As the start of the upcoming school year approaches, it reminds me of how we all reassess our methods and materials. No matter how long you’ve been homeschooling, it seems that everyone, year round or not, tries to revamp things a little at the end of the summer.
One of the things I have noticed is how many curriculums approach learning with the mentality of “filling” our children’s minds. Somehow we have gotten it into our heads that we need to fill our children’s minds with facts and information. I’ve even heard analogies of thinking of our children as a jar, and we need to fill them with the important things. I used to understand this thinking, and I would decide what were the most important facts to pour into my children. Now, I don’t agree with this.
Our children are not containers, waiting to be filled with information. They are living individuals, who are growing and changing. If we are thinking of our kids as needing to force information into them, then that’s what will happen. Our children will be crammed with facts that do little to help them grow into the individuals God intended for them to be.
We all know our children’s bodies grow and change physically, and yet when it comes to their minds, we don’t appreciate the changes and growth that occur. As we are raising our children we need to see them as individuals that need to be cared for and pruned. By repeatedly just giving them more and more facts, we aren’t focusing on the beautiful creations they are.
If your goal is to create highly knowlegable adults, then by all means fill away. You will succeed. Then your highly knowlegable son/daughter will make that the focus of their adult life. They will constantly seek to learn more, making it their focus in life. Terms like “Knowledge is power” will be their motto. Then they can go on to teach your grandchildren lots and lots of facts. They, too will see their children as jars to be filled, and the cycle will continue. But this is not what God commands us to do.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I once was told by a very highly educated individual that college was a necessity so that one would be able to have interesting things to say at parties. Hmm. Is this your goal for your children? Why are you teaching them?
“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Information and facts can be very helpful in training-up our children, with the right focus. As you are discipling your children to be Godly individuals, you will see when facts and information will be extremely helpful to their development. Learning about plants, animals, and other earth sciences is a wonderful opportunity to rejoice in the creations God has made. Learning about early church history can be helpful to see how churches have changed. I don’t think that learning and educating are bad things, but rather need to be done with the right intent and focus.
There will be many times when your child will seek to learn things that interest them. Many times these are perfect opportunities to allow your child to develop into who they want to become. Sometimes, however, their interest may not be a positive influence in their lives. It is our job as parents to watch what information and facts they are trying to learn. This knowledge will help in the shaping of your child. If it is negative, and not honoring to God, the seed may grow into something you had never suspected. Our children’s minds are so young and immature that we need to guard them. The information they gain is not something that can later just be taken back out.
As you approach this coming year, ask yourself:
- “What is the goal of my children’s education?”
- “Do I have my priorities and focus in the right place?“
- “How best can I go about implementing this?”
Value your children’s minds, as they need to be, helping them to grow and mature as God intended.