I think a common theme among those who home educate is that we want to allow our children to be children. We want them to have a 'real childhood', not to feel the pressures of society, not to lose their enthusiasm and excitement for life, not to quash their imagination. My own childhood was less than ideal in several ways, and I hope and pray that my children have a different experience.
I was slightly taken aback the other day when a relative criticised me for not allowing my children to be children. My three year old had just described how you catch, slaughter and prepare a duck for the oven. I think it was the detail about the oesophagus and liver that was taken objection to. 'There is enough time in the future to learn about anatomy'. Yes, but you should have seen his face light up as he described the snail that was trapped in the oesophagus, or the one in the gizzard. We did not force our boys to learn dry anatomical facts to regale visitors with. Instead, we simply included them in our daily activities, which on the occasion referred to, involved catching, slaughtering and cooking a duck (which had been aptly christened Christmas Dinner some weeks prior).
In contrast, consider this article from the BBC website, describing how many parents consider that childhood is over by the age of 12. Pressures include the need to conform, to fit in, to have a particular appearance, to have certain possessions - yes, exactly the kind of childhood that this relative of mine would much prefer over what we are trying to offer because it is 'normal'. Fitting in, being normal, that is all that seems to matter, even if the person is destroyed in the process.
What can I conclude? I suppose simply that there will always be diametrically opposed views. To perhaps paraphrase the final words of Joshua, 'Choose for yourselves today who you will serve. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord' - and that will involve all the outworkings that shape our choices in family life and education.
- 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.