We're asked about ‘how we homeschool' often. I've enlisted the help of my wonderful husband, Stuart, to help create a new series of blog posts based around the philosophy and practicality of our home education to share with you what we've learned, what we do, and how we function as a homeschool family.
It’s with a little fear and trepidation that I attempt again to type out and put out “there” my thoughts on homeschooling.
Education or schooling seem to be one of those topics that brings it out in people. And in a world that seems to be able to hotly divide over most anything, I’m not too interested in throwing more fuel on the fire. I am also a little uncomfortable stepping outside my immediate local circle of people (I know, ironic right).
There are a few maxims that have come to help guide me and direct my thinking as I navigate life and its complexities. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” is one of those. I’m not an expert in education, and there are others that have thought longer and deeper about it.
So, who am I to pretend to add much to the conversation? And why would anyone care what I think anyway? And I’m fairly convinced that, other than my wife, nobody does. And that’s probably how it should be. I’m very comfortable in the place where nobody cares what I think, where I can just put my head down and take care of my own business (I’m the youngest of four; I did more watching than talking).
But some of my biggest encouragements in homeschooling have been through those who were willing to “put it out there”. Perhaps there are those out there, who frequent these blog pages, who would benefit from the thoughts and encouragement intended to come from here.
Even if you may differ, perhaps drastically, with some of what is said, perhaps we will find we are more like-hearted even if not like-minded. And that can be a good thing. You don’t have to “approve in order to accept.” That would put us in sad, boring little bubbles.
Another maxim I try to let guide me is “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” I recently came across someone's adaptation of that, “In essentials gravity, in non-essentials levity, in all things charity.” My pastor often reminds us to “marry your principles, not your methods.” All this to say, I think there is a way to address a topic that can be volatile (like education), but in a way that brings more light than heat.
But that takes a certain disposition, a like-heartedness, that is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder on essentials even while it may look as though we are doing two different things. This calls for a careful distinction between the principle and the practical. To be sure the two are connected. But without the proper principles, the practical is serving no particular end.
It does no good to make beautiful stained glass windows for a house with a crumbling foundation. I think it is often very easy to get caught up in the practical, because, like the stained glass window, it is easiest to see. But, unlike the foundation, it’s not structural and can come in many different beautiful shapes, sizes, and colors.
I do think, along with most of us, the education of our kids is one of those areas that should be taken very seriously (probably one of those areas most of us are unified on); so it has taken a place of priority in our home. And the decisions we've made regarding it haven’t been made lightly even if they are different than the ones others have made. But what I hope to do is bring some light to those who are looking for it.
In the past I have written some thoughts about homeschooling just as I have worked through them in no particular order. I hope to do something a little different with these post. I hope to tell more of a story, a personal narrative that helps make sense of how we got where we are today.
As I think about where we are today with our kids and homeschooling, I am more aware of how my particular experiences have shaped my thinking and what we do. I think that is important to reflect on. So, I’ll try to tell that story.
To wrap this initial post up, let me just say that I am under no pretense of self-importance. One of the backdoor risks of the interweb world is gaining a false sense of importance. There is nothing particularly courageous about writing a blog post from the comfort of my couch behind the safety of my screen. The real action happens out there, in your homes, with your spouse, your kids, your friends and community that can physically sit across from you and talk into the night.
That is where the real risk is, and that’s where the real payout is. So, be encouraged to cultivate your homes and community. TTFN.