Sunday, April 26, 2009

Education & the Creation of a Beautiful Family Culture

We do believe that education is the transmission of culture and we have a clear vision for the culture that we want to convey to our kids. We have developed our vision (who we are), our mission (what we do) and our goals clearly. We find that many families, churches and communities don't and it shows. I also believe that younger children need specific guidance, and older children/youth/young adults, need mentoring to do "hard things" even when their interests and passions veer them in a different direction. Academic discipline has, after all, many other applications. Having said that, finding opportunities that will jazz your kids and allow their passions to blossom is really cool (and in my case has stretched me a lot, too). I am an opportunity seeking Momma. I'm always on the lookout for people, tools, experiences that might fit one of my kids. It's a lot of work and we've invested in some things that have "bombed" but we've also invested in some things that have been super amazing. Our kids work hard but they also have a lot of free time to play, wander fields, imagine, and read. We've had unique opportunities given to us and sought out, but we have, to an extent, turned away from status quo. People in church and the community rave about our kids, their maturity, intelligence, passion, ability to speak publicly, etc. but still think we're a little "odd" because we've homeschooled for so long, have a large family, etc. I actually had a long-time friend say to me, "we all want the benefits of homeschooling, but we don't want to make the sacrifice." I say all of that because if you really develop a proactive, carpe diem paradigm by which to raise your children you will be radical indeed! I have found that as I've really sought out education for our kids I've had to sacrifice my own laziness, indifference, lack of education, pleasure seeking self and get educated. This has caused me to grow. For instance, in the past 2 years I have really learned grammar. I can write- have written a thesis, write for fun, etc, but I never really got grammar. And I've discovered that it's fun, it's empowering and I can DO IT. I can write better, speak better, understand people better, think better, teach my kids better. Next, I am going to get off my lazy rocker and move on in Latin with my kids. I am still a little intimidated, but not so much so that I'm not doing it. We ditched the T.V. years ago, for many reasons (I highly suggest "Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman) but one of them is that is sucks the time out of our day and replaces it with the average and mundane. We limit computer usage and have no electronic toys. Our kids are very adept at electronics, love them, play them with friends, but I'd rather that we talk, read, go outdoors, or just have the space to think our own thoughts. I want my kids to be passionate about things of the heart and when they sit in front of a screen listlessly for lengths of time, they become apathetic about everything. We talk a lot to and with our kids. We take our kids to a lot of adult activities as well. We include our kids in our lives, thoughts, faith, hobbies and work. We invest our selves in our kids. Our lives are oriented around our vision for our family. It is a rich and satisfying way to live and our kids are creative, intelligent, passionate people. We have gone from homeschooling our kids to "creating a beautiful family culture." We have sought a vision that is big enough to contain our hopes and dreams for our "living legacy," (i.e. children) and it has been a wild ride for sure and for certain but one that we wouldn't do over!

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