CHANGING THE EMPHASIS – Part 2
[This is Part 8 of the Article, “Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children!”]
In the previous entry I listed the primary emphases of Institutional Schooling. Considering what I am about to share, it may be helpful to review that list.
Institutional Schooling does what it does out of a belief in what a child is, what a child needs, and what schools do to fill a child’s need.
What a child is: An empty vessel.
What a child needs: To have his or her empty vessel filled with the information necessary to be called “educated” (i.e. graduated).
What Schools do: Fill empty vessels with graduation-ready information. The child then takes a job or goes to college to take a “better” job.
My question to parents is this: “Do you believe children arrive in the world as empty vessels to be filled? Do you believe learning information is the main objective of an education? Do you believe Schools know what they are doing?”
Or, is there another way to perceive what a child is and another way to perceive what a child needs? Is it possible to ask the question, “Is what Schools are doing (and the way they are doing it) good for children? Necessary? Harmful?” Believe it or not, many schools are asking that very question. Here is part of an email I received a few days ago:
“My daughter’s school held meetings last week with the parents. They told us that the way they teach may be hurting the future of our children. They are asking for parent input on re-shaping the education system. They told us they are failing our kids. They told us that they can’t help this generation….”
This parent said her daughter’s public school is considered one of the best in their county!
I urge you to listen to any of Sir Ken Robinson’s messages on YouTube.com. If you do, you will understand why this school is concerned. What surprises me is their honesty! More and more education leaders are willing to admit that the Emperor is naked. Unfortunately, they have missed the real reason schools fail children. I’d like to offer my own perspective which, in turn, will suggest a different emphasis as we raise our children in our homes:
I begin by proposing a different belief in what a child is and, therefore, a different belief in what a child needs.
First, what a child is: I propose that a child does not come into the world as an “empty vessel”. Rather, each child has been created by God who then brings that child into our time-space world and chooses specific adults whom He tasks with raising that child.
Immediately, several problems arise from this premise:
First, although most Christian parents say their child is a gift from God, parents rarely understand that they have been chosen only to parent the child, but are not to consider the child as theirs. The child has a Father who intends to take the child back one day and who expects parents to train the child to look to Him as Father the rest of his or her life. Of course, we hope to always have a relationship with the children who grow up in our homes. But, they are not ours; they are His. This is one reason why, when speaking to my children, I always referred to myself as “Dad”. When I used the word “Father” I was always referring to the One I was training my children to look to more and more as they grew up. Further, I finally came to understand that I needed to keep asking Him what He wanted me to do with this child so I could be on the same page with Him.
One day, when my oldest son was part way through Saxon Math 6/5, he declared (with emphasis), “I hate math!” I was surprised since I knew God didn’t create us to hate learning. Besides, I liked math. There was a problem which I didn’t understand. So I told Seth to put the book aside while I asked his Father what was going on. I asked for a week. I asked for several weeks. I asked for several months. Finally, after a year of Seth doing no math, I gave up, saying to Seth’s Father, “OK, never mind! If You won’t tell me what’s going on, I will assume you don’t care about Seth learning math!” (By now I was not a happy Dad). A few days later, I was visiting a family and mentioned this issue to them. The daughter suggested an Algebra course she loved. I said, “But my son hasn’t even finished 5th grade math!” The girl only repeated that she liked the Algebra course a lot. So, I bought the Algebra course and showed it to Seth. He went through the entire book without ever asking a question, took the final exam, which he aced. Then, he did the same thing with the Geometry course by the same author and aced that final exam, too. Today, years later, I still scratch my head, and wonder what that was all about. Perhaps the lesson was that Someone knows His own kids better than we parents do!
In the next entry, I will answer the question, “OK, if these children aren’t “empty vessels”, what kind of vessels are they?