Posted by: chrisdavis | February 11, 2011

Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children! – Part 8


CHANGING THE EMPHASIS – Part 2

[This is Part 8 of the Article, “Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children!”]

In the previous entry I listed the primary emphases of Institutional Schooling. Considering what I am about to share, it may be helpful to review that list.

Institutional Schooling does what it does out of a belief in what a child is, what a child needs, and what schools do to fill a child’s need.

What a child is: An empty vessel.

What a child needs: To have his or her empty vessel filled with the information necessary to be called “educated” (i.e. graduated).

What Schools do: Fill empty vessels with graduation-ready information. The child then takes a job or goes to college to take a “better” job.

My question to parents is this: “Do you believe children arrive in the world as empty vessels to be filled? Do you believe learning information is the main objective of an education? Do you believe Schools know what they are doing?”

Or, is there another way to perceive what a child is and another way to perceive what a child needs? Is it possible to ask the question, “Is what Schools are doing (and the way they are doing it) good for children? Necessary? Harmful?” Believe it or not, many schools are asking that very question. Here is part of an email I received a few days ago:

“My daughter’s school held meetings last week with the parents. They told us that the way they teach may be hurting the future of our children. They are asking for parent input on re-shaping the education system. They told us they are failing our kids. They told us that they can’t help this generation….”

This parent said her daughter’s public school is considered one of the best in their county!

I urge you to listen to any of Sir Ken Robinson’s messages on YouTube.com. If you do, you will understand why this school is concerned. What surprises me is their honesty! More and more education leaders are willing to admit that the Emperor is naked. Unfortunately, they have missed the real reason schools fail children. I’d like to offer my own perspective which, in turn, will suggest a different emphasis as we raise our children in our homes:

I begin by proposing a different belief in what a child is and, therefore, a different belief in what a child needs.

First, what a child is: I propose that a child does not come into the world as an “empty vessel”. Rather, each child has been created by God who then brings that child into our time-space world and chooses specific adults whom He tasks with raising that child.

Immediately, several problems arise from this premise:

First, although most Christian parents say their child is a gift from God, parents rarely understand that they have been chosen only to parent the child, but are not to consider the child as theirs. The child has a Father who intends to take the child back one day and who expects parents to train the child to look to Him as Father the rest of his or her life. Of course, we hope to always have a relationship with the children who grow up in our homes. But, they are not ours; they are His. This is one reason why, when speaking to my children, I always referred to myself as “Dad”. When I used the word “Father” I was always referring to the One I was training my children to look to more and more as they grew up. Further, I finally came to understand that I needed to keep asking Him what He wanted me to do with this child so I could be on the same page with Him.

One day, when my oldest son was part way through Saxon Math 6/5, he declared (with emphasis), “I hate math!” I was surprised since I knew God didn’t create us to hate learning. Besides, I liked math. There was a problem which I didn’t understand. So I told Seth to put the book aside while I asked his Father what was going on. I asked for a week. I asked for several weeks. I asked for several months. Finally, after a year of Seth doing no math, I gave up, saying to Seth’s Father, “OK, never mind! If You won’t tell me what’s going on, I will assume you don’t care about Seth learning math!” (By now I was not a happy Dad). A few days later, I was visiting a family and mentioned this issue to them. The daughter suggested an Algebra course she loved. I said, “But my son hasn’t even finished 5th grade math!” The girl only repeated that she liked the Algebra course a lot. So, I bought the Algebra course and showed it to Seth. He went through the entire book without ever asking a question, took the final exam, which he aced. Then, he did the same thing with the Geometry course by the same author and aced that final exam, too. Today, years later, I still scratch my head, and wonder what that was all about. Perhaps the lesson was that Someone knows His own kids better than we parents do!

In the next entry, I will answer the question, “OK, if these children aren’t “empty vessels”, what kind of vessels are they?

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Responses

  1. Thanks, Chris, for all the insight. I love the emphasis on” the Father”;that truth alone will keep us in good stead. Now, will you email me the name of that great algebra and geometry curriculum your son loved? Thanks much. We are still hoping to see you in the Land this year 🙂

    • Good question, Landi. Check out Linda’s reply, below…:)

      • I appreciate Linda’s reply but as you wrote in YOUR post, another homeschool person suggested a different curriculum after you had shared about your son’s math dislike. Isn’t it great how the Father uses others to help us along the way???

  2. I keep looking forward to your posts. This one was such a great reminder of who we’re supposed to be looking to for guidance with “His” children. Thank you! And yes, I was curious about the curriculum too (but then that would be putting the emphasis back on the school aspect of HOMEschooling). I figure the Lord will continue to show me which materials to use to teach my boys.

    Blessings!

  3. Landi, I laughed when I read your response. You are too clever for me! OK, here is the info: “Elementary Algebra” & “Geometry” by Harold Jacobs. How’s THAT for giving in to a little manipulations 😉

    • Dear Friend, there is no manipulation here, just the facts 🙂 Thanks for the info and may you continue to keep the keyboard burning with your happy fingertips!!!

      • Of course, I was joking. You would never manipulate me! Why did you want the name of the course, anyway?

  4. On a different note. I just received a DVD copy of your talk at the Arlington Convention last year. I love it. I saw you in person there and I really felt that it would be a blessing to have something to watch to remind me of the fact that homeschooling is not about checking a check list and finishing a race. If it was finishing a race then I guess learning would stop at a predetermined time and that would be it-no more learning allowed.
    Also, just to plug a book–anyone who likes to read your stuff should get a copy of “I Saw the Angel in the Marble.” I have a copy that is highlighted. A friend borrowed it and asked if she could buy it from me–NO WAY.

    • Cindy: thanks for the comments. As I substitute teach in the public school systems I see the huge amount of time these kids are forced to waste. By the way, I have added several chapters to the “Angel” book and have turned it into an audio book. My youngest son is currently editing it so it should be available sometime this spring or summer.


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