About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Some of our reasons for Home Education


Whole books have been written regarding the reasons people choose to home educate, and I don’t intend to replicate these here! For us, some of the reasons (and there will be more!) include:

·         Spiritual. ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up’. Deuteronomy 6:5-7. How can this be achieved if you are not talking, walking and generally spending a lot of time together with your children? Each day is filled with learning opportunities, and there can be nothing greater than finding out more about the Lord our creator and His marvellous works. 

·         Teaching is primarily the responsibility of parents. ‘And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord’. Ephesians 6:4 Many factors in modern society seek us to abdicate that responsibility, although this verse does not specifically refer to all forms of education.

·         Worldview. What values are promoted in mainstream education? What values are important to us as a family? What values to we wish our children to internalise? Is there a conflict between what we seek to instill as a family, and what is happening in schools?

·         Individualisation. Children should be able to progress at the rate that suits them. My husband could not read until he was nine; I was doing GCSE level exams at this age. (We are now working within the same profession). Both of us would have benefitted from a more individual approach. This may be an extreme illustration, but all children would surely benefit from an approach tailored to their strengths and weaknesses, where later on they have a great deal of choice regarding subject matter.

·         Socialisation. Other than in education, when are people so streamlined according to age and possibly ability? Diversity may be ‘taught’ in schools, but in practice, the opposite may be encouraged. Home education allows the development of a range of real relationships in a community, which is more in keeping with ‘real life’. Many studies suggest that rather than impeding, home education enhances social development.

·         Celebration of childhood. Many countries in Scandinavia do not put children into formal education until older (perhaps 7 or 8) and there is no evidence that this impairs their academic development at all. Home education allows a greater freedom for children to be children, free from constraints, pressures and external standards. The benefits of this may be even more marked for boys.

·         Embracing the delight of knowledge. Most three year olds have a thirst for information and a real hunger to learn. Yet I know many six year olds who complain that ‘school is boring’ and seem to have had their desire to learn quenched. Why does this happen? When does this happen? Does it have to happen?

·         Lack of peer pressure. Relates to many of the other categories, but a child should be able to learn, grow, explore and develop without fear of not being ‘cool’ or being ‘geeky’ for developing these passions. 

·         Versatility. Home education allows a range of field trips, which might even include periods of time spent overseas learning different languages and cultures (this is relevant to us as a family, as our professional work has an international flavour). Even simple tasks such as baking can bring in a whole range of educational elements – reading, arithmetic, chemistry, physics, home economics, accounting, maybe even more!

·         Simply, we love to be with, and to teach our children. And yet many in society see that as being strange and a poor use of our time.

I’d be interested to know what has motivated others to explore home education for their children. Please share!

4 comments:

  1. Some great thoughts here, and very similar to what we are thinking.
    One thing which we were reading about was the very existence of state education. Is it the role of the state to educate children? (The following extracts/thoughts are quoted from 'The Cause of Christian Education' by Richard J Edlin). The 'government' as set up by God in the old testament had the role of maintaining justice for God's people and correcting oppression. This role continued into the New Testament. The state's authority is God-given (government is neither autonomous, nor has ultimate authority) but limited (1 Peter 2: 11-25 is about being subject to human institutions, of which only one was Government, others being masters and slaves, wives and husbands etc). It is only part of God's order for society, not the whole. 'The function of the state for maintaining justice necessarily involves it in a limited way in other social institutions like the family or education AS THE UPHOLDER OF JUSTICE, but this doesn't mean that the state has the authority to take them over. Rather, government is charged to maintain a just pattern in society where these other institutions are freed to exercise authority in their own areas in response to the Word of the Lord.'
    So whose responsibility is it? 'The state has not been given the responsibility for education, and it is not even the teacher who primarily will be called to give account at the end time by the Lord for education of children. Rather it's the PARENTS who must answer to God for their exercise of this responsibility. They rightly may enlist the support of others such as the church community (or specialist teachers e.g. musical instruments, sports) to assist them in this task, but they always retain the primary charge and authority for this responsibility.'

    ReplyDelete
  2. 'It is not even the teacher who primarily will be called to give account at the end time by the Lord for education of children.'

    This is something which I find both challenging and exciting, but also at times deeply sobering. What a privilege, but also what a responsibility, not to be taken lightly! Often when I am hesitant to do something which I feel convinced is right, perhaps out of fear of man (I recently posted a reflection about some of this), I imagine myself giving that account of myself before the Lord, and think about how I would explain my choices. That helps me bring perspective and gives me boldness to trust God in decisions which might be 'swimming against the tide'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am not sure if you have come across Voddie Baucham. He is quite a character, and in this brief video clip, he highlights just some of these issues that you raise:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq_tcyPV7Vg&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  4. Regarding your point about childrens' love of learning being stifled at school, I recently found this quote you may find interesting...
    One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year...... It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of enquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe that it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry - especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly. - Albert Einstein

    ReplyDelete