How can you stick it? All day everyday with the kids at home?? Aaaarrrggghhh!!
Posted in Tough Questions
How can you stick it? All day everyday with the kids at home?? Aaaarrrggghhh!!
We want the thrill of participating in our children’s learning process. All parents remember how much pleasure there is in watching for, coaching, developing and announcing each child’s first smile, first step, first word, first go on a bike, etc., etc. We get that thrill over and over as they learn to read, to write, to master maths, to put a science project together, or to see relationships in history. We also have the added bonus of knowing that they have learned and mastered that particular skill and not simply “experienced” it. The extra added bonus is that we have learned it afresh ourselves.
In fact, we find this home schooling so stimulating we actually get hooked on it. We would rather see the children learn than earn money. But then we see all activities as learning activities, earning money included. We have sought and found ways for the children to help us earn our income: assisting us who are self-employed by doing unpaid chores around the house for us, freeing us up for the paid work; directly helping us in running our home business; developing their own cottage industries, earning their own pocket money; several pairs of eyes and ears are better than one in locating bargains around town. The emphasis in all this is not on teaching as it is in the schools, but on learning. The children will learn virtually automatically when they can accompany and participate to even a small degree in some common everyday activity like pulling the weeds, shopping, changing a tyre, repairing the back fence, banking, posting…..the list, like the tasks to be done, is endless!
But children learn by helping you do the tasks. This is killing two birds with one stone: teaching the kids while doing all those chores and errands at the same time. They not only learn about the myriad mundane tasks that make up a day in the real world, but also come to see the place each task plays in the overall picture. In other words, they form a world-view based on the reality of your life in the home, the community and the market place rather than some Marxist/feminist academic’s spin-doctored theory about reality as he/she sees it from his/her ivory tower. Children learn local geography, economics, maths, time management, manual skills and more just by doing what you do during the day. It may take you longer to get through your list of chores, but because you are trying to look at these tasks through the eyes of your children, you will see these tasks in a totally new perspective. It will revitalise your own “boring” and “routine” day in a way you would never imagine to be possible.
We haven’t found home schooling to be expensive. I mean, even at “free” public schools the parents are continually shelling out for uniforms, books, fees, field trips, etc. “Free” public schools are also very time consuming and stressful for the concerned parent. There are all those delicate relationships with all those teachers and administrators, the other parents at PTA meetings, the tense debates at the school committee meetings, and the continual fund raising activities. And of course there is the transportation here, there and everywhere. Home schooling also takes time, but it is not time spent, it is time invested! And again, maybe as little as two hours a day is formal instruction, the rest is instruction “on the job” as you go about your necessary routine.
I believe the main reason that sympathetic friends do not themselves home school is because they do not want themselves or their children to be different. Sure, they want them to be better than average and distinctive in many ways, but not really different. But we do not want our children to be the same as all the others around, so that’s why we home school. We don’t want ours to be as cheeky, disrespectful, dishonest, disobedient and destructive as so many kids are today. We don’t want our children trained to be pleasure-seeking hedonists. We don’t want our kids to be so group-oriented that they cannot think, reason, evaluate, decide and then personally commit themselves to a course of action without the consent of their peers.
We are doing the best we can, I repeat, the best we know we can do, to maintain religious and civil freedoms in NZ by home schooling our children. The world-wide trend seems to be toward centralisation in government and ecumenicalism in religion. We aim to train up Biblically individualistic, independent thinkers, who are unafraid to shoulder responsibilities, but who are afraid of sin, who will, by God’s grace, evaluate all things by the principles set forth in the Bible. By so doing we will have produced children who will not be so easily pushed around by Big Brother, nor will the world be very successful at intimidating them to conform to its mould. We are not trying to produce anarchists. By training our children to be thoroughly Biblical in thought, word and deed, our children will be thereby effectively restrained from fulfilling their selfish desires and at the same time constrained to do that which is right.
We are doing the best thing possible to help the public, the private and the Christian schools…..providing them with some stiff competition. And I mean stiff. An average home with average access to resources with average parents with no special training are routinely producing children with top academic and social skills, while schools with masses of money and mountains of resources and highly trained and paid professional teachers, counsellors and administrators are having mixed results. Virtually any parent with only a half-measure of concern for excellence in their children’s education can easily raise up a family of superior academic and social accomplishments. Impossible, you say. Only natural, I retort. A home schooling parent is a private tutor. With only two hours of quality one-to-one tuition a day an average parent will certainly accomplish far more than all but the most exceptional teacher, contending with 30-40 mixed ability children in a classroom, can accomplish in a whole week….or longer. Almost every teacher will grant you that. And on top of that, who but you, the parent, is more concerned and motivated toward your children’s success? Who knows and understands your children better than you? You know when they are truly having an off day and when they are just having you on. Who else but you can ensure they get the morals, values and world outlook that you want them to have? I am sure you have heard the old saying, “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” This holds just as true in the realm of education as anywhere else.
It is a shame that the state educationalists are today perceived as the “professionals”, the “experts”, as if they alone held the keys for unlocking the child’s abilities to learn and for unlocking the mysteries of God’s creation that it may be understood. There is an exceedingly strong argument which can demonstrate that humanistically-trained state teachers do more to thwart children’s learning abilities than to unlock them. The fact that these same teachers are bound by law to teach from a secular or God-less perspective guarantees that they will not unlock the mysteries of God’s creation or ever properly understand them. I believe every parent must no longer allow herself to be intimidated, disparaged, patronised or put down by anyone within the state education system.
Instead of belittling her own abilities, I believe every parent must first of all seriously consider teaching her own children at home because in most cases she can do a superior job of it. If that is indeed totally out of the question, parents should then consider the Christian school, giving thanks and praise to God that there are so many dedicated Christian teachers and administrators with the vision for Christian schools.
The state schools are there as a last resort. That was partly why they were established — to provide and ensure a minimum of education to all NZ children. Yet I know of no parents who consciously say they want the minimum education being offered by the state. Parents desire more, much more. Therefore they owe it to themselves to seriously consider the home schooling option.
From Keystone Magazine
March 1998 , Vol. IV No.1
P O Box 9064
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389