Last year, I published a series of weekly devotional posts for homeschooling moms called Mom Monday. Fifty-two weeks later, it is time for a new series. A new series for a new year. Introducing Thoughtful Thursday, a collection of essays about homeschooling and how it forces everybody to think outside the box. In some cases, it forces people to think. Period.
It’s sad, I know, but some people go through life without thinking, simply accepting the status quo, just believing everything that is handed down to them by the previous generation, and feeling scared and challenged when someone comes along doing a new thing.
When I started this blog, I knew I was going to focus on homeschooling. I also knew that homeschooling touches so many aspects of our lives – because it is a lifestyle – that it inevitably brings about some basic questions about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Which is why a personal friend unfriended me on Facebook and declared herself “highly offended” by one of my posts on socialization, for instance. She chooses to put her children in public school and once told me, “I believe in public school.”
Well, I believe in God. And when God called me to homeschool my kids, I listened. I wish I could say that I accepted the calling right away. As some of you may know, it was a struggle and I bothered quite a few homeschooling moms online with my questions. But, finally, the Holy Spirit prevailed and I surrendered.
Homeschooling brings about a revolution of ideas and concepts which people take for granted. Revolutions aren’t pretty. People get hurt.
Warren Buffet is quoted to say that “simple is not always easy.” While homeschooling is a simple concept to grasp – parents taking responsibility for their children’s education – it is not easy to accept and execute.
Which is why I love homeschooled kids doing TED talks, like Logan LaPlante or Jacob Barnett. They fly in the face of traditional school options and prove school psychologists wrong. Take, for instance, Jacob Barnett’s case. He was diagnosed with autism and his parents were told he would never speak or amount to much. A few years later, he taught himself advanced math in two weeks so he could sit in this one particular calculus class.
One day, when a particular theorem bothered him, he started working on it obsessively. His mom brought a Princeton professor to look at his calculations and try to prove him wrong. The professor told his mom, “Your son is right in everything he put forth.”
In a nutshell, his talk encourages us to do three things, in this order:
1. Stop learning
2. Start thinking
3. Start creating
We will look at these three steps for the first three weeks of Thoughtful Thursdays. This first week is an invitation to stop learning. That’s right. This home educator is asking you to stop learning.
Unless you forget what you know, you will never be able to advance past the generation that just handed you the knowledge they have. Jacob Barnett gives poignant examples of geniuses like Newton and Einstein following the above three steps. And that’s how science was pushed further. No doubt, Jacob Barnett is a genius. All homeschool kids do not have to be like him or revolutionize science or be interviewed by Glenn Beck.
But there is something to be said about forgetting what we know and looking for a new path. A thoughtful path. A homeschooling path.
I invite you to stop learning, start thinking, and start creating this year. Forget what you know and open yourself up to new thoughts and ideas. Join me here on Thursdays for a thoughtful discussion about what education means.