Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quotation of the Week: On Education

Timothy studying 10th grade biology in front of the warm wood stove

This year is our thirteenth year of home education, with one student graduated and in college. Home schooling is a lifestyle for us, a way of learning that applies both academic and "real life" study to the educational model for our family. As each child is different, so each one of our young people's education is slightly different as well. Some books and curricula get handed down, and others don't. For instance, we learned our lesson about attempting chemistry at home and plan to enroll the boys in co-op classes so that labs actually get done and might really work.

But we have many more successes than failures, and although I dread doing lesson planning each Sunday night for the following week, I enjoy having our young people close at hand, learning with them and experiencing their day firsthand. It simply works for us.

Jonathan reading To Kill A Mockingbird for 8th grade literature

As I thumbed through my rather scruffy Quotation Journal for a new quotation to post for this week, I came across a thought-provoking selection written by one of my favorite Church Fathers that I discovered via American Catholic's Saint-of-the-Day e-mails.

"What is nobler than to mold the character of the young? I consider that [s]he who knows how to form the youthful mind is truly greater than all painters, sculptors, and all others of that sort."
--Saint John Chrysostom

This quotation applies to all educators, not only those who teach their own young people. I have been in the classroom, earning very little money compared to the many hours I devoted to preparing lectures and grading exams and essays. At one point in my career as an adjunct instructor at the college level in the early 1990's, I figured out that I was earning about $2.50 per hour. Minimum wage at that time was $5.75, I think.

Educators, especially home educators, are obviously not teaching for the money. Most teachers barely make enough to live upon, and home educators don't get paid at all unless they tutor other people's children. Teaching is all about the thrill of imparting information, of teaching life skills that will benefit children throughout their lives, of discussing new (new-to-them, anyway) ideas and thoughts, of impressing the importance of hard work and virtue, of loving them right where they are while teaching them to grow and mature.

So as I post this quotation rather than write out lesson plans, I know that I do actually look forward to gathering most of my chicks together tomorrow morning and teach them more about our world, our history, our art and literature, our faith, and how to express these ideas in lively discussion and clear, concise writing.

On the journey with you,

1 comment:

paper roads said...

In my country, home educators get an allowance - $370 twice a year if you have one child, more if you have more. It's a tiny amount, but the giving of it is what matters - the message that home teachers are valid and valuable.


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