One of the things I appreciate the most about the way Mom and Dad educated us is that they encouraged us to pursue areas we were interested in, to study topics that piqued our curiosity. That is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling – the flexibility to structure educational pursuits according to the needs and interests of each child. It’s a good thing, too, because there are plenty of things my sisters and brother are interested in that I’m not especially inclined to study. And I know that even the thought of cracking open the books I’m interested in reading gives some of my siblings a headache! So we’re free to follow our own paths and learn bits and pieces from each other as our different paths cross many times throughout the course of each day.
One area of particular interest for me is the history of Christianity. I found a great set of podcast lectures produced by the Reformed Theological Seminary. Just open up iTunes on your computer and download them for free! I listened to History of Christianity I last year and am just finishing up History of Christianity II. Next I plan to listen to History and Theology of the Puritans. My parents also got me the book, The History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century by J.H. Merle D’Aubigne, for Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading it this year. Delving even further back into the recesses of history, I’ve begun going through the amazing curriculum, Ancient Civilizations and the Bible by Diana Waring.
There are so many incredible resources available in our day and age! And it is so rewarding to study new topics and learn new things. I especially appreciated these wise words shared by Edith Schaeffer in her book, What is a Family?:
“Among other things, we need to discuss with each other or some other members of our families or close friends, the interesting subject of how much school hinders the real education of our children and where it is a help. To simply assume that school is an education is rather naive in this day and age, it seems to me. [And this was written in 1975!] Real education can be given in school and is in some schools, but can also be twisted so that it prevents and ‘turns off’ any curiosity in the basic areas of the search for real knowledge.”
The same evaluation can and should be made in the context of homeschooling. Real education can take place every day in the course of real life as we seek to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”1 Centering our educational pursuits on a proper understanding of the Source of all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding gives us a framework upon which we can build. In a family environment, it is this Source that provides cohesiveness as individual interests are encouraged and pursued. New pieces are learned and are added to the whole, so that our picture of reality is ever more complete and reveals more and more of the One who created all things, and by whom all things are held together.2 That is the thrill of learning new things!