First off, thank you Mylinda for encouraging me to pick up the pace… (smile)
We’ve had some interesting educational quandaries lately. One involves the kids and and their tutors at our ministry. (I pray they’re not reading). Apparently one of the teen tutors is having a little difficulty in division, a subject Marcus mastered with Math U See. I came in one day to deliver a book to Naomi and found her at the board working on a division problem. The teenager told me Marcus had been interrupting her as she was trying to explain problems, so I asked if I could stay and watch his classroom behavior. Naomi worked out the problem, leaving a remainder larger than the original divisor (i.e. 20 / 3 = 5 with a remainder of 5). In typical ADD fashion I myself pointed out the error without raising my hand first. (Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree. ) The teen vainly tried to explain to me that “this is the way they tell them to do it at school”, and pointed out some new anagram of the steps. The saddest part is that the tutor and all the kids thought she was right!
This easily could become a post about the failures of public schooling writ large, but I was more influenced by Marcus’ comments. He stated that he might want to wait to start (public) middle school because he was noticing the issues of some of the older students.
You see, the most important thing about that statement is that he is taking responsibility for his own educational choices. Not whether it was in homeschool or public, but that HE was making the choice based on his needs and not social, emotional or family pressures. It reinforces my belief that the greatest gift of this family learning journey is the identification of identity, the response to the understanding of responsibility over your own life. There can be no greater aim than the true meaning of ecucere, the Latin root of our word ‘educate’. It means ‘to lead out’. OUT. What are we leading out of our children? You can only lead out what is already in, not what is put in. To put into our children what is not naturally there can only lead to a rejection or a stagnation of the information. Knowledge must connect to wisdom, which must connect to real life application of God’s natural order in our lives and in our greater existence. Without that connection, our education throughout our lives is simply an appendage to our real selves, a tool outside the box only picked up out of curiosity and not necessity. As Agrippa falsely accused Paul, “Much learning has made you mad.” Or if not mad, at least bloated and unfulfilled, as I think many of our children are today with the information overload they are experiencing. I really hope someway we can encourage educators of every stripe to sense the great need for the removal of victimization in education to be replaced by the desire for individual responsibility, and with it the freedom to be one’s self as God intended.
Perhaps it is fitting then that we are reading a chapter of Proverbs each day in our church – one for each day in January. Wisdom is still calling in the streets in 2008. I think many in all walks of life should answer her call with the understanding that she holds us individually accountable for how we handle her teachings. And with that I will bid adieu until next time I’m inspired (or goaded 🙂 into writing more often.
Unto the hills,