What I Want Homeschooling To Be For Our Children


When I am asked why we are going to homeschool, I sometimes don't know what to say. There really just are so many reasons. And as a Christian family, there are elements that not everyone will understand, so I often don't talk about that part, even though our faith is ultimately our tiller, mast, and anchor of our life. 

As we sit on the threshold of a wonderful and adventurous life, I have been reading and filling my mind with the wisdom of mother's gone before me - both Christian and secular - feeding and cultivating the pasture of information and thoughts as a new homeschooling mother. The Lord has been gently guiding me to wonderful resources that have been laying such beautiful and noble ideals for our family life, helping me sift through chaff, narrowing down my hopes and dreams for our two wee children.

Aside from a living relationship with Jesus Christ, there are two desires I have for our children during our homeschooling years.

A Beautiful Childhood

I was blessed to have a pretty wonderful childhood, made more so when my family moved to a harbour-bay where my brother and I spent much of our time roaming fields, climbing hills and valleys, riding horses, slowly searching our way through rock pools, damming streams, and if the weather was too cold, writing stories, reading books, and making forts inside.

We cannot move to the countryside (oh, how I wish we could!), but I still want that freedom for our children. The country school we went to was small and was not like "school" at all. It was very childhood and learning conducive. Our children would not get that same experience in the city schools available to us. 

I don't want commuting, long hours, homework, and fractured living for them. I want them to have the time for slow mornings, reading out on the grass, experimenting with Mum around the kitchen table, doing any book work at their own pace, having days when - if we're all a bit flah and unmotivated - we can just go down to the park, read aloud on a blanket, and let the kids be kids.

I don't want stress, or bullies, or insecurity to darken the doorsteps of my children's hearts. Life will throw that at them plenty without us introducing it early on unnecessarily. Time with us for as long as they need it - to grow ready, equipped, roots well-established - will prepare them for time in the "real world".

Lastly, I don't want the idea of "coolness" to permeate their thoughts, spoiling innocent pleasures to satisfy child folly. If my daughter is still playing with dolls at twelve (like I was), having no idea that other girls would think that is babyish, then that is beautiful to me. If my son can build forts and make castles and fight dragons at twelve, instead of hanging round the mall with a smart phone, then he is living a beautiful childhood. Why would I want the alternative for them?

To Love Learning

There were very few times in my schooling years when I felt that I really loved going to school to learn. Most of the time I went to be with friends and because I had to. My two favourite seasons of school were my two years at the small country school and my final two years of high school (when I had transferred myself to a college-like school where I only had to do subjects I loved).

I don't believe that children should be forced to learn things that don't inspire or ignite a drive in them to know more. Certainly there are things that children need to have a grasp of - reading and numeracy - but the goal to "learn" so as to pass a test is not, to me, true education.

True education is when the natural curiosity in a child's heart - that I believe God put there for this very reason - is sparked, encouraged, fed, and nourished so they want to keep on growing. I want my children to want to know. I want them to always have the million of questions they have about everything and not have it stifled out of them because it's time (in the day and on the curriculum) to learn about photosynthesis (to pass the end of term test).

I also don't want them to feel like they are not enough if they are not skilled in a certain area. Math and I have never, ever been good friends and, oh, how I felt like such a loser when - no matter how many hours I worked to understand - I always failed the test. Always. My "try your best is all that matters" never mattered in the end, because my best never crossed the line.

But writing and creating and reading and living history? God wrote a passion for them in my soul from the beginning. And I know He has done that in our children for their good and His glory. I will help our children learn - at their pace and in their style - the things that are necessary for day-to-day life and that create the foundation stones for learning, but I won't ever make them feel like success in life depends on them continuing on in something that they clearly aren't created to thrive in. Nothing stifles the love of learning than force, coercion, and fear.

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I don't know how long we will have our children at home with us. Our current plan is for all of primary school and intermediate (elementary and middle school). But we will follow God's plan for us - it could be less, it could be more. Whatever it is, it is such a privilege. I feel so humbled that God lay this not-the-ordinary way on our hearts and has guided us so graciously. 

I'm thankful for the time we have with these precious ones at home with us and the opportunity to be a part of the beginning of their wonderful journey of life. I pray that one day - even though it won't be perfect and I will make mistakes - that both our kids will look back and see what homeschooling gave them, and they will know what our hearts were for them in these important, formative years.

If you are homeschooling or will be, what are your hopes for your children? What do you want them to see when they look back on their homeschooling years?

5 comments:

  1. I hope for discipline and joy, for daily rhythms of family and learning. I hope she will have God at the center of childhood and have the best education I can offer.

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    1. Discipline and joy - beautiful. Your daughter is blessed!

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  2. God bless your decision. I homeschool four boys, ages 8-17. It's tough but worth it. Enjoy the time with them. They grow fast.

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    1. Thank you so much, Heather! That means a lot x

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