heart of a Child ministries blog
about family life, mothering, homeschooling, farming, and the things that are important to the hearts of our children
As I watched our new chicks run around my children's feet, scratch the dirt, nibble at grass, and jump at bugs, I thought, " No matter how small, they just know what to do. God put the DNA inside of them that causes them to peck the ground and be chickens. They don't have to think about it - it just is - and we, as humans, for the most part, respect that. We don't try to turn them into cows and milk them. We see that they are chickens, we know what they do, we let them do it and we, in return, reap the blessings- eggs, meat, new chicks, enjoyment.
Then I looked at my kids and thought, "It should be the same with children." We should simply pay attention to what children naturally do, let them do it, and then reap the blessings as individuals, families and society.
As a whole, children are natural learners and explorers. Just like chickens are programmed to munch on bugs, children are designed to feast on life. God created them to stomp in dirt, watch butterflies, jump in puddles, dance to music, smell flowers, splash in water, and ask questions. When we simply give them the freedom to do this and answer their questions attentively, children learn naturally and beautifully.
As individuals, children are also uniquely created by God. One child has the DNA that makes her an artist, while another has what is takes to be a great scientist. My 5 year old son, Isaac, for example, naturally picks up sticks and logs outside and builds houses for the chickens, and "fires" and forts for himself. He is a natural builder. My son, Ben, age 16, on the other hand, was naturally enthralled with balls as a toddler and anything that rolled - including thunder. He is now a high school athlete and future meteorologist who like a chicken, knows who is, and does what he is designed to do.
I propose a society where there are less hard desks for young children behind closed walls and more families willing to let children be children in the natural setting of home. I propose that we change our idea of education and let children focus on what they are naturally drawn toward. Rather then teach them everything that there is to know at a young age, let our artists embrace art, our scientists embark upon wild experiments, and our children learn what it means to work together as family. While living, playing and working together, we as parents can simply answer their questions about life, then later, plug in any missing pieces through a more formal education that will equip them to be successful people. From what I have seen in my kids, they are more ready for this around 5th-7th grade.
I propose that this formal education is much simpler then what we currently have in place. For example, most should just be taught the math needed to live and work well in our world. Let's face it....do all of us really need to learn advanced algebra or trigonometry? No...only the natural math heads should take on such a feat..and they can! Yet basic math skills are enough for most of us to live successful lives.
We don't try to turn a chicken into a cow, so why are we trying to force our natural artists to be mathmeticians, and our musicians to be mad scientists? Wouldn't our kids be better off diving into and developing their God given gifts early rather then spending the majority of their lives memorizing facts that they'll forget a week later? I am convinced that if we prioritized letting our kids be kids in the context of family -focusing on their natural interests first - then learning any important skills and facts that they missed, later, we would all be blessed. We would see far more happy, confident, God-respecting, thirteen year old Mozarts, Galileos, and future great spouses, moms and dads in a thriving culture - and far less confused and lost teenagers in a dying society.
So let's trust how God created us to be. Let's let our chickens be chickens, our children be children, our artists be artists, and our mathmeticians be mathmeticians, and we will all reap the blessings.
(I recognize that for some, this model is impossible. Yet I know that there are many out there who are considering homeschooling. I hope that this post gives you the encouragement to do so or to look into it further... For it will bless you and your family abundantly!)
Comments welcome! All thoughts appreciated!
Nikki is a Catholic homeschooling mother, author, artist, speaker and founder (inspired by her daughter in prayer) of Heart of a Child Ministries. She writes about her experiences as a wife and mother, homeschooler and hobby farmer.