The real world that roars around the child as he goes to school is an utterly anti-educational world. If the school is really giving any education, the world is certain engaged day and night in ruining his education. For the world gives him things anyhow, in any order, with any result. The world gives him things without knowing that he gets them; the world gives him things meant for somebody else; the world throws things at him from morning till night, quite blindly, madly, and without meaning or aim; and this process, whatever else it is, is the exact opposite of the process of education. The modern child spends about three-quarters of his time getting uneducated. He is educated by the modern state school. He is uneducated by the modern state. —G. K. Chesterton
Our Homeschooling Philosophy
The previous quote summarizes in few words one of our most important reasons for homeschooling our children.
Like all parents, we have many fine aspirations for our children. We’d like them to develop both mentally and spiritually, and to use their talents to good purpose. There are many opinions, even among homeschoolers about what constitutes a proper education, and a great variety of curriculums and learning styles to consider. However, we believe that before focusing on what we’d like to teach our children we need to first create an environment in which they can learn effectively, and we have tried to make our home such a place.
Modern child development specialists, and some well-meaning parents worry about keeping children “stimulated” and “challenged”, but we are more concerned about the opposite problem. Many children, even those from privileged backgrounds, are bombarded with so many conflicting, incoherent influences that what they learn in school is just a drop in an ocean of competing “messages” and diversions. Who can blame them for “tuning out” much of what they hear and see; and who can predict which siren call they will follow?
In an affluent country with advanced technology and a free flow of information—all features of our civilization that we do not wish to suppress,—there is no way of “fixing” what is wrong with the educational system for children, except by homeschooling. What we hope to give our children, by providing a private, home-based education is simply a short reprieve from the tsunami of dubious distractions and misinformation that awaits them in the wider world.
We are not paranoid or fearful, and our family takes delight in some of the more creative, less decadent facets of popular culture. There is great good as well as great evil in all societies, and true liberty always includes the freedom to do wrong. The problem with the modern world is not sin, which will always be with us, but suffocating abundance, which young minds are not equipped to deal with. We do not seek to eliminate outside influences, but only to restrict them to a manageable, spiritually healthy, level.
We want our children to enjoy the independence and opportunities that await them as mature adults and try to use the time we have to help them learn to distinguish between things of permanent value, and those of fleeting interest. While they are young, however, we believe that limiting their exposure to the tempting time-wasters, soul-destroying sophistries, and deluge of diversions promoted by our consumerist culture is fundamental. We cannot give our children the best possible education, without first attending to the bane of “uneducation”.