Friday, May 1, 2015

Education - what am I really after?

As we approach our first official homeschool year I've been doing a lot of reflecting about this mighty task we've decided to undertake.  Homeschooling I know is not for the faint of heart.  It will not be a cake walk, but I do have faith that it will be one of the most rewarding things I'll ever do in my life.

Part of these thoughts are an attempt for me to, when times are tough and burnout is on the cusp, look back on and remind myself of why I've made this decision to educate my children at home.  I don't want to forget the big picture, the ultimate purpose of this venture, what I'm really striving for.

So what am I striving for?  What is the ultimate purpose?  When it comes down to it I don't think the purpose underneath it all is to provide my children with a good education.  That's not really it - to make my kids smart...whatever that means :)

Don't get me wrong - the building up of the intellect is an important part of life.  It's not something to be taken lightly because that's part of what makes us human - our God-given ability to learn and grow our minds and reason and think.  So providing a solid education is important, just not the most important.

What else makes us human?  God expects us to grow, but not just grow our intellect.  He expects us to be transformed.  We were made in His image - our children were made in His image - and we have the God-given ability to reflect His nature, to grow into Him and His likeness.

To do that we must grow; flourish; mature - more than our intellect but our whole, spiritual selves.  And one of these days our children will grow up and leave our homes and it will be up to them to seek the righteousness of God and allow Him to transform them.  But right now, God has given us, the parents, that responsibility.

Right now (well, at least in my case) our children are too young to learn to seek and listen and obey God.  They're too young to really understand.  I mean, think about how long it takes us to scratch the surface of understanding!  It's a lifelong journey.

And it starts with us - the parents.  God has given us the responsibility - the privilege - of raising up our children in the way they should go so that they never depart from it.

My task, my ultimate purpose in educating my children and raising them up, is to teach them to pursue wisdom, to pursue truth, to pursue beauty in this beautiful world that God has given us.  To become virtuous beings.  To seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, with faith, knowing that He will give us everything we need.  To help guide these precious beings into ones who will seek the Lord and love Him with all their mind, body, and soul.  (I must remember, though, that God is ultimately in charge of the results.)

And you know what?  I'm convinced that a government-run education program is not interested in those things.  They are not interested in our children pursuing wisdom, truth, beauty.  They are not interested in our children become virtuous.  They are not interested in producing adults who seek God and His kingdom and righteousness.  They are not interested in molding and teaching these children to love the Lord.  That's not what they're after.

I'm not saying that these things can't be taught to our children without homeschooling - although I will venture to say that I think the world in general would be a better place if more and more parents did decide to homeschool their children and for the right reasons.  But I understand that not everyone can and/or will homeschool.  Everyone has a right to make their own decisions and I am not meaning to imply that I'm doing it the right way and everyone else isn't.

Just because I've chosen to homeschool doesn't mean I'm better than anyone else or that my children will turn out better than a public schooled kid.  There are plenty of Godly men and women in this world who went to public school.  But I do think we all need to remember what it's really all about. And, I do think our decision to homeschool will make it easier to teach our children how to navigate this life with God at their center.  Honestly.  Because my children won't be spending more than half of their days in a building ran by the government, getting an education dictated by said government, who, as I mentioned, does not care about what I'm really after.

They will be at home, with me, with their siblings, with so much time and opportunity to love each other and learn with each other and grow with each other.  They will be at home with their family, the unit that should have the most influence on their well-being.  Yes, I may sound idealistic, but there has to be some idealism.  Otherwise, what's the point?

Like I said, it won't be easy.  Nothing truly worthwhile is.  But this is my task, my calling, my privilege, as a Christian parent - to give my all in raising up my children.  To teach them what's truly important through loving and serving them, and through the beauty in the world - which includes good books and mathematics and science and history and art and music.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

No comments:

Post a Comment