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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Remembering 9/11. I’ve been pondering on this for most of the day. What are we to remember? And why? To what end? We each have our own personal memories of that fateful day. We can all remember where we were when we heard the news. We can all remember what we were doing. Most importantly, we all remember vividly how it made us feel…what our emotions and reactions were. And we all remember that things just didn’t seem to be the same for quite some time afterwards.

I remember how a nation…my nation, the land of my birth…turned to God and to prayer. I remember particularly the tolling of the bell on Temple Square a few days later when the president of our nation declared a National Day of Prayer and the leaders of my church presented devotional addresses and song in the historic tabernacle on Temple Square. I watched by television from my home far from Temple Square. The tolling of that bell brought a curious peace into my heart. I cannot tell why. I watched the video that was made of that devotional again today with my family. The tolling of that bell had the same peaceful effect upon me. I still cannot tell why. I do know that at that time, that devotional brought peace into my soul again. It grounded me and made me remember…there’s that word again…it helped me to remember the things that are most timeless and important in my life. My family, my God and religion, the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. I suppose that the things I was remembering were not at all unlike those that Captain Moroni hoped to get his people to remember at a particularly troubling time in his own nation’s history (see Alma 46:12). Remembering these things brought me great peace.

What else do I remember? I remember the sacrifice of those heroes of that particular day; their disregard for their own lives as they sought to help the injured and dying. Their sacrifice is…as all such sacrifices are…a mirror of the great sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He who died that we all might live again…that we all might be reunited with our loved ones. Yes, I remember the heroes of that day…such sacrifice requires great reverence on our parts…we who remember.

I also remember the freedom and liberty of our country…and I remember others…other great men and women…our founding fathers and mothers who in like manner sacrificed so much that we might enjoy the freedom and prosperity which we daily enjoy. They were not concerned only with their own comforts and needs…no, they had much greater views and were willing to sacrifice their own comforts and needs…even their very lives…for those greater views…for us, their children. They have bequeathed to us a great legacy of liberty. Do we appreciate it? Do we protect and perpetuate it? What will be our legacy to our children and grandchildren?

Having studied the Old Testament, I remember the children of Israel. Their’s was a long history of remembering and forgetting. We are so much like them. It reminds me of another scripture from modern day revelation, “In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.” ( D&C 101: 8 ) Yes…we do that too…just like the children of Israel did anciently. We too have been promised over and over again in scripture that if we will turn to the Lord, we will prosper in the Land…but we so often forget.

The Father of our country counseled us in his farewell address,

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (see George Washington’s Farewell Address).

I’ve heard a number of people comment on their memories of that day…how a nation seemed to pull together to comfort each other…and how a nation…our nation…also turned unashamedly to God and to prayer.

That is what I want to remember. That is what I want our nation to remember and to not forget. Love of God and of fellowman. (see Luke 10:27) Two quotes illustrate this for me today. Both are from the book One Bright Shining Hope by Gordon B. Hinckley.

“Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing. We can be a little more kind. We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving. We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our homes, in our places of employment, in our social activities.”

Isn’t this one of the things that we all remember of that day? Isn’t this one of the things we seem to have forgotten? Let us remember again. And let our remembering motivate us to proper action.

This same prophet of God in these latter days has said,

“None of us is wise enough to make it on our own. We need the help, the wisdom, the guidance of the Almighty in reaching those decisions that are so tremendously important in our lives. There is no substitute for prayer. There is no greater resource.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley from his book One Bright Shining Hope). 

Prayer…no greater resource.

Yes, these are the things that I want to remember of that day…these are the things that I want to remind my children of…these are the things that I hope we will all remember.

RC

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Note: Because of its length, this blog has been published in two parts. I like the second part best! Don’t miss it.

