Day one is over. School is officially in session. That means in our home that pencils and minds alike are sharp and ready to be used. The computers and text books are out. Our goals are listed along with a long list of books to read this year. With day one behind us I’m looking forward to a great year with my children.
Actually, to tell the truth, we’ve “done school” all summer. What I mean is that part of my goal in teaching my children at home is that I create in them a love for learning along with a mindset that we always pursue knowledge. I don’t want my children to think that “school” takes place from 8 to 3 or from Monday to Friday or from August to May or from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The word school really is unsuitable. I prefer education. I want my children to learn every day. I want those who love them best to be their teachers. I want the world to be their schoolroom. I want life to be their homework. I want the Bible to be the preeminent textbook. I want their classmates to be from babies to adults. I don’t want to fill their minds with useless information. I want to create in them a desire to learn all they can for God’s glory. I want them to excel in reading classics, to chase after truth in science, to discover the world through history (His – God’s Story), to read and follow after great men and women. I want them to use their writing skills to change the world. I think Williams Butler Yeats said it best when he said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That is what I want to do – light a fire that burns their entire life. My prayer is that their education never ceases but that they continue throughout all their lives on this pursuit of truth and knowledge.
Lofty goal? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com) has an article this morning (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090927/ap_on_re_us/us_more_school) about the President wanting longer school days and a longer school year, curtailing summer vacation. “Challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom”, he said earlier this year. Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe. Really? I will not argue that American children are behind in academics when compared to children around the world. But I draw the line there. The last thing children need today is more time away from their families. Already, many children are being trained and indoctrinated by the world system for 7-8 hours, 5 days a week. When they do get home they are overwhelmed with activities, sports and homework. Several years ago a friend called asking for suggestions with her boy. She was having trouble keeping him motivated in doing his homework. I asked her how much time he on average spent doing homework each evening. She said he gets home at 4 p.m. and does homework until dinner time and then sometimes 1 to 2 hours after dinner each night. The child at the time was in 3rd grade. My comment was simply, “If I had just spent 8 hours “learning” and then had to come home and do another 3 to 4 hours of homework, I probably wouldn’t be motivated either.”
I realize that it has become common practice to hand your child over to the government from an early age, but is this really what we need? Psalm One gives a beautiful comparison between the blessed man and the wicked man.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Notice that the blessed man does not walk in the counsel of (take advise or learn from) the ungodly. Nor, standeth in the way of (abides with) the sinners. Nor, sitteth in the seat of (continually dwells with) the scornful (those who scoff at or mock). Dr. Voddie Baucham, in Family Driven Faith says, “Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as amoral education. All education teaches and shapes morality. It is impossible to separate one’s view of God, man, truth, knowledge, and ethics from the educational process. Every day that our children sit behind a desk, they are either being taught to know, love, and obey God or they are being taught to love and obey someone or something that has usurped God’s proper role.” He goes on to say, “Let me be clear – I applaud men and women who God has called to teach in government schools. These people are front-line warriors, and they need to be right where they are. However, there is a big difference between sending fully trained disciples into enemy territory and sending recruits to our enemy’s training camp. If we do the latter, we shouldn’t be surprised when they come home wearing the enemy’s uniform and charging the hill of our home while waving an enemy flag.”
As the summer flew by we knew that our journey in knowledge would continue as we picked the books back up. We often remind our children that one should never stop learning, however during the summer months our family takes a more informal approach to academics. But this week began our official “school time”. With great expectations I woke Monday but by the end of the day all I could do was shake my head. The day did not go as planned. There was fussing, disobeying and yes, even screaming. And the children didn’t do so well either. As I pondered the first day back at school and searched my heart for the answer to why the day did not go well, the Lord spoke to my conscience. I already knew the answer for conscience means with (con) knowledge (science), making my conclusions all the more painful. It was as if the Lord asked, “By what standards are you setting up for your children? Are your goals based on the world or do you have a Biblical standard for these children I have given you? Are you concerned with only the outcome or is it the process of learning that you care about? Are you teaching your children so that they will get the best education or is there a higher calling of teaching your children – for My Glory?” In truth there is such a contrast in each approach. Therefore it is important to reevaluate our reasoning for home education each year. While my husband is constant in his goals for this family I must admit that I am prone to wander off the path at times. I believe that is why God in all His wisdom allows me a day like Monday. He allows me to slip off the path of excellence, fall down on the rocky road of this world, and then come running back to His marvelous plan for my life. So, as I nursed my bruises from the day before I took on a whole new approach to learning and teaching on Tuesday. Whether we were reading the Word of God as a family, practicing cursive handwriting, or studying the 2nd law of Thermodynamics our focus was upon doing all things for the Glory of God. Would you believe that the contrast was as stark as night and day?