I don’t like to see fear controlling homeschooling parents’ decisions. It is normal to carry some amount of concern about whether we are doing “right” by our children; but we must guard against fear even more so than we guard against making mistakes.
Why? Because no one can be tuned in to the voice of the Spirit who is tuned in to the voice of Fear!
A “prop” can be what keeps something else from collapsing (as in “propping up”); or, in theater, a prop helps provide reality to the fantasy of a play.
Here are “4 props” that fear uses to help us feel secure but which, actually, provide a false sense of reality to our homeschooling journey and keep us from doing what our hearts are telling us we should be doing.
Let’s look at each of the things that prop up—or, seem to provide reality—to our homeschooling. What I am talking about here is what we accept as truth in order to alleviate Fear:
Prop #1: The 12-year Window – The belief that the majority of a child’s education will (and should) occur during the 12 years between the ages of 6 and 18. Believing this, homeschooling parents prioritize academics during these years, alleviating the fear that their children will not have learned enough information to function as an adult. However, by prioritizing academics, parents leave little time for the child to become proficient in the unique skills, giftings, and callings (see more on this below) which are most important to the child’s future.
Prop #2: Sequentiality and Grade Levels – The belief that knowledge moves from the simple to the complex and that a topic should be divided into its smallest, most “digestible” pieces, which then must be learned in a predetermined order and at a certain age (grade). Believing this, homeschooling parents tend to follow the same Scope & Sequence used by public schools, alleviating the fear that their children will have learning gaps. However, by accepting an educational model created for the masses, parents ignore the fact that individual children learn in different ways and at times that simply don’t follow the kind of predetermined plan used in public schools.
Prop #3: Subjects – The belief that all knowledge can be organized under subject headings (Language Arts, Science, Mathematics, etc.) and these subjects can be (and should be) prioritized according to their importance to the whole of society. Believing this, homeschooling parents will segment learning into subject areas, prioritizing those subjects they believe are most important, alleviating the fear that their children won’t be prepared to earn a future living. However, in so doing, parents often give too much prominence to subjects having no meaning to the child’s future because the parents are ignoring their child’s passions and giftings without giving thought to the possibility that those passions and giftings actually might have been placed within the child by God, Himself.
#4: Curricula – The belief that there already exists a perfectly written set of materials with which to educate one’s children. Believing this, homeschooling parents will constantly seek the perfect book or curriculum in order to alleviate the fear that they might be using materials that will not adequately educate their children. However, in seeking the perfect curricula, parents lose sight of the fact that true learning does not come from books or curricula, but from life experiences that require individuals to find answers to problems they are encountering as they live.
The “Mystery of unknowing”
What if you didn’t use any of these props?
What if you didn’t know you had 12 years to accomplish the task of educating your children?
What if you didn’t know about grade levels or that knowledge could be sequenced?
What if you didn’t know that you had to spend a certain amount of time teaching Language Arts and then move on to teaching Math and then follow that by teaching Science…?
What if you didn’t know that Math and Science were more important to your child’s future than art or dance or music?
What if you didn’t know that some expert had already prepared the “best” curriculum for your children?
There was a day in the history of our nation when virtually all children were taught at home and none of these props were available; yet, in those days, our nation had the highest rate of literacy of any country in the world.
What if you homeschooled your children and made a conscious decision to have none of these props available to alleviate your fears. Would you still be afraid?
What other “props” can you think of that we homeschoolers use to alleviate fear but which are detrimental to what we are doing?
Want to bring your family on the educational journey of a lifetime? Come with me, Chris Davis, to Israel this May. Visit the Experiencing Israel Website