Okay, it’s been almost one full week since public schools released the children to their families in our part of the world. I’m starting to hear it almost everywhere I go…”I can’t wait for school to start again.”…no, not from children…from their parents, usually mothers. I must say that I sympathize. There are some summer days when I too cannot wait for school to start again…for different reasons. Not so that I can rid my home of all these pesky children who live with me, but so that the neighbor kids will go back to school and I can have my children to myself again. I’ve had to make rules and set limits on how much time is open for the neighbor kids to hang around. I’ve had to set limits to what time they may come knocking at our door each morning. I know….I’m sounding like the summertime grinch and you are wondering whatever happened to the Kool-Aid mom. Well, don’t look for her here, she doesn’t live here. No, this mom likes lots of time with her children. Oh, I don’t mind play dates here and there…on my time frame, it’s just having the neighbors over all day, every day, and at all hours that I object to. Okay…in honesty this isn’t so much a problem anymore. After many summers, the neighborhood kids have learned the rules and also understand what kind of behavior is expected in our home, so summers glide by pretty smoothly.

But for mothers who are already at their wits end with having their own children home for the summer, perhaps I can offer some tidbits to consider. Oh, I know, this “advice” is coming from a strange quarter. After all, what public schooling mom wants to read what a home schooling mom has to say about their summertime woes? But bear with me sisters, I appreciate your woes, and truly, maybe I have something to say that may be of use to you. After all, I am used to having my children home all day, and every day.

Decompression

While you are feeling more pressure at having your children home all day, what your children are likely feeling is disequilibrium resulting from a phenomenon called decompression. In the home schooling community, many call it detox, and some home school “authorities” believe that the process of decompressing from the heavily structured public school environment takes one full month for each year that a child has spent in school. But if your child is beyond 2nd grade and you only have three months of Summer vacation ahead of you, don’t despair. I personally believe that children are very resilient and that they can rather quickly make progress in learning to self-direct their activities in constructive ways.

Consider what is happening for your child; all of the pressure is suddenly off for your children and perhaps they don’t know quite what to do with so much freedom…or maybe they know just what they want to do with their days but you don’t like their choices.

Your children are used to having every moment of every day structured for them. They are used to the rush to get up in the morning, grabbing a bite to eat and running out the door. A bell rings at certain intervals of the day directing them as to when it is time to move to the next class. Evenings are filled with homework, youth activities, soccer practice, music lessons, etc. And now, with the advent of summer, they are plunged into a world of seeming emptiness. Long hours stretch before them each day which they are at a loss as to how to fill. Their days are no longer structured by someone else and they haven’t yet learned how to do this for themselves. Not only that, but they’ve been looking forward to Summer vacation for months and now they don’t know what to do with it. Without someone telling them what to do, they are “bored”.  Normal behavior in this kind of situation is fighting and bickering with siblings, whom they are not used to spending whole days and weeks at a time with; and long hours in front of screens such as TV and computer, alternated with sighs and declarations of boredom.

So what’s a mom to do? Here are some tidbits to consider from a mom who has her children home pretty much 24/7 year round.

Don’t try to entertain them all summer.

Oh sure, schedule some carefree days at the beach, a picnic for lunch, or maybe even a day at the zoo but definitely don’t feel like it is your job to entertain your children all summer long with trips that are extremely structured and which take a lot of planning. Don’t line up their summers with camps and swimming lessons, and more of the same pressure and heavy structure that they get all year. Let your children have the summer as a time to relax, decompress, and enjoy unstructured playtime. Give them time to learn to self-direct their activities…summertime is the perfect opportunity for that.

Do organize and share responsibilities for chores in your home.

Help your children to understand that it is not Mom’s job to do all the cleaning and cooking. At our home the mantra is “Do you live here? Then you must help with whatever chores need doing. It’s as natural as waking up in this home.” If my children complain about chores…and yes, even my perfect little cherubs often complain, all I generally need to say is “Do you live here?” I usually get a wry smile with a “Yes, Mom” and off they go to complete their family responsibilities.

Children need to understand that they have their own personal chores first. They are responsible for their personal belongings and space. And then they are also responsible to help with shared space and belongings. The way that chores are divided differs substantially from one family to the next, so I cannot make any definite recommendations which would be right for all families; but what I can say is that all families need a system. It might be as simple as having the family all work together for an hour in the mornings or afternoons to accomplish what is needed. It might be more structured with certain family members being given responsibility for certain chores on a regular or on a rotating basis, or a combination of things like this. Our family uses both of these systems at different times.

