As much as we love all things academic around here, you might be surprised to know that my two most important homeschool goals have little to do with teaching history well, whether my kids know their math facts or making sure they can produce a beautifully written paper. Those things are all very important, but my most important goals run much deeper than these. They get at the heart of why I homeschool in the first place and keep me grounded when I feel the pressure of teaching all those different school subjects.
#1. Teach My Children to Love God. This is my most important goal of the two. It is the foundation for our whole homeschool. Proverbs 1:7 says. "The fear (awe and respect) of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Without a true honor and respect for God and all He has made, the foundation for everything we learn is skewed. It is hard to learn about what God made without acknowledging the One He made it. But when we humble ourselves and ask Him to teach us, the whole world is unlocked. It truly is the best place to begin our quest for knowledge.
Sir Isaac Newton said, "In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence." Albert Einstein sought to understand God and the order of His universe. Leonardo Di Vinci observed the birds God made to get ideas for his flying machines and studied rivers to learn how blood moved through the body. I think these men were onto something. If you want to look like a genius, study the One who designed the universe and get your answers from Him. Sir Isaac Newton also said, "He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God."
#2. Teach My Children How to Learn. When I first started homeschooling over 14 years ago, I was determined to be the perfect teacher. I would have the best school I could and teach my kids everything they needed to know. Then reality hit. I realized fairly early in my homeschool journey that no matter how dedicated I was or how great my curriculum was, I could never teach them everything. There would be holes in their education. At first, I was desperate to find and fix every hole. It was kind of like the dutch boy who plugged the hole in the dike. Except there was bound to be more than one hole. I was scrambling around and dealing with tons of pressure, trying to make things perfect.
Then I had an epiphany. I was going about this all wrong. I was making my kids' education dependent upon my own knowledge. I was limiting them to what I knew --which isn't very much, I can assure you. And not only that, my own education was fraught with holes. So was the education of every person I knew. We all have educational gaps. It doesn't matter how or where we were educated. The difference between those who succeed and those who fumble doesn't have nearly as much to do with an education without holes as I had previously thought. One thing I noticed about the successful people I knew -- they all had a hunger to learn and they knew how to self-educate. If they had an idea for how to make their company run better, they knew how to find information, internalize it, and make that information work for them. If they wanted to learn a new skill, they knew where to go to find that information and how to learn it. Nobody held the lid on what they could learn because they knew how to teach themselves what they did not know. They were limitless!
It became my goal to spark a love of learning in my kids. Yes, I teach them the basics. We don't intentionally leave anything out. But my kids are also hungry to learn outside of what I teach them. If they don't understand something, they aren't content to leave things like that. They want to know, and so they find out. When they have a school break, they usually use the time to develop a new skill, like computer programing, the International Phonetic Alphabet or Entomology. I didn't assign those things. I didn't strap them to a desk and make them fill out a stack of workbooks about those things. I taught them to love God and how His world works, and that they could learn anything they were hungry enough to seek out. Then I gave them access to the tools they would need. Kids are naturally hungry to learn. As long as we don't squelch that desire, it won't be hard to get them to study those things in which we are able to spark an interest.
What are your goals for your children's education?
Have a great day!
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