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Homeschooling, but tempted to not educate your children?

Monday, 04. May 2009 by Renee Ellison

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The need to educate our children is not going to go away. It only gets more intense and more demanding. Unless you get your children started on a well laid-out comprehensive curriculum, you are into endless time-consuming decisions for yourself. All the time spent in deciding WHAT to teach could have been spent DOING the subjects, no matter how inferior you consider the curriculum to be. Trying to do all the curriculum planning yourself can result in losing years and years of critical childhood development time.

When parents put energy into finding/locating/purchasing/borrowing/returning an isolated book or two for each subject whenever they feel the need to teach it, burnout is just around the corner. What such parents cannot see in the beginning, when their families are still young, is that truly educating a child involves a huge scope and sequence of GENERAL TOPICS that must be covered…just to give them the BASICS. (By the way, if you are facing burnout as a teacher, order our helpful e-book on that topic.)

I know a family who didn’t homeschool their child well. They practiced the GUISE of doing it, but they were only “teaching” whatever came along each day. They got into real trouble, not with the law but with their child. Their daughter rebelled super badly the minute she discovered she hadn’t been educated like some other gals she met soon after their high school years had passed. She felt totally inferior, and felt like she had been gypped. She became extremely bitter toward her parents.

We met an uneducated woman just the other day who didn’t know the location of Iowa!!! Others don’t know that hydrogen and oxygen make water!!! Others spell so badly that they cannot even fill out applications (alas for them, the spell-checker is not always available for many real-life situations). It is important to spell the thousand most frequently used words PERFECTLY. (We have a snazzy new CD that takes your student through the most challenging basic spelling words, without your help—it’s called Spell-Along!)

It is the Heavenly Father’s plan to educate His people. Wherever the Gospel goes, education quickly follows. Missionaries bring the alphabet to DELIVER people from being uneducated. Being uneducated, or poorly educated, or randomly educated, or not OPTIMALLY educated, is NOT a blessing.

A mom THINKS she is solving the problem when she locates one more book or gets an immediate answer for a short health study or a study of the human body, or any other kind of study, but she misses tons of OTHER concepts that fall through the cracks, that are BASIC to just being an educated human. Most moms, even those under the public education system, HAD the privilege of learning all these GENERAL things. Many moms are unaware that their children don’t know half of what they, themselves know, simple because they just take it all for granted, because the mom WAS educated. She mistakenly thinks subliminally that her children are in the same place. They are not. With each generation the foundations have to be totally built up again.

The tutors of the children of British Royalty were required to take the education of their little charges very seriously. They had those children up studying history, taking fencing lessons to develop strong physical bodies, conjugating Latin, learning foreign languages, doing math, reading complex essays, writing analysis papers, drawing/sketching, etc., EVERY morning, without fail. They did so, not because these subjects were important in and of themselves but because it develops mental MUSCLE. It is a child’s RIGHT to be educated. To not THOROUGHLY educate your children can be ranked right up there with not feeding them. The Puritans and the Pilgrims made this their highest priority as soon as they hit the shore. They were the ones who started the first American universities—Harvard, Yale, etc.

If a family cannot afford the curriculum now, a family CAN make plans so that they can afford it later, as their highest priority, as SOON as is humanly possible…because every month of childhood counts and is irretrievable. The whole family can work hard at some money-making endeavor until they CAN afford it. The family has to have the grit and the bite to make this happen, no matter what the obstacles, whatever it takes, wherever they go. Even monks in the Middle Ages made this happen—without electricity! They were highly educated because they WANTED to be, when the entire culture around them wasn’t. They MADE it happen.

Abraham Lincoln made it happen, in spite of every obstacle. He developed a logical, legal brain, by several HOURS of tough-hard-at-it mental discipline, daily, for years on end. Childhood goes like paper in a fire. You cannot get those years back, even if you search for them with tears. Only you, as parents of your own children, can make this a priority. Others cannot do it for you.

Being educated makes children feel TERRIFIC about themselves, and totally EXCITED about the day. I’ve seen our daughter actually CLICK HER HEELS down the hallway at some exciting concept she just learned! A person’s childhood is to a great extent shaped by—and at the mercy of—his or her parents.