Home Education is not School at Home (Mentoring Monday)
Educating the WholeHearted Child: Preface and Introduction
Each Mentoring Monday I share my reflections on what I’ve been learning from my “paper mentors.” Over the next few months, I’m going to be joining a book discussion of Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson). If you want to join in, visit our Facebook discussion group page.
Our first reading assignment is the Preface and Introduction, and even just these few pages have whet my appetite for the feast that is to come as we make our way through this rich book. In them, Clay and Sally describe what homeschooling looks like to them: “In a time when you are faced with a confusing and often frustrating array of educational choices for how to homeschool, we simply want to share our vision of WholeHearted Learning–a biblical, commonsense, discipleship-based lifestyle of home education using real books, real life, and real relationships” (p.x).
I love this. It describes everything I want our homeschool experience to be. And yet it is so easy for me to get caught up in the “school” part of homeschooling. Maybe part of that stems from not only growing up in traditional schools but also being born into a family of teachers (my mom, my aunt, their cousins, my brother, his wife… me). I only spent 3 years in the classroom myself, but even that short amount of time shaped me as a teacher in a ways that aren’t necessarily compatible with this ideal.
I want our homeschooling to be a lifestyle. Maybe I need to be more intentional about focusing on “home education” rather than “home school.” I want to “declare [my] independence from conventional schooling and establish a new outpost of spiritual, personal, and academic freedom within the walls of [my] home” (p.13). We’re not trying to do school at home. While I try to stay away from traditional textbooks, mentally I still tend to get stuck in a school rut. I’ve caught the vision for what the Clarkson describe, but I need to be constantly reminded in order to actually walk that out. I’m hoping that reading through this book will help to lay down new grooves to help me break out of those old patterns and start falling into a different kind of lifestyle for our family.
“Home education is not our primary goal–home nurture and discipleship are, and home education is simply the natural extension of those biblical principles” (p.14). In some ways I think we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start for this and are headed in the right direction, but I want to keep this vision in the forefront of my mind. “Your role as a home-educating parent, then, is to provide a rich and lively living and learning environment in which your children can exercise their God-given drive to learn and then to biblically train and instruct your children within the natural context of your home and family life” (p.15).
Yes. God, help me to make it so.