Lifelong Learning

“How long do you intend to home school?

Home education is not only about reading, writing and arithmetic.  It includes learning about life and enjoying the world in which we live.  It is teaching and training children the way to learn for the rest of their lives.  Home education, in the right mindset, begins at birth setting in motion a love for learning.  Training continues until a child takes the reins and discovers his own love of learning and continues to learn and grow through his life.   To limit education to finishing middle school or high school or even college, puts a child into a box and quenches vision of a lifetime of discovery as well as personal growth.

I once read that the perfect way to homeschool is to give your child the ability to read, write and a little mathematics. Then, take them to the library to explore all of life.   Of course, visiting real historical places, taking them to ballets and operas, touring museums and participating in sports shows them the vast number of opportunities that life offers.  Each hand-on adventure that allows touching, seeing, tasting or hearing gives opens another window or door and gives them each a foundation of understanding that learning can be a lifelong adventure – not something that happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One of the greatest blessings of home education is the freedom to learn.

Children are different and have different ways of learning, different interests in learning, and different visions for their lives.  I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Often times this verse is taken to mean that if you train your child spiritually he will not depart from that way.  Though this can be the partial meaning, the original Hebrew states something more like, “Train a child in HIS way (according to his bent) and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Spiritual training is foundational in the home education of our children.  It was primary, foremost, and always first on the day’s agenda.  Yet, each of our children received this spiritual training differently because they have been spiritually gifted in different ways.  For example, I have four children.  One of my children has the gift of teaching, another has the gift of mercy, another has the gift of giving, and another has the gift of exhortation.  In spiritually training them, they had to learn how to use their own gifts in their own way.  They had to learn the challenges and pitfalls of their gifts in order to discern when they were to use them.  They had to experience the blessing and joy of using their gifts rightly and to the glory of God.

Education is the same way.  Each of my children had different interests and challenges.   I had one who loved math and history, another who loved marine biology (we live on the prairie) and the arts and languages, another who loved music and using his hands, and another who loved reading and dancing, but struggled with dyslexia.     Teaching them according to their interests was of vital importance.

The one who loved math and computers was given lots of math and a computer.  He studied the history of ancient worlds and today loves to travel whenever and wherever he can.   He works for a big corporation as a network manager. He has always loved Apple Computers and has certifications in many areas.

The one who loved horses read every horse book imaginable and studied horses until she was ready to have a horse.  She knew the history of horses, the science of breeding, and the economics involved in taking care of a horse.  This one also loved the arts and acted in plays and is now living and working in New York City.   She also taught herself Portuguese and has visited Brazil several times.

The one who loved to use his hands played instruments and wrote piano music.  He is studying pre-med and wants to be a chiropractor.

The dancer is still up in the air, but whatever she chooses to do, she will succeed.  She has a lifetime to live and learn.

©2011, May

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