The Great Train Robbery, Part 2: It’s (Not) Hard to Stop a Train
In the earliest years of homeschooling, a particular scripture was often quoted by parents and conference speakers: Train up a child in the way he should go and, even when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Whenever this scripture was quoted, the speaker made sure everyone understood that the literal meaning of the way he should go was really according to his way. Another way to restate this is on the road he should travel; or, for the sake of my train analogy, on the right track. The emphasis is that each child has a specific way (road, track) he or she is supposed to be traveling. Public school, on the other hand, saw children, not as individuals with an individual path, but as a group, all of whom had only one, common, road to travel—or track they were on—the track leading to employability.
With all the emphasis on according to his way, no one was explaining what it meant to train up a child, even though scripture emphatically told us that’s what we were supposed to be doing.
Simply stated, train up is one Hebrew word that means to narrow. In Proverbs 22:6 it is translated train up while, in every other instance where it is used in scripture, it is translated dedicate. So, when Solomon dedicated the Temple, a building that could have had many purposes, became what it was originally intended to be: unique. Its purpose was narrowed. It was never to be anything other than the dwelling place of God.
Unique? Narrowed? Dedicated? A very specific road (or track) each is to travel? No generic children being put on a common track leading toward employability?
When we narrow the focus of each child’s education to fit the road he was created to take—when we dedicate him (and, therefore, his educational pursuits) so he will become, not employable, but prepared to be who he was created to be—we are stating that we refuse to derail the train(ing up) with educational irrelevancies that waste precious time needed for what Dr. Ericsson calls the acquisition of expert performance (see previous post).
Why is it so necessary for each of our children to acquire the ability to “expertly perform” in a specific area and how, as homeschooling parents, are we keeping them from acquiring this ability?
Next on The Great Train Robbery: Part 3: Getting the Train(ing) Back on Track