According to G. K. Chesterton,
“The most essential educational product is Imagination.”
Thanks be to God, we’ve got that educational product in spades around here! 🙂
As I recently unpacked a 40+ pound box of homeschool supplies, and my hubby will be arriving home shortly bringing two ceiling-high bookcases and a desk… I’m anticipating a great time ahead of real preparation. And I am once again reminded how thankful I am that our family has the opportunity to homeschool, to educate our children in our home. May the Lord grant us grace, wisdom, strength, joy, and imagination as we continue onward!
In an essay, G. K. Chesterton says that “very young children… require to be taught not so much anything as everything.” What a responsibility! What a joy and privilege that I get to be up to my
elbows eyebrows in this teaching of everything. Additionally, he says, “the business done in the home is nothing less than the shaping of the bodies and souls of humanity. The family is the factory that manufactures mankind.” What a weighty thing it is to have a family to begin with, much less to carry this shaping and manufacturing on through the schooling and bookwork.
While I do work on educating little Evangeline about infant-level things (like rolling over, grabbing, sipping from a water bottle, shhh!, and other gross/fine motor skills), it is the boys who currently take the most curious outlook on life, who embrace education and imagination with such vigor that it cannot be contained to bookwork (nor would I want it to be)! Which brings me back to the reality of what education is, especially Christian education.
Education is not bound up solely within the spines of books, accomplished at desks and filed away only as dates, names, facts, and methods within the grey matter contained in the large copper-topped noggins of my little clan. I actually really like Wikipedia’s definition of education here, including “any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.” Pretty spot-on, in my book. As we go through our days (which occasionally do and sometimes don’t turn out according to plan…) educating our children, I frequently think about these words of G. K. Chesterton: “The little boy does not, by any means, always turn out according to plan. The little boy will present a series of problems in the course of twenty-four hours which could correspond to a Ford car bursting like a bomb or flying out of the window like an aeroplane. The little boy is individual; he cannot be mended with spare parts from another little boy… The most epoch-making scientific feats have been performed in a space no larger than a parlour or a nursery. A baby is bigger than a bacillus; and even the little boy is larger and more lively than a germ under the microscope. And the science studied in the home is the greatest and most glorious of all sciences, very inadequately indicated by the word education, and nothing less, at least, than the mystery of the making of men.”
In reading through Chesterton’s essay, The Library of the Nursery again this afternoon, I chuckle to myself at the idea that many people are thinking I am embarking currently on my first bout of homeschooling. On the contrary, I have been homeschooling for over five years already, and have three precious ginger students at this juncture. What a blessing. He says, “there are a fair number of modern places of residence in which the nursery is the best room in the house. It represents a very genuine and self-sacrificing ideal of the aesthetic education of children.” That’s something I want in every room of my home ~education even in the aesthetic~ because my children are integral in every room, as they are integral in our home and life. Each room is for them, and I want everything to encourage and nurture their education so that they are well-rounded children on their way to becoming well-rounded adults.
Now as we continue to educate our children with a Christian worldview in wild abandon, emphasizing God’s glory and the magical sparkle of His creation and ways, we are bringing in new books, screwing bigger bookcases to the walls, adding desks, sharpening pencils, dirtying the kitchen, frequenting the county library, reading, googling, talking, experimenting, experiencing, singing, catechizing, laughing, and living together… with hope and joy and trembling knees. Because this is big business, people. These little redheads under our roof? They are eternal beings. They are baptized members of Christ’s covenant. They belong to Him! They were created to learn about His world, and to glorify Him in it and through it. Forever.
So excuse me, please: my children are here, fit with incredibly active imaginations, and we’ve got books & projects (Veritas Press and Rainbow Resource are new “friends” of ours!) spread everywhere… because we’re in the business of educating here, and we’re asking for wisdom in the long haul. Thanks be to God, He is faithful. Amen.
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.