Posted by: chrisdavis | February 19, 2011

Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children! – Part 9

Changing the Emphasis – Part 3

[This is Part 9 of the Article, “Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children!”]

In the previous entry, I stated that 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?”

I ended that entry by asking the question, “If children do not enter the world as empty vessels, what kind of vessels are they?”

The idea that children are born as empty vessels is a foolish notion and couldn’t be more harmful, yet this is the prevailing attitude of most adults in the world today (and the main reason Institutional Education is set up the way it is). In truth, children come into the world prepackaged with specific giftings, talents, and callings which we parents must discover as the child grows up in our homes. All we parents need to do is ask the child’s Father/Creator “Who is this you have given me to raise?” and the Father will begin the process of showing the parents whom He has created. Then, the parents begin the process of providing the necessary time and resources that will allow the child to become the person he already is!

This idea has astonishing implications!

I have already mentioned that it takes the child’s entire schooling experience—approximately 12 years, or 15,000 hours—to input all the information Institutional Schooling says a child must know (or, at least, be exposed to) to be considered “educated”. But, while the child is spending all that time learning information, what does he or she not have time to be doing?

Here is an important statistic: It takes approximately 5,000 hours of involvement in a particular endeavor for a person to become proficient at something in which he or she is interested. If you consider allowing your child to spend 10 hours per week (that is, only 2 hours per day, 5 days every week) at something that is of interest to your child, you will have allowed your child to spend about 500 hours in a year on that task. In other words, proficiency will take about 10 years. Proficiency means your child will probably be able to get a job at something he likes to do.

Now, let’s look at this further: If you want your child to become one of the very best at what he likes to do, that will take an additional 5,000 hours, or about 10,000 hours in all. This means the child will either need 20 years at 2 hours per day or 10 years at 4 hours per day.

How easy is it for a child to become the very best at what he loves to do? To say it another way, Is it easier for a child to learn something he loves than to learn something he doesn’t?

What causes a child to love something? One child loves to play the piano. Another loves math. Another loves to dance. Another loves computer languages. Another writes, is artistic, etc, etc. I want to suggest that a child loves something because his or her Father has put that endeavor into the child before birth.

Then, the child comes into the world—not as an empty vessel—but full of what the Father wants him or her to do in life. The parents are tasked with discovering these giftings and callings (they ask the child’s Father), and they then provide the TIME & RESOURCES for the child to become the very best at what he or she loves to do.

Further, I want to suggest that these giftings/callings are given to the child, not primarily for the child’s benefit, but for the benefit of the rest of the world. And, as the child expresses his or her giftings/callings, others are blessed, the child is blessed, and the Father is blessed.

If you believe any of this, would it change what you did with the time you have with your children? Would information be the main course of your child’s daily educational meals?

My middle son once told me of a quote he had seen as a young person. It said, “If I will spend a few years doing what others won’t do, then I can spend the rest of my life doing what others can’t do.” With this in mind, we gave our sons the time and the resources to become proficient and, now, they are becoming world class in what they love. Requiring them to spend those 12 years becoming educated (according to the world’s standards) would have robbed them of both the time and the resources to fulfill what God had placed in them to do with their lives. I only wish we had known this when our daughter was growing up. Fortunately, her Father took over and raised her to be the amazing person she is today.

Each child is gifted according to the will of his or her Father. Each is a “genius” is his or her special way.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid–Albert Einstein
I once read an article that said 85% of 2nd graders considered themselves stupid.
I challenge us all to let our fish swim!


  1. Chris, I think of your postings every day as I watch my 14 year old son through the window. He is obsessed with the unicycle we bought him for Christmas. Many thought it was a silly gift, but, deep down inside I KNEW it was perfect for him. A day does not pass that he doesn’t make a point to tell me that he loves it like he has never loved any possesion or activity. He has already purchased a 5 ft giraff unicycle to feed his obsession. Not even a Michigan winter can stop him. If there is not ice on the streets, he’s riding. He is now thinking, “What kind of act can I put together with this?” Christian comedy?? I remember when he was a few years old I told my Dad that I thought he would be a comedian some day.He thought it was strange that I would make that statement, especially since I have no sense of humor at all. lol. Just something I saw that I could not explain, but, through your teachings, way back then, my eyes were open and I was searching for his giftings, talents… BTW-I had forgotten this ‘prophecy.’ Now as I watch him ride, I just grin,wonder, wait… Thank you, Chris, for keeping us alert to our calling as parents. I have a lot of questions about where this is going and if and how I should nurture it. He has never had an ‘academic’ inclination. I have not known an area to help him build on. I have worried that I would fail him more than my other children. In the last year and a half he started spending all of his time working out, boxing, tae kwon do, MMA, UFC along with his biking(the only joy I had noticed in his life.) What does a Mom do with this? I mean really, build a ‘train him up plan’ around this? But, something about the unicycle pulls it together and makes some sense of it all, (at least to me) for the very first time. 10,000 hours hmmm that’s a lot of hours!!

