Monthly Archives: April 2012

Who Is Asking the Questions? – Part 3

I have read an article suggesting that following one’s dreams is anathema to following God. In other words, Jesus’ comment to “deny yourself”, meant that whatever you have in your heart to do is probably worldly and should, therefore, be rejected as self-centered, not Kingdom-centered.

But, why should “following your dreams” and “following Christ” be mutually exclusive?

When you meet an individual who is actually doing what God has gifted him to do, you meet someone who is truly Kingdom-centered.

There are two kinds of miserable people in the world: Those who spend their lives trying to increase their personal, worldly happiness and those who have never discovered the gift God has made them to a world that desperately needs to see someone experiencing the joy of the Lord.

Let us help our children discover the giftings/talents God has put within each of them. Let us respect those giftings/talents. Let us give our kids the time and the resources to become proficient in what God has put within each of them. Let us send our children into a world that needs to see someone expressing God’s giftings/talents and expressing “the joy of the Lord as their strength.”

What could be more appealing to a world that has found no real joy in living self-centered lives?

Who Is Asking the Questions? – Part 2

Everyone knows the difference between teaching and learning. One has to do with what I (the teacher) think you need to know; the other has to do with what you (the learner) want to know, or need to know for the task you are currently performing.

When the teacher is asking the questions, the only way learning is taking place is if the student is engaged in dialog with the teacher. Otherwise, learning is not taking place if the learner is not the one initiating the questions.

Let’s say a child shows no interest in learning to read but the parent believes the student should be reading by a certain age. This is a common problem in homeschooling. Most adults believe learning is “age appropriate”, meaning a student should have learned certain tasks, and information, by a specific age. This idea comes from public schooling where age-segregated (grade-segregated) classes are a necessity. Such classes—and such an idea of learning—are not a necessity at home.

I say, rather, learning should be “maturity appropriate”, “task appropriate”, and/or “interest appropriate”. This idea comes from the mentality that every child is unique in his or her maturity, the present tasks in which they decide to involve themselves, or their current interests.

If a child is presently involved in tasks that don’t allow him time to learn to read, can we be secure enough as parents to allow the child to eventually arrive at a season when reading becomes either interesting or relevant—in the child’s mind—to pursue that discipline? One of my sons decided to learn to read at age 9 and another at age 10. The only one of my sons who is not a strong reader is the one I taught to read at age 6. That taught me a lesson.

Children love the world. They love to learn about it. The world is full of interesting things that intrigue children.

Can we allow our children to learn through that love?

In your homeschooling, who is asking the questions: you or your child?

Who Is Asking the Questions? – Part 1

I have always been a curious, inquisitive person. As a little boy, my house was situated at the edge of a vast, southern California desert and, from earliest memory, the desert was my classroom. It drew me. I absorbed its beauty, its vastness, and its wildlife. Early childhood existence was an endless series of questions: What is this? What does it do? Where did it come from?

All that ended when I was sent to school.

Curiosity had fled, but I never knew where it went or why. One day I read a quote by Albert Einstein: “Modern education destroys curiosity”.

I knew this to be true, but what did “modern education” do to destroy this little boy’s inquisitive nature?

Recently, I came across another quote that explained what had happened to me. To paraphrase: “In school, I was continually told answers to the questions I had not yet considered asking.”

An analogy: A sponge can exist in a dry state. But, when a sponge is immersed in water, it absorbs the water. Why? Because water is the natural habitat for a sponge and it is, therefore, natural for a sponge to absorb water.

Two observations: Daily life is the natural habitat for a child and that is why he naturally absorbs what it has to teach him. School is not the natural habitat for a child and that is why its lessons must be forced into the child.

Long ago, school teachers gave up believing their students cared about what they were being taught. So, schools were left using the only tool they had to make students learn the answers to questions they weren’t asking: fear of failure (properly called “tests” and “grades”).

Since this is a homeschooling blog, the question becomes, “What does this have to do with homeschooling my children?”

The answer: Everything.

More next time…