Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finding Wisdom in Blogsphere

Tonight I found an article written by Jeannie Fulbright titled Should I Take This Path. The article contains two sections, both of which spoke to me and reminded me of a longing that I often find in my heart.

In A Journey Worth Taking she speaks about how homeschooling allows us to spend significant amounts of time with our children. Because of the sheer contact hours we have with our children, we have a better understanding of them, what makes them tick, what they are thinking, what teachings they need. If our children were away from us for six hours a day at school, this understanding would be much harder to come by, perhaps even impossible. (I'm not saying that parents who chose public or private school don't understand their children, but I do believe that the depth of understanding I'm speaking of would be very difficult to come by without spending, literally, sixteen plus hours a day, every day, with them. It also gives us the necessary time to instill our beliefs and values in our children in such a way that the world's influences won't sway our children so easily. This is the reason many Christians chose to homeschool. It is just too easy for the values taught in school (either through the curricula, the teacher, or the peers) six hours a day to over-ride the parent's values taught a couple hours a day.

Another thing she mentions in this section is how things were in the pre-industrial world. How I long to return to the days where extending families lived together and communities worked side by side for the benefit of everyone in the community. I'm not talking about socialism here but rather grandfathers teaching their sons and grandsons the find art of being a good man and grandmothers passing down her knowledge and wisdom to her daughters and granddaughters. It takes time, a lot of time, to teach the fine art of caring for children, cooking, cleaning the home, being a good wife, being a godly woman, good social skills and manners, and other womanly arts to their daughters. If only my mother and grandmother had taught me these things, my life today would be so much different, better, less stressful, less frustrating, less broken. Life would be so much easier if family still existed in a healthy form and children learned from their elders. Instead, two things in modern life hurt us. One is that we send our children away to learn academics and values from someone else. The other is that dysfunctional families are the norm, rather than the exception, these days. Many of us are left to learn important lessons in life on our own after we reach adulthood. By homeschooling, it is my hope that I can teach my children the lessons that I am still learning so that they have less to learn (the hard way) when they reach adulthood.

The other section of her article, Doing Enough, reminded me not to make the mistake that I've been heading towards for next year. Finding out that my daughter is "gifted" sent me on a course of attempting to fill her time with more and harder academics. I felt that if it only took two hours a day to cover all of our topics, then I must not be doing enough even though two standardized tests prove that she is learning way more than enough. I needed to make the work harder so it would take her a "normal" amount of time to do it and give her more subjects to cover since she was capable. However, I forgot that by doing that, I would probably squash all joy of learning and prevent her from developing her God-given talents. So, I think I'll back off a little. Yes, I'll probably make her work a little harder next year. Yes, I'll probably add a formal subject or two. But no, I won't try to fill six hours a day with bookwork. Rather, I'll leave some time open to allow God to work with her to develop the gifts He has given her.

So, thank you Jeannie, for reminding me why I'm homeschooling and sharing your wisdom with me so that I don't make that big mistake next year.

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Anonymous said...

That was really nice JoAnn : )

Deb said...

As I too look towards next year and begin to make plans, thank you for reminding me that filling his day w/ bookwork is not my goal, nor does it help him find his own path in life - it just teaches him how to be busy.

Hope your trip is so wonderful!