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We were no different than most people in our early days of home educating. We knew the school was failing our children so we decided to bring it home. Unfortunately, we did not solve anything by bringing school ideology and practices into our home. We erroneously thought we could fix the problem simply by doing a better job of schooling our children ourselves. Why did we believe school had the correct model for educating children in the first place? Why did we think we were competing with the school?
We also believed that by using Christian materials in place of the secular program being used in public school we would make a bad thing better. It did, but while making a bad thing better may be an improvement, it is not a solution as much as it is the creation of a “better bad”. While Christian school materials are probably better than what is being used in public schools, the premise upon which they are constructed is still based on a school model of strangers knowing better than parents what children should learn, when they should learn it, and how the learning should be done. In retrospect, it did not initially occur to us that “Christianizing” a school model was not a solution, either.
It took a while for us to get the message. School and all its trappings is not the best way to educate children, nor is it a good foundation upon which to properly raise a family. We needed to do things differently if we wanted different results.
To start, each child is different so the one-size fits all industrial approach does not work. The program has to fit the child, not the other way around. Secondly, since each family is a stand-alone unit, what, where and how learning occurs has to be adapted to the uniqueness of each family. Third, while home education does provide the opportunity to individualize the program for each child, the entire enterprise can be conducted within the faith and culture of the family’s choosing, as opposed to the ostensibly “neutral” approach used in public schools.
Learning is a constant activity for everyone so home education becomes an educational lifestyle involving every aspect of life and learning. Constant parental involvement and control moves the whole family towards its goals.
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