About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Personal reflection on seasons of life


‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have been thinking about the concept of seasons. When our children are small, things change so quickly. Already my three month old is no longer the completely floppy newborn he once was. My two year olds are learning more and more, showing their unique personalities and surprising me daily by the things they say and do. Often we will just be getting used to one pattern of daily routine and activities, when it is time to move on to something new. But simultaneously, it can seem as though time is standing still and that nothing will ever change.

Why I have I been thinking so much about this? Well, largely because I am human! My boys are at the stage where they need a lot of input and attention from their parents; that is completely normal, right and healthy. But there are days when I have felt a little tired and frustrated, sometimes wishing that perhaps I could complete a conversation with a friend. Or maybe enjoy a peaceful walk in the park without the constant stream of unusual questions arising from their curious and hungry minds!

But considering these things, I came to reflect on how fast they are growing, and how there will come a time when they might not want to have so much of my input and involvement in their lives. Naturally, they will be able to do more things independently, and that is right and to be encouraged. But these intense days of discipline, teaching, nurturing.... they will not continue as they are forever. They are but for a season. And the last thing I would want to do is push them away, to do anything to break the wonderful bond we have, and then to wonder why I do not have the relationship with my six year old, or my teenager, that I might desire. Similarly, when being asked questions such as, ‘Why can’t I reach the sky?’ or, ‘Why is a buttercup yellow?’, the last thing I would want to do is to stifle that thirst to learn about the world.

As parents, our God-given responsibility is for our children. Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it’. We are not promised that this will be an easy task! But what a responsibility, and what a privilege we have been given. Nobody else can do a better job. Nobody else can offer that unique combination of love, discipline and abundance of time to our children. 

I simply want to encourage other parents of young children who are seeking to hold on to the responsibility of educating them holistically at home. It is not easy. Some days are filled with delight, fulfilment and joy. But other days are tiring, some more than others. It can feel as though you are on a never-ending treadmill, repeatedly correcting the same errors, disciplining the same disobedience, answering the same questions, cleaning up yet another cup of spilt milk! As we seek to do what is right and best, we can pray that God gives us all we need for this current season of life. 

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.’

Isaiah 40: 30-31 ‘Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’

Related posts:

Intentional Parenting 
Charlotte Mason approach 
Key role of discipline in education 

Another study in favour of later formal education

This link is from this weekend's Telegraph newspaper. In summary, 'Academics suggested that infants given more time to naturally develop their language skills in the early years had a better foundation when they started conventional tuition at seven.'

Favourable remarks are made about the Steiner method of education, where there is a greater emphasis on play-based activities, including cooking, painting, drama, singing and verbal communication - I think many of these are things which we, as parents educating children of 'pre-school' age seek to spend a lot of our time doing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9289480/Starting-school-at-seven-can-boost-pupils-reading-skills.html

As always, your comments are welcome!

Monday, 21 May 2012

BBC News: Early formal education may be detrimental

The government seems to promote earlier and earlier formal education, yet this recent news story suggests the opposite may well be true. I think many homeschoolers will it encouraging to read of the benefits of allowing young children to progress at their own pace.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18084204

Sunday, 20 May 2012

A link: common misconceptions about homeschooling

I came across this posting, which is pretty much the opposite of my last one! It is the reasons that many people give for being opposed to home education, with a reposte to each one. I found it helpful, as I have already heard most of these! I hope that it encourages you also.

 http://mybarefootfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/lies-about-home-education-you-might.html?m=1

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Some of our reasons for Home Education


Whole books have been written regarding the reasons people choose to home educate, and I don’t intend to replicate these here! For us, some of the reasons (and there will be more!) include:

·         Spiritual. ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up’. Deuteronomy 6:5-7. How can this be achieved if you are not talking, walking and generally spending a lot of time together with your children? Each day is filled with learning opportunities, and there can be nothing greater than finding out more about the Lord our creator and His marvellous works. 

·         Teaching is primarily the responsibility of parents. ‘And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord’. Ephesians 6:4 Many factors in modern society seek us to abdicate that responsibility, although this verse does not specifically refer to all forms of education.

·         Worldview. What values are promoted in mainstream education? What values are important to us as a family? What values to we wish our children to internalise? Is there a conflict between what we seek to instill as a family, and what is happening in schools?

·         Individualisation. Children should be able to progress at the rate that suits them. My husband could not read until he was nine; I was doing GCSE level exams at this age. (We are now working within the same profession). Both of us would have benefitted from a more individual approach. This may be an extreme illustration, but all children would surely benefit from an approach tailored to their strengths and weaknesses, where later on they have a great deal of choice regarding subject matter.

·         Socialisation. Other than in education, when are people so streamlined according to age and possibly ability? Diversity may be ‘taught’ in schools, but in practice, the opposite may be encouraged. Home education allows the development of a range of real relationships in a community, which is more in keeping with ‘real life’. Many studies suggest that rather than impeding, home education enhances social development.

·         Celebration of childhood. Many countries in Scandinavia do not put children into formal education until older (perhaps 7 or 8) and there is no evidence that this impairs their academic development at all. Home education allows a greater freedom for children to be children, free from constraints, pressures and external standards. The benefits of this may be even more marked for boys.

·         Embracing the delight of knowledge. Most three year olds have a thirst for information and a real hunger to learn. Yet I know many six year olds who complain that ‘school is boring’ and seem to have had their desire to learn quenched. Why does this happen? When does this happen? Does it have to happen?

·         Lack of peer pressure. Relates to many of the other categories, but a child should be able to learn, grow, explore and develop without fear of not being ‘cool’ or being ‘geeky’ for developing these passions. 

·         Versatility. Home education allows a range of field trips, which might even include periods of time spent overseas learning different languages and cultures (this is relevant to us as a family, as our professional work has an international flavour). Even simple tasks such as baking can bring in a whole range of educational elements – reading, arithmetic, chemistry, physics, home economics, accounting, maybe even more!

·         Simply, we love to be with, and to teach our children. And yet many in society see that as being strange and a poor use of our time.

I’d be interested to know what has motivated others to explore home education for their children. Please share!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

What is this blog all about?

I am a UK-based mother of four children, the eldest of whom is about to turn three. As a family we have become convinced that home education is the way forward. I will post more about our reasons for this conclusion later, but in summary these include spiritual, personal and educationalist arguments. Recently I have met others who are starting out on the same adventure. Many of us share ideals, questions and concerns. We are likely to encounter similar encouragements, challenges and frustrations. This blog, as the name implies, is me sharing our walk through this new phase of life, sharing our personal story and links and resources which I have found helpful.

My user name is TeachKondwani. Kondwani means 'forever rejoicing' in a language of Malawi, and is the middle name of my youngest son. I pray that as we explore home education as a lifestyle, we can truly teach our children to rejoice the God who gives all knowledge, and that we as parents can rejoice as we celebrate their curiosity, achievements and growth.

Please feel free to comment, to share your own experiences and to suggest other links - together we can make this a helpful resource for the Home Education Novice!

Response to a question about the aim of this blog.