Friday, September 13, 2013

Learning at Home: Part 5 of 9

It became startlingly clear to me only after I thought and felt and prayed my way through my list of hopes/objectives/dreams for my children that there is something missing from every single one of my lists that I surely would have expected.

Schooling.  Education.

None of my lists say anything about how much schooling I would like for my children to have; none of them speak to how or when they will acquire academic knowledge and skills; and none of them refer to the success I hope my children least not in the way the world defines it.

Nothing like these things on any of my lists.  I've checked.

I surely do hope that my children love to learn, and I surely hope that they will pursue whatever education enables them to love the work that they do someday, and I surely hope that they are able to earn enough money to provide for themselves and for the families they may have.

But what's so surprising to me is that I mostly don't aspire any longer for their success in a way that most around me would define it.  Sometimes I still get a little swamped, again, by aspirations for their successes in a more materialistic or academic sense - after all, this is the world we live in and I feel surrounded by it and pressured by it.  But more and more, I see how empty those pursuits are in and of themselves, and how much more I want for my children.

Education is a huge part of who I am.  I am a highly educated woman by the world's any standards, really.  I have enjoyed success in a worldly sense in the years before h/schooling and adoption took over our family life and before we chose that I would spend my daytime hours working in our home.  I am married to someone who is also highly educated and who, like me, believes in the value of education.  My children, I hope, will have access to post secondary education.

But I'm truly coming to the point of believing that schooling is merely a means to attaining the other, more important things in life.  And it's the more important things in life that I particularly crave for my children.

The other thing that's becoming very clear to me over the past few months is that my conclusions are leading me into uncomfortable territory...territory that I wish could remain unexplored...territory that had me experiencing my first ever full scale panic attack just weeks ago.

(to be continued)


  1. Ok, I really wasn't too far off. I had the basic idea. But I stand by that the 3 Rs would be a tool. :-) I think I would also include that my children are content and comfortable with who they are.
    I am enjoying this series, Ruth, as I usually do. What's next??

  2. I think that's right to leave it off the list... because Education/Schooling should serve the life vision, and not vice versa. Schooling is not an end in itself, or even the goal. (IMHO). It's very dangerous if schooling becomes the main goal, or if it becomes disconnected from a life vision, or if it serves an unethical life vision/purpose (like only serving economics and seeing children as future workers). Thank goodness there are many people who have thought about this for a long time... so you're entering their territory, Ruth! There are many friends there, even from 100 years ago... like Maria Montessori... she was amazing, if you go back and read her original writings (i can send you something great!), or John Dewey, or the Reggio Emilia folks... they've all taken up the same questions in various ways in their own contexts, something we all must do. But we are never alone in it. There are already some paths and some maps, and also new ones must be created for new times. We can't just follow the old paths... I think Maria Montessori would not really recognize or be impressed by what her 'schools' have become. Same with Waldorf... interesting ideas and still challenging in our times (Rudolph Steiner) but when anything becomes a 'method', I am pretty skeptical, because the original arose, like your own questions, in response to particular life circumstances and times. If it becomes a 'method, then it can be packaged and put in a kit and sold as "the way". All ways must be flexible and responsive. Ok. Starting to sound like a sermon so i'd better stop! We're back in class at the university so i'm probably getting too much in professor mode..sorry!.


  3. Thanks folks...and Jackie, much food for thought here...I've read a little about Maria Montessori but should really do more...she sounded pretty amazing and revolutionary.

    Gotta run, but know i'm loving the comments!!



    PS. All sermons welcome!