So sit down and define what needs to be done and then think about what would be the best way for your family  to accomplish those things. Include the children. Not only will they have some great ideas, but they will also feel some ownership for their part and some sense of community with the family to do what is needed so that things run smoothly. How much nicer for them…and for you…than having Mom or Dad dictate what they will do and then nag about it later.

And while you are at it, don’t forget to spend time actually teaching your children what it is exactly that you expect. What does a good job really look like? How do you go about it? What hints can you give to expedite the job or to make it a little more fun?

And finally, work alongside them. I grew up with a father who did this well. Saturday mornings were cleaning time at our house. Dad put on the music nice and loud, and we all worked together until it was done. It was fun working alongside of Dad…somehow it didn’t seem so much like a chore then.

Do make a list of suggested activities if they are bored.

Your children are used to having each moment directed. It’s natural for them to look to an adult to tell them what to do and how to structure their days. Help them to see that it is now their opportunity and privilege to self-direct their activities. Make a list of suggestions and post it on the refrigerator. Let them help make the list. Come up with as many things that they might choose to do as you can think of. This list might include some questions for them to think about or some observations for them to make…not just things to do. Here’s a beginning:

  • Read a book.
  • Draw or paint a picture of something you see outdoors.
  • Build a tower with the blocks.
  • Play a board game with a sibling.
  • Make a snack for the family.
  • How many different birds can you see or hear in the backyard?
  • How many colors can you see in nature?
  • How many living things can you count in the backyard?
  • Water the garden or the grass.
  • Put together a puzzle.
  • Straighten the silverware drawer.
  • Write a story about…
  • Start a nature journal.

These are just a few things that come to my own mind in about the  two minutes it took to write it. You and your children will be able to brainstorm quite a long list.

Don’t make chores a punishment for being bored.

This is a huge temptation for parents. “Oh, you are bored? Here I have a list of chores you can choose from.” Really, I suspect that what we really want as parents is a sense of community about chores and a feeling that everyone simply must do their part. Oh sure, you can include some of the chores that need to be done in the home on your list of suggested activities if they are bored, but don’t make it a punishment. Instead, let them choose to clean out that cupboard if they want to and then help them feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment at a job well done. “Wow! That cupboard looks so good! Doesn’t it make you almost want to leave it open and just look at it? How much nicer this will be for our family.” For those of you who are saying “Yeah right…my child would never choose to clean out the cupboard”, may I suggest that you stop making chores a punishment or a negative for a while and just see what happens? My children are a little older now…ages 10-20, but they quite regularly will clean out a cupboard or do an extra chore willingly…and with no extrinsic reward. I have one son who is OCD about my silverware drawer. It really bugs him when it is a mess and he is always straightening it out. (Now if I could just find a way for him to be OCD about his bedroom…but that is another blog.)

Find part two of this blog here.

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Memorial Day…my Grandma called it Decoration Day. Most of my most cherished and valued memories of this day are tied up with memories of my Grandma. I used to go with my grandparents each year as they went and decorated the graves of the loved ones and ancestors in our family…and there were a lot of graves to visit. We visited multiple cemeteries. Who knew that there were so many cemeteries? It seemed that my grandparents knew of every small and hidden cemetery for miles around…and we visited each one…every year. I think that my Grandma couldn’t bear it if a family member or relative that she knew of went unremembered on that day.

In my memories, Memorial Day was usually a beautiful day heralding the beginning of Summer. In Utah where I grew up, it was also (appropriately) a day heralding the end of school and the beginning of the freedom of the Summer months. And as my grandma taught me, it was a day of remembering. As we placed flowers on each grave, Grandma told me what she knew of each person. I wish I had listened better…I don’t remember all of the stories. But I do remember what she taught me…a love, respect, and appreciation for those who came before.

I don’t live near enough to go and decorate the graves of my loved ones now, but I keep Grandma’s tradition in my own way. We have a beautiful cemetery near us…our very own little Arlington Cemetery. Our community does a beautiful job each year putting up full size flags along all the walkways, each with the name of a veteran who is buried in this cemetery. It is a display that never fails to tug at my heartstrings and bring tears to my eyes. I take my children there. It is now a tradition in our family. We’ve lived in this community long enough that we know many of those who are now buried there…and I tell my children what I remember of them as we visit their graves.

