Monday, September 22, 2008

The "why" of education

From my email...

I am a Mother of two, 8yr old daughter and 5yr old son. I am thinking about homeschooling. I don't really know why except that since my son started school, I have not been at peace. He doesn't want to go to school, actually he never has wanted to be away from me. I was a preschool teacher for three years at the preschool he went to (but not his teacher) My daughter has been a straight A student for two years and now is all of a sudden bringing home D's on her tests!

I was very intrigued by your blog since you are doing it and have 6 children. How do you do it? One of my biggest concerns is how my son would do if we stayed home for school. He is strong willed and very set on things. We don't exactly see "eye to eye." I do not want to put any undue stress on either of us.

Since you are a Mother of 6 and you homeschool, I just thought you might
have a bit on insight you could share.
Your situation and questions have many threads interwoven together and depending on which aspect you place your emphasis you could come up with a different solution. Are you going to focus on your daughter who is struggling or your son who may give you a struggle if you bring him home?

Perhaps a better approach to detangle the different aspects is to start with the basics questions:

Why do we educate? or similarly;
What does it mean to educate a child?

These may sound like a simple questions, but they aren't. The key is to move past the method of education and ask yourself , "Why do you care that your son knows anything about anything?"

You might even consider approaching this from a different angle and ask yourself, "what do you want your children to be (not just know) when they leave your care?" Are you a Christian? If so, do you want your children to share your faith and your biblical worldview? If not, what worldview do you wish them to have?

Also worth consideration is what type of relationships do you want to develop between family members? Are you willing to work through the issues and likely conflicts that arise with your strong willed son so that you will have a stronger relationship that endures throughout his adult life?

Once you establish the answer to the "what" and "why" questions regarding education, the "where" and "how" of education will become more obvious. Our answer to those questions led us to homeschooling as the only acceptable option. But your answers may be entirely different than ours and thus your conclusion entirely different.

In other words, the goal must be defined before the methodology can be determined. I cannot determine what your educational goals are nor should I. That is the responsibility of every parent to determine. I could convince you to homeschool and tell with you all the good things that have come about because of our choice, but if a biblical worldview is not your worldview and my goals are not your goals, then the end result might be a great disappointment to you.

I wrote a post a while back in response to a mother who called asking similar advice called, "why we educate?" Reading that article may help you understand things more clearly.

For those who have already made the decision to homeschool and are wondering how we do it with six children, I'll answer that in a separate post.

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