Next month will end one journey for our family as our youngest will graduate high school.
We were the crazy family that decided to home school for most of our children’s education. And before you ask the two silly questions we always get: both were accepted to excellent universities with scholarships and both have exceptional social skills. Sarah has one year of college remaining and Don decided to pass on his college options and go directly to flight school.
I thought I would share what Danae and I learned over the course of educating our children.
If you have young children and you’ve always wondered about home school here are the top lessons we learned.
Time is Everything
Over the course of the years we avoided the arduous demands of public and private school. We set the schedule and pace based on the way our children learned and avoided the wasteful ballast that fills the day of kids in public and private school.
The schedule was also set around our lives. The kids were not exhausted due to an overload of work and could enjoy the sports and other activities in which they participated. Further, we had them pursue real-life processes: both own their own businesses and were responsible for managing them. Sarah now lives on her own supported by the business she created and Don paid for all his material things throughout his education.
Further, because we had more time, we saw the world together. Over 20 countries, four continents, and a life time of memories. The cost we would have put into private school we put into travel. When we studied Caesar we went to Rome, tectonics we went to Iceland, the Incas off to Machu Picchu, U.S. politics off to D.C., World War II time in Berlin, and countless other adventures. Redirecting the cost others put into private school permitted our children to experience more than most people in their entire lifetime. It expanded their knowledge, and their love and appreciation for people that looked, spoke, and thought differently than them.
If you want to connect as a family, not live exhausted, experience more in life…home school.
Creating Critical Thinkers Matters Most
Most institutions do not confront the big ideas objectively: Why are we here? Where did we come from? What is important? Who do I listen to and why? What is truth? What is virtuous? We believe these questions matter most.
We risked exposing our children to ideas that do not match our own. We wanted the discovery of Truth to be their discovery not “because we said so”, but because the writings of the great men and women of the past drove them to good conclusions.
It’s a dangerous business, but if you want to create excellent critical thinking you must provide access to the ancients. Problem solving within disciplines is vital – pondering the virtues, far more important. Our kitchen table and family trips were full of discussions about the big ideas. When you have a base of ideas and works to build on, your family conversations are intense and valuable.
If the big ideas aren’t dealt with then teaching them disciplines like programming, pharmaceutics, and finance are just utilitarian exercises.
Homeschooling will provide a greater opportunity to create critical thinkers.
In educating our children we came to our own discovery - the value of being a lifelong learner. Both Danae and I read more and investigated more than we ever did as formal students. No one learns more than the teacher as the saying goes.
Homeschooling will expand your world as well as your children. If Danae and I counted the books we read over the past ten years we would both have five additional master’s degrees.
In managing learning properly, you can instill a love of learning in your children that will last them all their days. In working through learning together you are available for the questions, able to reference and apply the learning through example and experiences.
Education is lifted out of the bounds of institutions and into the hands of the individual to pursue and apply.
Home school environments are more probable to generate lifelong learners.
Christ is All
In pursuit of the big ideas, liberal arts, the ancients, art, and people, we are reassured that Christ is all. A person will never understand who they are and what they are made for apart from Christ himself. This of course was a part of our teaching, but a choice our children had to make on their own. Christ stands as the truth in: reality, reason, relationships, and revelation. This is the greatest gift that can come from learning.
As a home school family we had more opportunity to pursue and reaffirm this truth.
More of Everything
There are many ways to receive an education, but we do offer homeschooling as the best.
It requires commitment, sacrifice, and effort, but we can testify to its many gifts to our children and to us as parents. Many people miss this opportunity in pursuit of big house payments and new car payments.
My wife left her pursuit of a career to pursue our family and I am grateful for her choice. She made this choice when we had very little, not when we had much.
And because of her choice, we had: more time together, more fun, more adventures, more opportunity, more learning, more income, simply more of everything good.