    • Julie: I laughed when I read about your son because I spent part of a summer at Calloway Gardens in Georgia. I was about to graduate from high school and didn’t know what to do with my life. What I didn’t know was that the Florida State University Circus spent its summers practicing at Calloway Gardens. I had lots of time on my hands and they taught me how to ride a unicycle and even prepared me to be part of their shows which they presented to the campers at the Gardens several times a week. I rode their unicycle all over the place every day and the Circus Director ended up offering me a Circus scholarship to FSU. You might want to check that out for your son. I didn’t take the scholarship, but I love riding a unicycle…

  2. Thank you so much for this and all your other posts. I have learned so much from them. I still have so much to learn but now I definitely have much more knowledge and a great starting point. I will diligently pray for my boys Father to give their daddy and I wisdom to see the gifts and abilities He has put in them, in order to help them fulfill their destiny. Again, THANK YOU!

    • Linda. Thanks for your comment. I know your boys will blossom as you allow their Father’s input come to fruition.

  3. Chris,

    I am glad you are still writing on this much debated topic. I never knew that amoung homeschoolers there could be such a difference between what one family does and what another family does. You can feel guilty about not doing enough, doing too much, not using the “right” curriculum, not testing, testing, having the kids sit at desks, letting the kids sit anywhere, etc.

    You show us that there is not a formula to follow for our kids. They are given abilities that God has placed in them and it is up to us to help them use those abilities for God’s glory and to help them sharpen those abilities. This is very freeing. We don’t have to worry and stress about what everyone else is doing or NOT doing. Our child is not their child.

    • Cindy. I love talking to people about this and seeing them relax. Thanks for the comment…

  4. Chris,

    I have relaxed a lot since this adventure with my son started (7th grade). I am now even doing biology without strictly following the textbook. I do want him to learn about biology (if only to be able to put it on his transcript). The wonderful thing is-biology is everywhere-it is not limited to what the textbook has in it. We can study different things-heck anywhere there is life-it is biology. I don’t know why textbooks put such constrictions on what “should” be learned.

    I had started out with a plan to work through about 85-90% of a biology text. That was getting a little stifling. One interesting thing is this-when my son started with the first chapter, he said, “It was interesting.” But by the second or third-he was not interested very much. I don’t think it was that the material wasn’t interesting. I think it was because it was learning only to answer questions and get to the next chapter. I think textbooks often get in the way of learning. It took me a long time to be able to see that.

    I have been on this journey to change my thinking about learning for about a year and a half. We even did very light schooling for a semester (9th grade) so I could do some thinking. From that point-I waffled between the extremes and felt so lost and confused my head was spinning. Now, I am at a more peaceful point and while I still have requirements-they are not as rigid or as numerous.

    This paradigm shift has been a painful and wonderful process and you were part of it.

    It makes me understand why some people have a hard time choosing Christ when they have grown up under a different belief system. It is hard to let go of things that are wrong when they are so ingrained.

    • Cindy, Thanks for the real testimony. You are SO right. Scope & Sequence-type learning prioritizes *information* that is often too much and too irrelevant to the child.

  5. Chris,
    I have thought for many years that textbooks try to cram too much info in too little time. I always thought that I was wrong in my thinking, until recently when I realized that it is just not me that thinks that way. WHY are they adding MORE information to these books? One homeschool publisher’s high school science books are now two big books. I guess there is so much for these kids to learn that it didn’t fit in one book. This is crazy! Why don’t we let kids learn without the stress of such a crazy schedule?

    • Cindy: I see at least two things that are very damaging about the minutiae that kids are required to put into their minds. One is that they rarely get an overview of any subject and the other is that way too much time is taken from truly important things they need to be doing. How many people have a sense of what history is all about? What were the “Middle Ages” and why was it called that? What is it the middle OF? What IS a Renaissance? And so on and so on…I have never met anyone who could even name a FEW of the 15 historical stages let alone talk intelligently about historical issues. So, why do we waste time with the millions of details? Let’s decide what truly matters and teach our children those things…

  6. Chris,

    I have decided that history is too wide a subject to try and teach it all. I am going to let him concentrate on certain things and go with it. I don’t know much about what you just mentioned and my life is OK. Sure, maybe it would be a little richer if I knew, but there are things I choose to focus on instead of that.

    • You are right. Go with what you feel the Father is telling you. Can’t go wrong there.

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