking a surface." He showed her his water glass then explained how she could see a picture of the fan in his water in very understandable language. Children are sponges! They learn so well and are capable of grasping amazing things.

From before our children can talk we are telling them how much God loves them. As soon as they start talking we start asking over and over and over and over. "Who made your hair?" "Gaaaa! (meaning God)" "Who made the stars?" "Gaaaa!" "Who made this flower?" "Gaaaa!". Why? Because even more than not wanting my children to believe lies, I want them to believe truths! When they look at the beautiful world around them, I don't want them for millisecond to not know in their hearts that it was created by a great, awesome and loving God, who not only created the universe, buts loves them personally.

So when to we start teaching our children? From the very beginning. Don't throw away the precious opportunities you have to be filling their minds with truth. You'll quickly see how they grow hungry for more!

1 comment:

Sarah, aka Beyond All Measure said...

Dear Sweet Grace-

When I heard you speak at the homeschool conference, I HAD to tell you what a blessing your session was to me. You reinforced SO MANY things that I believe!

Specifically, I have NEVER heard anyone else say not to lie to your children.

When my eldest Nate got old enough to start hearing about Santa, it just didn't set right with me. I couldn't have put it to words then but I just didn't want to mislead him. So I told him the truth. I have had so many people act like (some actually say that) I was not allowing him to be a child, taking something that he SHOULD have away.

As a child I had personal experience with this: my grandparents found it enjoyable to tell us "tales" about EVERTHING. At this one radio tower, they said, anyone could get free monkeys!

It didn't take long before I didn't believe ANYTHING they said.

Even now I will tell my husband something. Then pause and think. Then I will say, "you know I don't know whether that is true or not: I heard it from my grandparents."

That is NOT the reputation I want with MY children!

It is so nice to know I am not alone.