Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Metabolics and Homeschool Philosophies

I've found two child-rearing "rules" so far.  They're complicated so pay attention. 

1. Follow Biblical guidelines. 
2. Let each child be their own person. 

Ok, maybe not so complicated. 

I don't expect my children to be the same as each other or the same as their friends. I don't expect them to like the same things or develop on the same schedule. And that's good. You know why? Because they aren't the same!  If you compared me with twenty five of my peers chosen solely by location we might not even be on the same page. I would look incompetent compared to some of them and I might be a genius compared with some others. Wouldn't comparing me with myself yesterday or last month be a more accurate way to discern what I'm learning? 

You see, in some things, Micah's "behind." Behind the average, I mean. (Although what exactly is an average child? I don't think I've ever met one.)  In a lot of things Micah is not "behind" at all. He has strengths and challenges and he will face them all his life. I will not teach him to give his challenges a name and dismiss them. We're going to work on them. We're going to take our time. 

How much of this is related to his IVA? I can only guess but probably a good amount of it. The official paperwork states that 50% of babies live through the crisis. And then that some of them make a full recovery. We're not at full recovery mode yet but if he continues as he has been we'll be there in a year or two (or four) I think. 

All of these factors force me to think about education. I find most modern (American) educational standards and philosophies to be a bit ridiculous. Ok, a lot ridiculous. My five or six or seven year old does not need to spend 7+ hours a day away from his family, sitting in a desk, surrounded by children his own age. How is that developmentally appropriate? And I don't really care if he tests the same as the next kid. Or reads when the neighbor's boy does. Or does math at the same level as his brother. I want him to be his best. 

I find I'm not alone in this outlook. 

Matt Walsh (in case I haven't told you, I love his blog) weighed in on this subject recently. Also just google "delayed academics" for starters. You can go from there.   

This is not an uncommon stance. Education can be tailored to the abilities and challenges of each child instead of to test questions. Quite a few homeschool advocates are also advocates of allowing children to develop at their own pace instead of pushing them to adapt to the timeline of "normal."  (And maybe even let them be children instead of pushing testing at such young ages.)

If an "expert" told me that my piano playing wasn't good enough because someone else was learning quicker or had a more natural inclination to playing I would want to quit. Why? Because I can't compete with them. I can only work with what I have. If I didn't quit, I would grow to hate it. Instead of enjoying what I was learning I would be consumed with what I wasn't doing yet. Is that any way to go through years and years of school?  

Micah and I have started preschool this year and he's doing great. And by preschool I mean that we're playing games, reading, and singing songs. Really, we aren't doing much new; I'm simply keeping track of it for my own benefit.  It's fun to learn what works for him and what his strengths and challenges are.

Now here's to letting him learn on his own schedule. No comparisons. No pushing. 

(Of course I'm not talking about not pushing him to do his best. I want my children to learn to do THEIR very best. I'm talking about not pushing him to be, or to do, like someone else.)

I know plenty of people, my husband and myself included, who went successfully through a public or private school system. What about you? What led  you to your educational choices? How are they working out for your family? 


  1. Hi Lisa! I agree with your thoughts on education. My daughters are in a Christian school, grades 2 and 5. I cannot say that I am completely happy. They have so much work, homework and projects to do, it is ridiculous! The amount of our week that we spend on schoolwork is a burden. I would much prefer to homeschool, but my husband is not on board with that. I don't understand why we have to push our kids so hard, especially in a Christian school. How can your children spend time in devotions and in the Word when they are so bogged down with homework every night. It's a shame. And I believe, so unnecessary!


    1. Proud of your following your husband! God can use any situation if we just obey Him. I hope you get something more balanced in terms of schoolwork though. That would be very frustrating.