I used to love talking about home schooling. I used to tell everyone what a great idea it was and why everyone should be doing it. But I’ve changed my mind.
Why? Because when we use the term ‘home schooling’, it implies that what we are doing is bringing the school system into our homes. It implies that we are little schools operating from home, having the same values and believing the same lies as the schools.
For years now, I’ve been trying to follow the good example of my friends who have taken care to say ‘home education’. But even that doesn’t really sit right. It still implies that there is something odd, something different, something that calls for comment, in the most ordinary thing in the world – parents bringing up their own children in the natural environment of the home.
Then it hit me: Normal education.
What could be more normal, more simply human, than learning? God created us with an innate desire to seek knowledge. Our brain cells actively hunt for new information. Adults and children who are alright, who are loved and whose lives are not devastated for some reason, spend their lives learning. New knowledge, new skills, new ideas – these things are our lifeblood. If we want our children to learn, all we need to do is give them love and security, and as much as we can, make our home an educational environment, filled with books and interesting things, and perhaps also a place where interesting people will be invited.
Of course there is far more that could be said about specific things that need to be learned, how and why, and who should decide what is important. (Yes – there’s a lot that could be said about that!) But none of this would be possible without our fundamental, God-given thirst for knowledge. It is a fallacy of the first order to treat children as little animals who must be forced to learn everything by systems of reward and punishment.
So if you’re educating yourself and your children, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re ‘alternative’. We’re not an experiment. We’re the control group. We were here first. We are normal.