I cannot visit the graves of my own mother, grandparents, and loved ones…but I think of them as I visit the graves of someone else’s mother, grandmother and loved ones…and I feel closer to my own.

We walk through the cemetery…each year…and we look for the stones that point out the veterans of WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam. We identify the ways that they served. We note that some of them paid the ultimate price as they died during the conflicts for which they are honored. We talk about how each gave their lives, both by living and by dying they gave their lives. We honor those unknown to us…those names on a stone…whose service to us was to preserve the blessings of liberty that we enjoy today.  We also look for the oldest markers that we can find and imagine what life must have been like for them as they came here and settled in this part of the world. So far, the oldest marker we have found in this cemetery is for Warren G. Rea who died in 1896 at the age of 21 years.

Each year, it puts my mind on a trail of thoughts and memories. This year, a phrase keeps running though my mind “those who gave their lives that this nation might live.” …from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It seems that it is so throughout all of history. We honor many men and women, sometimes for the most trivial of things, but those for whom we reserve the highest honor are those who gave their lives that others might live…and that they might live more abundantly. We save our greatest honors for those who give their lives in preserving our liberties…our freedoms…for they paid the dearest price that we might have something better than we might have had.

I think first of our founding fathers and mothers…those known and those unknown. I passed through my public education without any real understanding or reverence for these men and women and their service to us. But I am making up for that as I teach my children. I remember the first stirrings in my heart as I taught these things to my children. I remember how the tears would blur my eyes and I would choke up as I read to my children of the sacrifices of these men and women. I would have to stop reading for a moment to regain my composure. Along with my children, I was beginning to learn of and to understand what had been done for us. I remember how the music and patriotic songs began to take on more meaning to me…sometimes I could hardly sing the words. I used to wonder…I still wonder…would I have been like them had I lived in their time and had to make the choices that they made? Would I have been a patriot then?…or would I have opted for the relative or perceived safety of the title “Tory”? Would I have fought on the side of freedom?

I think of the courage of these founding fathers and mothers as they fought against such great odds to obtain for us the freedoms we enjoy. They could have gone on and lived a life of relative ease compared to the lives that they did choose, but they didn’t think only of themselves and of ease…they had far greater things in mind. They gave up much…they gave all. And because of them, we are the ones to enjoy lives of relative ease…a gift bequeathed to us by our fathers and mothers who cared more for our lives than for their own. We owe a special dept to these who laid the foundation for freedom in our own country. I wonder if we fully comprehend? I wonder if we fully value this priceless gift?

As I study and learn more of history, I find that there are those who were “freedom fighters” in many countries…those like William Wallace and Joan of Arc who also gave their lives for freedom. I am also inspired by them. There are so many and I’m just beginning to learn about some of them. I want to be like them.

I think of all of those who gave their lives that I might have the words of truth and religious liberty in my life. John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther and so many others…those who gave their lives and personal liberty that I might have the Bible that is so dear to my heart. I think of others, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph Smith…and so many others…founders of the restoration. Those who sacrificed so much. Through their sacrifices, I have the Book of Mormon which I also treasure so greatly. I think of my pioneer ancestors who gave up lives of comfort and ease, and often their very lives, that they might bring the gospel to a land where it could flourish and grow. Oh, how my life would be so very, very different without the actions of these courageous and visionary men and women. When I read and ponder on the stories of my ancestors that my Grandmother has kept or recorded for me, I think with gratitude what a debt I own to these fathers and mothers…and I never want to take for granted what they have given me.

And then I think of He who paid the ultimate cost…our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Here I run out of words. There are no words, really. Maybe there is music to match the feeling and my simple understanding, but there are no words. I was once asked to speak briefly to a group of my sisters at church on this subject. I always feel so small at the enormity of such a task. The Savior’s atonement for us is not fully comprehensible to me. I understand only so much and when I try to contemplate the enormity of it all, my mind folds in on itself. I can only understand on the simplest of levels what my Savior has done for me.

