Encouragement for the New Homeschooler
~ If You Are Beginning to Homeschool ‘From Scratch’ ~
We encourage you—Do not delay to renew your mind to correct thinking about education so you can prevent going too far down an unproductive path that will cause you and your children problems. If you are one of those blessed ones who is beginning your family with the intention of never putting your children in school, we hope you take this message to heart.
Regardless of how much or how little you feel up to the task of educating your children, it is so easy to boldly begin with the many erroneous ideas and assumptions we gathered from the educational system you likely grew up in. I have seen many moms confidently proceed with their homeschools like there is no tomorrow. As more children are born into the family, mom comes to realize she can't keep up her pace indefinitely, and the younger ones start to receive less and less of the heavy requirements she poured on the first ones.
So, were all those requirements just a figment of her imagination? After all, if they are really required then why doesn’t she feel compelled in good conscience to continue with the same educational burden no matter how many children came along? Indeed some moms do! However, many come to realize after several years and near burnout that there are more important things in life than fulfilling outwardly imposed requirements and that academics could be simplified without the fear of gaps in the children’s learning process.
I also learned to look at the fruit of these mom’s lives and I hope that you will too. It is so common to see conflict between siblings, self-centered, over-indulged teenagers, and tension in parent-child relationships. Many don't even realize that this is bad fruit, and that it got there because the parents were sowing something in their children that was unChristlike. Homeschoolers don’t escape this kind of bad relational fruit just because they’re homeschooling. When there is bad fruit in the family, you can ask, what contributing factors have influenced the children’s development? What was their exposure to peers? How did the form and method of education used in their lives affect their souls? Most importantly, what was the spirit in the home as they were growing up?
I encourage you to read as much as you can along the lines of educational philosophies so you can develop a background understanding of what actually contributes to a true education. Then spend a period of time meditating on ideas and watching what you see other homeschoolers doing. Notice the fruit they are producing from their various philosophies. Don’t observe the academic fruit or the social fruit, but the relational fruit they have with their siblings and parents.
Take the time with your husband to develop your own philosophy of education and acquire and write down a vision for your family. You don't have to homeschool the ‘difficult way’ for four or five years just to find out that you have many relational problems to fix. You can minimize mistakes, and be spared going many miles down a dead-end road if you are willing to be teachable of the Holy Spirit and listen to wisdom.
Many homeschoolers admit they need more of a lifestyle approach to education, but they give it little to no thought before they simply continue on the same path toward burnout. They think there is no other way, but that is primarily because their line of vision has been in agreement with the system. There is another way with God! Learn to hear from Him and He will lead you in the way you should go. He has unique plans for your family that will require an individual expression for each of your children’s educational experiences. His wisdom always provides a way.
We encourage you to begin with the Lifestyle of Learning™ Get Started Packet. It contains 7 books, 6 audios, and a video to help you understand the Lifestyle of Learning message that can liberate your family’s education.
© Copyright 2003, Marilyn Howshall All Rights Reserved