Friday, September 24, 2010

Healthy, Simple, Productive, Living Homeschooling

Your experience in pursuing and learning about what you love is a perfect example of what healthy, simple, productive, living homsechooling should look like. That is the heart of healthy homeschooling. Just the way you felt the desire to do it, took action, provided what was needed, followed directions, and became "more" than you were before......that is exactly what all people, especially kids, need to do, and it is the real definition of education.....NOT the canned stuff in the schools. 

*****(Here I will note that although I think homsechooling is better for many, I do realize there are lots of people who can't homeschool, or prefer public or private schools, and that is fine.  Unless you are lead differently, stay in the place where God has you.  :)  These principles and ideas will enable kids in any situation to really take off and fly!!)*****

We need to learn to trust God for what He has put into our hearts to pursue and learn. He has a plan, and so of course He has sown the all the seeds we will ever need into our hearts for that plan to come to fruition. These seeds are in the form of interests, bents, passions, desires, abilities and talents. We just need to listen to Him by seeking Him out, and He will reveal what is in our hearts to us so we can water, weed and tend them....layer by layer and season by season. Before we know it, we are becoming the unique individuals He means for us to be! And all without ever worrying about what the public schools are doing, or what anyone else is doing, or about the dreaded possible "gaps" (e.g., Oh no!  What if they miss out on something!). Common sense says we will need certain basics, but learning/doing those won't take more than an hour or so each morning for elementary age kids. The rest of their day should be free for them to pursue what they are interested in, and love!  (Older kids may need more academics or may not, depending on what their interests are.)

We did this in our home in many ways. Of course I had a rule that they had to be actively pursuing/learning something (except for breaks/lunches) during the school day. Can't just sit there and polish your nails!! Then, whatever they found that they were interested in, I provided everything I could for them to pursue it. If their interests changed, that was fine, and they did change many times.....but certain things really began to stand out as consistent interests, and we went with them wholeheartedly. They gained some expertise at a very young age, at several things. They began to see what some of their life-purpose might be, sort of like watching a muddy picture clear up, over the months and years of their homeschooling, as things that are not really relevant to their lives sink to the bottom. For both of my older girls, they knew by the time they were young teens what they wanted to "be" when they grew up, and in fact, they were already "being" it!! For my 15 year old son, it is not taking shape as fast, but a real deep interest in science is developing, along with an interest in running his own business. Sonnet, who is just 8, is already very deeply involved in music and dance, but more "mud" will need to clear away of course.

Another comparison might be watching a sculptor expose the lovely statue inside of a block of marble!! Whatever is "not" the statue is simply chipped away!! What the statue "is" is what is revealed! Yes, God could just instantly do all this for us, but He wants us to enjoy the process, and He teaches us many things along the way that can only be learned through this hard work. We must work out what He has put in.

This whole process is extremely retarded, if not downright killed in the public schools. It is often choked with superfluous, burdensome things, and busy-work, much of which is imposed on teachers by red-tape requirements that all but guarantee that any creative process or real learning is smothered.  The dread disease of boredom sets in, with accompanying feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless, as the mountain of  "school work" is faced by both teachers and students. 

It is also choked by the social pressures to conform to what/who is currently popular and to fit in. The social life of the average public schooler is often the only thing that matters to them, and it is just as often not a healthy social life. I do know that there are some excellent public shool teachers out there who give themselves sacrificially to really love and help their students, and in those classes, much real learning takes place. My Mom was one of them. But the "system" is all wrong, and is getting worse, not better. It's like trying to chip away at your statue with a butter knife and a thousand monkeys crawling all over it all the time! Any real success there is had in spite of the public school system, not because of it.

Yet this process (of discovering who you really are/are meant to be) is the very thing kids are supposed to be getting through their public school "education".

Homeschooling won't be any better if all we do is imitate the public schools. The system needs to be trashed, and we need to go to God to realize what education should look like. It is so simple. All we need to do is follow His principles!! These are principles for life, not just learning.   I'll do that in the next homeschooling post.