I think of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane kneeling and suffering for me…for us all. I try to comprehend what he endured. I cannot begin to understand that sorrow that He must have felt, yet I have known sorrow in my life. I have felt the pain of sin in my life…that crushing feeling when I know that I’ve done wrong and I can’t fix it by myself. I’ve felt the pain and sorrow when my words or actions have hurt another. I’ve felt the struggle as I’ve determined to do better and still come up so heartbreakingly short, so often…and then I’ve felt the miraculous forgiveness and relief as my Savior carries that burden for me…as He makes me clean an pure again and ultimately fixes all that is wrong in my life.

I cannot begin to comprehend the pain that our Savior felt, but I have known pain in my life. I’ve endured pain and sickness that was more than I thought I could bear…and then I’ve felt the relief come as I prayed or was blessed and that burden was also lifted…by and because of my beloved Savior.

I can’t imagine the loneliness that my Savior must have felt alone in the garden, but I have known loneliness in my life, and then felt peace as that loneliness was replaced by the companionship of the spirit…a gift from my Savior for which I am worthy to receive only through and because of Him.

I cannot begin to comprehend the grief that Jesus must have felt, but I have felt grief and great sorrow in my own life for my own loss for loved ones who have died and as I’ve watched others in their sorrows over lost loved ones. That grief is only assuaged as I remember the price that my Savior paid so that we will all live again…that glorious hope and understanding that I can again put my arms around my loved ones who have gone on before me, and feel their arms around me. Again…an incomprehensible gift form our Savior Jesus Christ. Truly, He has born all our sorrows and carried all of our burdens.

Truly, all that matters most in my life is a result of someone else’s sacrifice.

I consider and think about all of these things…

And then I consider my own responsibilities. Is it mine just to simply enjoy these great blessings, or is there some part that I must play? I think again of Abraham Lincoln’s words in the Getttysburg Address…“It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…” Unfinished work…Unfinished work! Yes, it is indeed an unfinished work…still. There are many today who still persevere in that unfinished work…serving and sacrificing at great cost that others might have life more abundantly. And I too have a part to play. I must also do my part to preserve and perpetuate all of these freedoms which have been bequeathed to me! When I think of this, I think that there must be some great or grand thing that I can do. My mind searches to grab hold on what it is that I can and should do. And then the spirit whispers that there is indeed a great and grand thing that I can do…and like all great and grand things, it begins with something small and simple. I can…and I must…do as my grandmother did, I must teach my children. I must help them to remember and to understand…and to revere. I must teach them to recognize, to cherish,  to protect and to perpetuate the freedoms that we have been given…and the price that is ever paid for such freedom. I must kindle in their hearts the flame that has been kindled in mine…and I must ever guard and protect that flame. May we all so do…

RC

Gettysburg Address

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

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I’m sitting outdoors. The sun is warm on my back, but the air is cool on my face. The many different birds are singing their many different songs, and I can smell that fresh almost-Summer smell in the air. My daughter and I just saw the first hummingbird of the season fly by as we were “doing spelling” a moment ago. I can hear my son in the music room practicing his violin. My oldest daughter is sewing a project for a friend, but if it weren’t for that, she too would most likely be basking in the sun while doing her studies…as she was yesterday. My youngest son finished most of his studies for the day and spent much of the morning working getting his other responsibilities done so that he can go to his lawn mowing job up the street…now he is sitting in the hammock with a couple of pillows and a book on astronomy. And our sweet Annie dog, a smallish Irish setter, is alternately basking in the sun and chasing after the critters that come into her domain.

It is moments like this that I am so very content. Gratitude fills my heart that I live in a time and a place where I am free to educate my children in the manner that I deem best. We are free to live our lives in an easy and natural pace and flow. When the weather is nice like this, we don’t sit gazing longingly out the windows. No, we take our studies outdoors…or even abandon them for a while as we truly connect with life and with nature. It is the same in the Winter. We don’t have to wait for “snow days” to be released from the classroom to enjoy the relative novelty of snow in our part of the world. No, we can take the morning or afternoons at our whim and enjoy a romp in the snow and then warm up with a cup of hot cocoa as we continue our studies…ready again to sit quietly reading or studying after our romp in the snow. There is no “either-or” for us when it snows. Our studies can go on uninterrupted and we can take time to play. Neither do we have to suit up and slog through the cold rain waiting for buses each morning, my children sitting on a loud, uncomfortable bus for much of the best part of the morning as they find their way to classrooms where they would then sit with 30 other students on hard chairs all day. Waiting for permission to get a drink if thirsty, or even to use the bathroom. And heaven forbid that they just might be feeling the need to get up and move for a moment. Only to arrive home far after the best part of the day is over, only to sit down and spend an hour or two doing the homework that is sent home with them.

