It’s mid September, and the end of the month is looming. Many think they need to have all their ducks in a row by Labour Day weekend, but that isn’t so. You have until Sept. 30 to decide where you want your children educated in Alberta: but the sooner, the better when it comes to paperwork. Obviously you can always decide, but that’s the deadline for the bit of funding to cover most of their education needs.
Maybe- school isn’t going well already. Maybe the same problems as last year are resurfacing. Maybe you enjoyed the summer; the laid back schedule, no homework or lunches, the time spent one on one and as a family. Maybe you can feel the years rushing away quickly and you feel an urgency to slow everything down.
Whatever the case, take a few moments or the next week to consider. For most people, launching their kids on the school bus is just what’s done. There’s nothing to think about or wonder, there are no other options or ways to do it. It’s not something that most will deliberate about or pray on, it’s just “the next step” in parenting. It’s pretty impressive that the school system, while relatively new in our nation’s history, has become as paramount to childhood as birthday parties and breakfast cereal. It’s also equally impressive to see parents and people blast the government- it’s leaders and it’s motives- but completely entrust their children’s education and well-being to them every single day. For twelve years. As a matter of fact, if you have time, research the beginnings of the government’s school systems.
You see, when you have the children, you have the next generation (or five). In Canada, the first educators outside of the family was the Church. I specify that because family has been the main influence and teacher of children throughout all of history- until now. But then missionaries came and began to teach them to read and write, and do sums. Obviously this is a good and beautiful thing. Eventually the government came into play, as the church slowly relinquished its hold. I love this, taken straight from the site:
“Leading educators, or school promoters, argued that mass schooling could instill appropriate modes of thought and behaviour into children. In their minds, the purpose of mass schooling did not primarily involve the acquisition of academic knowledge. School systems were designed to solve a wide variety of problems ranging from crime to poverty, and from idleness to vagrancy.” The Canadian Encyclopedia
You see, they got it. When you are able to mold the minds, you mold the society. I can’t say it any more gently than that.
I won’t go on. But you can see the point. I encourage you: research. Research comparing stats of kids and adults who are homeschooled as opposed to conventional school. I will only link one study, done here in Canada, but please look up more. There’s lots out there. There’s also many done on the negative sides, which I appreciate because it helps me look for pitfalls. Learning shouldn’t be finished when we’re done school- it should be celebrated as a lifelong pursuit. So please, learn about the options that you haven’t before thought of.
I was listening to a podcast from Heidi St. John the other day, and something she said struck me. We are raising our grandchildren right now. The work we are doing is not just for today, and not just for this year. These little people we are raising will be raising up a whole other generation. Where are their ideals being formed? Who is instructing them? Who has their attention, their hours and their hearts?
I only share my heart on this to make you stop and think. Please know: many of my closest friends are teachers and I so appreciate the work that they do. They don’t get paid for much of the hours and supplies they put in. They deal with everything from germs and behavioral problems to entitled parents and abusive homes. I am SO thankful that they are there for the kids, and I know they bear the brunt of everything. They are severely underpaid for the stress they are under, and yet the vast and great majority wear it with a smile and love for the kids. It is a calling, a vocation, that most of us cannot do. My only issue is that the governments in Ottawa and Edmonton do not have the best interests of my children- the ones given to me, by God- at heart. I honour the government and respect them as I should. I will give them my tax dollars, my volunteer service and whatever other civic duties I must, and more. I will not give them the majority of my children’s lives.
This barely skims the surface. This has nothing to do with tailoring your children’s education to what they need, what they are passionate about, and the speed in which they can go. How when there are special needs, you can meet them right where they are. When they are excited about the world around them, you can share the moment. When barriers are broken and milestones are met- it’s you they will remember. That is the sustaining stuff.
I will not say that educating your own children is for everyone. It is incredibly challenging. It takes everything you have in you- and sometimes more than what you have to give. It forces you to identify problems in your own life and faith walk. It brings to light everything that would otherwise be swept under the rug in the hustle and bustle of living under a regimented schedule. It’s against the norm, counter-cultural and the most time consuming thing in my life. It’s so hard. It may not be what’s best for your family. I will encourage you to look at the reasons why, though. If it’s a matter of logistics, that’s usually an easy fix. I know single homeschooling moms. Moms that work full time. Online and distance learners. Every family faces different challenges, and most can be dealt with in a supportive community (which is huge, and growing.)
And again, for the people in the back- IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.
All I beg of you, is to think on it. Be a rebel. Colour outside the lines. Be different. And if all that means is having a cup of coffee and reading some articles and doing some research, I will be blessed. That’s more than most people do, I think? I’m obviously assuming that. But don’t just do something because it’s what everyone else does. Do it because in your heart, you are the one that knows what’s best for your babies- whatever it may be.