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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Older Children and Home Learning

Sometimes I think we get it too much of a hurry for our kids to grow up. We prod and push them to smile, to crawl, to walk, to ride a bike.

But some children just will not cooperate with our schedules. Children who grew up to be radio broadcasters or famous speakers sometimes did not speak until they were toddlers. I once had an athletic friend who did not walk until she was three-years-old.

There are some thoughtful leaders, the types that have made famous speeches and been vastly influential for good, who have never enjoyed talking, at least not shallow chit-chatting.

There was a time when being thoughtful and quiet was an appreciated character trait. Young people were encouraged to take time to think before speaking, not to jump into a conversation too quickly, not to be flighty or too social.

I used to fret about how I needed to drum up "opportunities" for my youngsters to have "social experiences," partly believing the lie that home-schooled children aren't outgoing enough, but I have since repented.

I have learned to relax and trust; trust that God knows His times, trust that my children are maturing at their own rate. 

Without the outside pressure to perform in public, they have learned to listen to God, and have learned to tune in to find out who they are.

One child spent hours upon hours studying the history of "costume" and how to make patterns from scratch and sew beautiful clothing. She grabbed Harvey's and Pinneo's grammars and plunged herself deeply into language arts, writing page after page of poetry. She went on long walks to the library and bought classics to read such as Cervante's Don Quixote. She played with her younger siblings and created all sorts of pastry treats in the kitchen. She studied chemistry and anatomy so that she could learn everything available to aid her in her artistic pursuits. And she drew and drew, fantastic scenes and lovely ladies.

Another child has spent time building up his body; he regularly does calisthenics, goes on long morning runs, and works in the yard without being told. The rest of his time he spends reading theology books and thinking deep thoughts about God. He will spend hours on his face praying, and then, when the time is right, he will share his love of the Master in his booming voice with the enthusiasm of an 18th century evangelist. Funny, but we never assigned any of these books to him, and we never required him to do exercises or run, he just decided that these activities would be worthy of his time.

According to Dr. Raymond Moore, the Smithsonian Institute studied the common life influencing factors of twenty world-class geniuses and found them to be:

1) Warm, loving educationally responsive parents and other adults.
2) Scant association outside the family.
3) A great deal of creative freedom under parental guidance to explore their ideas, drilling as necessary.

Instead of being concerned for my children and their social life, I am relieved, thankful, hopeful, overjoyed!

When our oldest daughter at home did eventually take some college courses, she was a little bit intimidated at first, but it did not take very long until she realized just how blessed she was to have had all of that time to explore on her own. There are some things that she is learning that have helped her, but she is advanced in most of her classes, because she took advantage of her time and didn't just explore, but honed her skills until they were finely tuned. 

Besides, she really has no trouble being friendly, but in a very grounded, self-assured way. Unlike most young people, she knows who she is, she has a close walk with God, and this has stabilized her. Certainly, she is still discovering new things about herself in her relation to life, but not with the uncertainty of most people her age.

She has learned the lessons of being by herself and enjoying it, something that many adults have never had the time to do. 


  1. Thank you for this post! It has confirmed some things that God has been laying on my heart lately. God bless you!