When it comes to homeschooling there are many other people way more qualified to give advice than I am, after all my oldest child is only 8 1/2 (he’ll be 9 in April). But I have had a few family members and 1 or 2 friends comment on how advanced my children seem, at least when compared to the average child of their same age. Especially since they are rumbunctious, mischievous, inquisitive (i.e. NORMAL) little boys. I mean, how can you possibly get them to learn without drugging them up with Ritalin and tying them to their chair for 4 or 5 hours a day??!! This would be the basic public school experience for a lot of boys, at least it was what I observed when I was in public school…things may have changed now. As far as I know, there are no homeschoolers in either mine or Nathan’s extended family, we are an anomly.
I don’t think there is anything particularly unusual about the way we homeschool, except for one thing: Nathan does half of the teaching. The whole reason we live the way we do, the whole reason Nathan works from home, is because he feels, as the head of the household that it is his duty above all else to raise up his children in the way that they should go.
We’re not a “special case”, any family can live as we live if they so desire. If they are willing to work HARD and do without “things”and not be concerned with obtaining material comfort, prominence or position in this world. I greatly admire my husband for taking his role so seriously, for choosing to walk the path that most men fear to tread. I think that it is unfortunate for boys that most teachers are female, especially in elementary school, because, based upon what I have seen, young boys respond extremely well to having a male teacher.
I think this is why our boys seem so advanced. Males understand males, a boy will more readily and easily learn something from another male, especially if he respects that male, than he will from a female (and vice versa). Nathan works from home, the boys help him in his work (both E-Bay work and in working our land) and they really love helping to provide for the family. They see their father everyday, all day long, living out his principles and beliefs right before their very eyes. They see a man who says what he believes and lives what he says. I believe that would have a powerful impact on any child, but most especially on little boys who, in this debased and degenerate age, sorely lack any appropriately masculine role models or mentors (in my experience, most are either entirely too effeminate or are macho jerk tyrants…can there be no balance??).
In teaching our children, our main goal isn’t so much that they learn certain things in a certain way at a certain time, FAR from it. Our main goal has always been to create within each of our children the desire to learn coupled with a love for the Truth. In the way that we live and in all that we do, we try to show our children that TRUTH comes from God and God ALONE, and that man has no truth of his own…indeed he has not even the ability to KNOW Truth, except that God in all His mercy reveal it to him.
I have learned from experience, that the only thing mankind has, that he can call “His Own”, is LIES. Period. Most everything in this world is a LIE…lie upon lie upon lie, a stinking pile of lies. On television, in the newspaper, in books, in the mouths of our leaders, our experts, our supposed “learned and respected men” **GAG** all they do is LIE. The world’s systems, it’s governments, it’s politics, it’s “sciences”, it’s education, it’s religions…all of it is ruled by Satan, the prince of this world and the father of LIES.
In contrast to this, we don’t lie to our children…ever. There is no santa, bunny, or fairy…and in every and all situations we strive to be as honest as possible in a way that is appropriate to their age and understanding. This helps to build respect and trust for the parents within the child. Because the actions of the parents, and most especially the father, are the child’s earliest example of who their Heavenly Father is, it is of upmost importance that respect and trust be cultivated within the child from the day he is born. Not surprisingly, the main way this can be cultivated from day ONE is by breastfeeding your baby. This respect and trust will be the foundation of all future learning and will eventually be transferred from the parents to God, who is ALWAYS trustworthy and NEVER fails.
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Because we live in such a degenerate world, from a very early age we start teaching our children how to discern when they are being lied to or manipulated. On a regular basis we point things out that occur in real life and explain what the lie is, why it is a lie, and why the liar is trying to manipulate them into believing it. The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). It should not please us when are children are gullible, it’s not something to be proud of when our children are easily decieved, it makes them more susceptible to the wiles of Satan and the lies of this present world. They need to experience what reality is, no matter how harsh or cruel, the sooner they learn about what kind of world they live in and the true nature of mankind (and themselves) in general…that The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?~Jeremiah 17:9…the better and more wisely they can live. We live in dangerous times and the best gift we can give to our children is the ability to know when they are being lied too, manipulated, or used to further someone elses ungodly agenda.
