We start our 9th official year of our learning adventure Monday. Last night I was talking to a stranger about homeschooling who commented I wasn’t really homeschooling four kids because Doodlebug is only three and too young for school, really. As I wondered about how to respond, I thought how skewed our thinking of educating our children has become. “Homeschooling” is really just a natural extension of the education we started when our children join our family. Tunewalker and I really started our “teaching” journey April 26, 1998–the day Happy Girl was born. I taught her how to nurse, and I’ve never stopped teaching her. “Homeschooling” is really just a natural extension of the education we started when our children joined our family.
Charlotte Mason has had a profound influence on how I view education. One of her beliefs was: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” It’s so true! We bring our children home from the hospital (unless they were privileged to be born at home!) to a home that’s been specially prepared for them. We bathe, diaper, nurse and snuggle with them, creating an atmosphere of love and peace. As they grow, we gently help them learn the discipline of sleeping through the night then later, how to wait patiently while Mama quickly finishes a task before she attends to their needs. Outside on walks we point out the birds and flowers teach their names, and to praise the Father in Heaven who created nature for us to enjoy. We set the table and slowly help our toddler count out 6 forks or spoons until they can count themselves. We casually ask children to “bring me your blue shoes” or”let’s play with the yellow ball today” until they know their colors.
Before you know it, children have learned how to eat, drink, talk, walk, and things like their numbers and colors and you played a big part! How? Not with tiresome flash cards and charts (though these may have their places later in the process), but naturally. You were there and created a lifestyle of learning every day. So if you are like my friend Julie, who is just beginning to think about how to educate her sweet little girl next year, take heart–you’ve already had several years of practical on the job training and you didn’t even know it!