It’s not often that I write about education. As a public schools teacher with almost two decades of experience I really could have more to say. But maybe I’m saving it all for that “tell-all,” “truth is stranger than fiction,” “whistle-blowing” book on the world of exceptional education. Seriously, friends, it would be one heck of an eye-opener!
Today, however, I am going to share a few thoughts about home-schooling. Our great friend Margie stopped by Maul Hall for an extended lunch yesterday, along with her three children, and we talked extensively about their home-school on the road adventure.
ON THE ROAD: Starting last summer from their home-base in St. Paul, Minnesota, Margie has been taking the children on a series of road trips covering the entire USA in sweeping sections. This month (sensibly) they’re taking the swing south. Not only are the children more than covering their core curriculum, they’re taking in geography, history, literature, and science exactly where, and as, it happens.
One of Margie’s assignments is a series of person-to-person interviews. So yesterday, around the dining room table, Rebekah and I were grilled extensively by Amy (5th grade), Olivia (7th) and Scott (8th). The students asked thoughtful, intelligent, questions, and were genuinely interested in what we had to say.
Years ago, when idealism was my sole reference point, I spoke out against private schools and home-schooling. My theory (and it still has traction) was that if intelligent, motivated, caring people pull their kids out of public education, that simply exacerbates whatever was wrong with the schools in the first place.
“Isn’t our calling to be salt and light in the world?” I’d say. “We can’t do that if we pull our kids out and leave the others to founder.”
FLAW: The flaw in my argument – and I’m sure you have already noted it – is that our primary calling as parents is to raise our children, and to launch them, well-equipped, to make a positive difference in this world.
Therefore, what is right for our children is always the best choice. And homeschooling, especially when your mother has enjoyed successful careers as a Navy pilot, a school teacher, and a manager in industry, can often provide exactly what children need at a particular point in their preparation for life.
Because that’s what we’re all about as parents; we’re all about the business of preparing our children for life. Not a carbon-copy of our life; not the life “the state” has planned, or that an assembly line education system has in store for them; but their life, the life God has envisioned from the moment they were conceived as a brilliant and creative idea in the mind of their Creator.
A WORD: So here’s my word for you, Scott, Olivia, and Amy. Are you ready? God first conceived you as a brilliant and creative idea, and then you were launched into this world under the care of your parents, who are now doing everything they can to prepare you to shine in your own, unique, ways.
The whole point of this is so that you can live not only as examples of light and life, but to actually be bright points of light that help show the way for others. One of my favorite writers, Paul, put it this way in a letter to his friends in Philippi.
Among these people you shine like stars in the world, because you hold on to the word of life. (Philippians 2:15-16 CEB)
So thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to following your career as people of light, people who hold on to the word of life, people who shine – DEREK