Life, by John.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Homeschooler? Yes. Why?

Ever been asked why you believe in Homeschooling?

Before reading the rest of this post, answer these three questions, very briefly and simply, as if you were in a conversation with a stranger in the checkout of a grocery store, and write them down. (And then post them in your comment).

1.) Why do you believe in Homeschooling?

2.) What is the long term goal of Homeschooling?

3.) How does Homeschooling differ from Public education, besides taking place at home?

Now we continue.

Just recently (as in, three weeks ago), I read a wonderful article by Gregg Harris, the Father of Alex and Brett Harris, who run
The Rebelution.

The article is available in it's entirety,

Mr. Harris said something very interesting in his blog that I would like to quote, very quickly.

Education is so much more than mere academics. It is primarily matter of character development. Self-discipline may be out of style, but it is never out of work. Do I want my children simply to be nice, well-behaved, and safe from peer pressure? Not at all!

It struck me while reading this, that our purpose and vision will always define our methods.

Our purpose and vision, define our methods.

If the methodology of a homeschooling family is the same as a public school family, it is very likely due to the fact that their purpose is not clear, and their vision is limited to one or two generations. For purpose, the bible says 'Do all things as unto the Lord'. I interpret that two ways. 1.) Do everything like you're doing it for him. 2.) Everything we should do it for God.

Those two truths go hand in hand, because the verse merely says one thing; We're doing everything for God. That comes to our methods of education as well. We must define our purpose for Homeschooling within a Christian context. Gregg Harris goes over many of those purposes in his article, which I highly recommend reading.

Second, we have our vision. 'Where there is no vision, the people perish', God says in the proverbs. Is our vision of homeschooling so poor that it limits our purpose? Our vision defines our purpose, and our purpose defines our methods. (Theology, Technique, Technology, anyone?) Our Vision shouldn't be limited to this day and age, or how children are raised. It should be great, and might, and powerful enough to conquer the world.

Perhaps it's becoming clearer how this will define our objectives. If we look at a goal, and the obstacles between there and the goal, we'll find methods to attain the goal.

The problem is, our goal is often to just 'go to college', or 'get a good job'. That's as far as our vision and purpose extend, and thus, our methods focus on attaining those goals. If our goals, however, are to raise up a family that will take over a state within four generations, well then, that certainly changes our methods, doesn't it?

We have to keep our purpose and vision constantly before us, as these will guide our decision making process.

Without understanding the ideas behind homeschooling, there is no point in homeschooling. In fact, it can be damaging. As the Harris twins pointed out on their blog
(click here), we sometimes get lulled into an elitest comfort zone, just because we're homeschooled, and then we end up being worse off in our faith and actions than the standard public school student.

We MUST be visionary. We have to think about homeschooling in a multigenerational context, as Doug Phillips states so often. Homeschooling needs to have purpose, vision, and of course, a proper method. While Gregg Harris sees the purpose, and Doug Phillips is constantly presenting a wonderful vision, my friend Tait Zimmerman is currently working on showing the methods and principles behind the learning itself. I've noted while reading his blog, that he himself has a strong sense of purpose and vision, and knows that if a person doesn't have a purpose or vision, becoming a learner will GIVE them a vision, and GIVE them a purpose.

Well, I'm rather enthusiastic this fine evening, after discussing things with Dr. Richard Bacon and a few of his friends. I just figured I'd talk about what was on my mind.

Another note on Mr. Harris's article, I have one part in particular that I enjoy.

I would like to see my adult sons provide for their wives and children
through family business ownership and entrepreneurial stewardship. Contrary to
the best efforts of the ACLU, there are still millions of public school students
praying secretly to find decent jobs someday. Why not prepare our homeschool
students to hire them?

Bravo Sir, Bravo!

With all this in mind, answer the following questions again, and see if the answers are different than the three questions I asked before.

A.) How does your purpose affect your learning?

B.) How does your vision affect your learning?

C.) How do your methods differ from public education?

God Bless, and thanks for reading!

~ In Christ, John.