My husband and I often like to joke that we are “Anti-Parents”. We don’t sugar coat or try to create for our children a fantasy or “Pollyanna” worldview in which all things are good and fun…where everything is just peachy nice. We can all wish that’s what the world was like…but it’s just not true. If you profess to be a follower of God, the world wants nothing more than to exploit you for your God given gifts and abilities which they cannot have because they have not The Holy Spirit… and once they get what they want, they destroy you. “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” ~Psalms 44:22 We have to make sure we teach our children the fine line between true Christian Charity and being taken advantage of. God does not want dumb lazy followers that the world can enslave (the most common modern form of slavery is DEBT) and push around as they see fit.
We motivate our children’s desire to learn by playing with our children and through play we begin to learn what the child’s natural God gifted talents and abilities are. For example, my oldest son Elijah has a way with words, writing and speaking…he and I have much the same gift except he is WAAAAY more extroverted than I am. Well, in order to motivate him to want to learn I go by route of his natural gift/talent…most often I will read him something and have him explain it back to me in his own words (which he LOVES to do). Also, like me, he very easily remembers anything that he writes down…old fashioned note taking works very well for him, as it did for me when I was in school. He currently has 3 notebooks, with as many different purposes, that he writes in them all the time and I often give him little assignments, “ideas”, about things to write. He has access to The Bible, good classic literature, a huge old dictionary, a thesaurus, an atlas…he loves using these things and discussing with us any new information he learns. He is very much a researcher, an information gatherer, a statistics and trivia lover. Because he likes knowing facts, this spills over very easily into teaching mathematics and logic as well.
My second son, Solomon, is the exact opposite. He is my little engineer 🙂 He loves TO DO…anything! He’s very kinesthetic, loving to build and make, to take things apart and put them back together, to create arts and crafts…he’s a natural “tinkerer”. While Elijah’s motto would be “I Know”, Solomon’s whould be “I DO”. I create within him a desire to learn by having him DO what he learns. Cutting out the letter form from construction paper or counting beans, trying to count how many he could toss into a jar. He loves his abacus and it’s very helpful to him with addition and subtraction because it’s concrete and touchable and real. He loves it when we do science experiments, especially natural science. He’s a natural farmer, out of all the children he is the one most interested in learning to care for The Land and our livestock. He’s also loves learning the names of trees, flowers, vegetable, plants, bugs, birds etc. He’s a very practical, down to earth sort of boy.
Of course, because we live in a fallen world, these God Given Talents are always inevitably twisted and distorted by Sin and mankind’s propensity to continually choose evil over good (selfishness over selflessness). Elijah’s gift is words and speaking, a very powerful gift, and if used for evil he could easily lie and manipulate others into doing his bidding…and without them ever even realizing it, he could easily become a master puppeteer of people. We strive to teach him about the power of words, the Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and that you will eat the fruit of your words. A person is only as good as their word. And so we take deliberate steps to teach Elijah how to use his gift for the Glory of God and not for achieving his own selfish ends by manipulating and lying.
Solomon, on the other hand, is very overly much attached to material things, especially if they are things he made. If something he made is ruined, even accidently…like if Matthew knocks over even just a very small block tower that Solomon made, he gets very upset…angry even. This type of over attachment to one’s own creations will lead to nothing but misery in the end. The Bible teaches us that, in the end, every one of man’s works will be tried by the Holy Fire of the Spirit Of God and anything that does not have it’s foundation is Christ Jesus will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)…this is why the world will be destroyed because anything not in Jesus doesn’t actually exsist in REAL REALITY.
As Christians, we create for the Glory Of God…the use of our gifts is the true essence of what worship really is, and we should strive to make this our sole purpose in creating…whether it be pancakes, babies, poems, block towers or a successful business. The goal is not to protect it and and pridefully admire it and jealously guard it (as mankind most often does)…this only leads to sorrow, for all that you have in this world you cannot take with you in the end anyways. We do our best to teach Solomon that he should always work his hardest and give his best in creating anything and then release it so that God may use it for whatever purpose He has in mind, even to destroy it, if He so chooses…it is these types of works that are built on Christ.
So, in conclusion, I guess you can say that what my husband and I desire most is to teach our children all that we wish we had learned before becoming adults. And we hope our children do the same with their children. Every generation becoming stronger, wiser and more godly than the one preceding it. And, so long as God be in it, I think that would be the grandest vision we could ever hope to accomplish on this earth.