We’ve all heard of the re-model project gone awry. The wife wants this wall moved over here to open up this space. That door then scoots down a foot and we put a new archway over there. Sounds simple enough, right? What’s the one hitch to pulling it off? After the husband’s approval, that is. Right, is “that wall” a load bearing or free standing wall? If that wall has a beam in it that’s important to the entire structure of the house, to remove it means you’re remodeling more than just the living room!
I believe the same can go for our home school. We need pillars there too. My last homeschooling post was about how our house is built on wisdom, established through understanding and filled with treasures through knowledge. After writing that, I began to think of my home school in terms of a building structure. If all of the above is true and in place here, what are some “pillars” in my home schooling “house” that help establish it in understanding? In other words, what are the supporting mechanisms that keep my home schooling house from falling in?
Pillars are those things that are unmovable. They are solid structures in the house that provide a framework for everything else. The public school system has them. Think of all the “standards” they have. But I haven’t really taken the time to specifically pin-point what mine are. These pillars ask the question, “What am I homeschooling for?” By doing education this way, what do I seek to accomplish? This is different but goes hand-in-hand with our purpose, which asks the question, “Why do you home-school?” This gives us a framework to say “yes with joy and no with grace and confidence” (I read that phrase in a book called Breathe and now have it on my refrigerator!) to curriculum, co-ops and the extras that pull at us. When we know something works or doesn’t, we can stick to that decision.
I just want to throw some options out there for you to ponder on. Maybe Pillar #1 for you household is a quality education. Very good pillar. The supporting walls, sheet rock and other structure essentials would be things like your choice of books, perhaps curriculum and the basic learning style you like to follow. What are your goals in this area? Have you defined what “quality education” means? It may mean traveling and putting your hands on the Mesa Verde ancient cliff dwellings, seeing Leonardo’s inventions at a museum, taking your picture next to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Maybe rich literature is important to you, poetry, or a biblical worldview in science. Whatever the case, it is vitally important to your home school structure for you to set aside the funds and the time to make this happen!
OK, lets take one more. Pillar #2 might be character development. Under this pillar could be things like working through problems together and not rushing them or covering them up. Learning how get along together with people (who happen to be in your own family) who think differently, process differently and color differently. Maybe you like the idea of watching their little wheels turn with an idea they have in their head, You stand off to the side, biting your tongue and sitting on your hands so you won’t disturb this beautiful process of watching your child think something through all the way and discover an answer for themself. AKA thinking for themselves!!! In Romans 14, Paul talks about the “stronger” serving the weaker by setting a good example and not placing a stumbling block in their path. So maybe it’s training the older child or the one who may get things faster and easier than the others, to learn to be gracious and helpful with those who don’t. If these kinds of character qualities are important to you, then they play an essential role in the structure of your home school. These don’t just come naturally. They take time and intentional attention. If I’m not giving that pillar the attention it needs, my structure will begin to lean.
Maybe the Arts are important to you. Another pillar could then be creativity. You want to teach your kids in the unique way that they receive instruction best. Your daughter is like mine and needs to do math or spelling on the hopscotch outside. You want to do creative research projects spur of the moment or make paper mache airplanes. There are many more options, I just wanted to get you thinking about what is important to your family.
You, as a home schooling mom (or dad!) have the beautiful freedom to choose your own pillars and build a solid house to teach your kids in. So many times, the things we teach are children are immeasurable. We don’t know and can’t chart exactly what they’re “getting”. We can, though, see if our structure is looking like it could give way minute or standing tall! Lets build it strong!
Putting it In Our Own Words,