Thursday, March 15, 2012

Define Education

I know.  I know.  I know I don't have to have this all figured out right now.  My older son is 3 years old right now.  His birthday is in October.  Really we have 3 years before he will officially be considered school-age.  But we're seeing so many beautiful beginnings that it is sparking my planner instinct.

"Mommy, there's the word 'off'!"

"Mommy, I counted all the way to 18!"

"Mommy, why do cars stop when there's a red light?"

"Mommy, how come I can't be 1 again?"

So many questions.  The beginning to a beautiful journey of learning (and, yes, sometimes this journey drives me out of my skull).  I'm such a planner.  Every major trip in our family takes begins with a 3-page packing checklist.  No, I'm not even exaggerating about this.  So can you imagine as we try to chart a course for our firstborn's education?

I have several moms that I admire deeply.  One of them makes a personalized decision each year for each child whether they will be homeschooled or attend public or private school.  One year she had a child in private college, public school, and homeschool based on the needs and strengths of each child.  Now that is flexibility and faith in action.

So why do I feel like I need to have my child's educational course mapped out for the next 15 years?  I just don't want him to miss out on any opportunity to grow, to be challenged, to be shaped into the servant-man God wants him to be.  And so I grapple.

I pore through The Well-Trained Mind, imagining days of reading the classics aloud and studying Latin.  I slowly digest Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion and find myself in love with the idea of surrounding my sons with living books and a holistic approach to education.  And as I synthesize the thoughts of the two authors, I find myself with a mental picture of what I want to invest into my children's minds in the early years.

Curiosity.  Adventure.  Steadfastness.  Honesty.  Clarity.  Discovery.  Loyalty.  Honor.  Sacrificial love.

So many of these things found within the pages of great books.  All of these found within the pages of the Great Book.  And I slow down.  I take a deep breath.  And I remember first things first.  We will read the Word of God.  We will talk about it as we sit, as we walk along the way.  We will let it change us, convict us, shape us.  We will be different next year because of the way Truth has pierced our hearts.  And I will pray that the Holy Spirit starts this change in me. Today.

I don't have an answer right now for what our education will look like in a year or two.  I know what I want it to include, but I struggle with the desire to plan for a future when I don't even know who the characters in that scene will be or what they will be like.  Because by God's grace, we will change.  By God's grace, we will be just a little more like Him.  By God's grace, we will have wisdom to define education for our children because He promises wisdom to those who ask.

And we will ask.  And we. will. change.

Education: the method by which the mind, the heart, and the body changes.

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