Monday, June 25, 2012

Path to Education (Guest Post)

Have you entered my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Treasures of Healthy Living? ~Erika

Every spring I question the quality of our school year. Doubt sets in, and I begin to scramble, trying to put together something “better.”

As a homeschooling Mama, I’m sometimes overwhelmed with the weight of knowing I am solely responsible for the education of my children.

I hear I’m not alone.

Jumping back and forth between the idyllic view of using Living Books, Nature Study and short hands-on lessons, to using the textbooks that seem so familiar and fool-proof, I often wonder if I’m making the right decisions for our school. After all, I only have one chance to raise each child, cultivating their minds and hearts.

Photo Credit

As I perused some homeschooling materials, I came across this quote:
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. ~Albert Einstein

Sad to say, but I don’t remember much from my school days. As I teach my children, I’m learning, too! I’m sure we covered the same material, but there appears to be quite a bit that I didn’t retain.

The skills I use now aren’t things I mastered back then, either. Take math, for example—a class in which I performed miserably. As I began to manage a home, I had to use mathematical facts in my everyday life. And through using these skills in the real world, I’ve even mastered a few “mental math tricks” that I see presented in the textbooks my children use today.

When I read the above quote, I remembered a speaker who said it doesn’t matter how many facts or rules we try to pour into our children’s brains, if we don’t teach them how to learn and to love to learn.
While I am responsible for teaching my children basic ideas and skills, I want them to have a love for learning, because regardless of what we cover, there will undoubtedly come a day in which they will encounter something they don’t know (or remember).

By nature, I’m a researcher. It’s a hobby and can become an obsession, if I’m not careful. I’m sure I already have a couple of children who inherited this trait. For those who haven’t, I need to get to work.

It made me realize that regardless of using Textbooks, Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Unit Studies, etc., my ultimate goal in educating my children is that they will have the confidence, desire and tools they need to be able to learn on their own, be self-starters, be disciplined, have strong character, and exercise wisdom.

I can buy the most expensive curriculum, fill out assignment sheets and have my children check off the boxes. But in the end, no curriculum is going to provide them with the “real” education we want to instill.

Perhaps one spring I’ll listen to my own words and stop scrambling.

Elizabeth and her husband, Andrew, have been married thirteen years and are blessed with five children.
She enjoys writing about her family as they discover the joys of homeschooling, natural living, and strengthening their home through Biblical principles. Learn more by visiting the blog, A Mama's Story, to see how her family is "creating culture and breaking tradition." Join discussions regarding the blog's topics by liking A Mama's Story's page on Facebook.

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