No, we have leisurely mornings together as a family. Time for a “decent” breakfast together and time to actually digest our meal before we rush off to the activities of the day. Our days alternate between times of activity and times of quiet study, music practice…or just “doodling around” with music, time for creative pursuits such as drawing, painting, sewing, wood carving, and more. We flow back and forth between activities as we feel the need, spending as much or as little time on a task or study as it seems to dictate. Taking breaks when needed and then coming back fresh to a study or project. Taking the little side trails of study as they come along and interest us…and then coming back to where we began…or not. We also have evenings free of “homework”. Oh, we may choose to do some studying in the evening. We often do choose reading. But it is as we choose and not as someone else directs. We choose the activities, and we set the pace. Evenings for us are times to connect with the family with dinners that are even more leisurely eaten than our breakfasts.

There are hidden lessons which are taught by the systems and environments in which we choose to educate our children. I’m pondering a bit on what those lessons are. What are the hidden lessons taught by a system which says sit down, be quiet, do as I say, the teacher’s answer is always right…or, perhaps more accurately, the standardized test’s answer is always right? What lessons are taught with a system which requires one to “wait in line”, study what the authorities decide you should study, measure up, fit in? Clearly this is a system of limits. Limits on what you can do, when you can do it, what you can learn, what you should think.

In comparison, home education is not really a system at all. Not that home educating families don’t have systems. They do, but they are different for every family and vary according to individual and family needs and interests. No, home education rather than being a system is really about environment. (And I won’t go into the environment that is found in other educational settings, I’ll leave you to make that comparison on your own.)

But what, I wonder, are the hidden lessons that are taught in an environment where one is surrounded by books and loved ones who accept you just as you are? An environment where parent and child choose the “what” and “how” of learning according to individual need and desire. An environment where there is time to actually sit and think…to ponder on what one is learning…time to come to one’s own conclusions. An environment where the student’s needs and desires truly matter…in fact are key to the process. An environment that says that family matters…families really matter. An environment that includes frequent trips to the library…and free choice upon arriving. And environment that says age doesn’t matter…and there is no “grade level”. An environment where education and learning are a natural part of everyday life, rather than an event which one “graduates” from. (I feel another blog coming on about the significance of that.)

What are the hidden lessons which are taught in these systems and environments? And more to the point…how powerful are those hidden lessons?

I have a favorite scripture which says that “intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light”. I think I would add that freedom cleaveth to…and receiveth, and embraceth, and loveth…freedom.

So…what are the hidden lessons that are taught in an environment of such freedom? And what are the implications of this for us as individuals, families, and as a nation? Something to think about…

I’m glad I have time.

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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again…but maybe home educating families can.

One of the things that I love about the home educating life style is that it is so whole. Life is no longer fragmented into regularly sliced pieces which fit carefully into one hour segments…or rather 50 minute segments. In home education, life is free to flow at an easy and contented pace. We can sleep until we wake. We can read/study until we are ready to get up and move. We can get out and play when we need to. We have time to go down the little branches and trails in our studies as we come to them and explore what is there.

This is also true of the subject matter. It also becomes more whole. No longer are subjects broken up into neat and tidy classifications…math class, science class, history. No, they become one great whole as they truly are in life as one “subject” leads to and intertwines with another.

Where does math stop and science begin? How do you truly study history as a subject unto itself when it encompasses everything else? Just like in life, these things blend and meld into each other. They truly do not stand alone. You try to take math apart and teach it in isolation and it becomes useless and disconnected from life…nothing more than a bunch of equations which you learn to manipulate without really understanding why. In many school settings, students never really get the chance to see the connectedness of our world and of the “subjects” that they study. It’s as if they are given each piece of a puzzle in isolation. They don’t get to see each piece as part of one great big puzzle…and they seldom get the chance to put those pieces side by side and see how they fit.

It is also so with values and religion. I see this in my church’s history. In the beginning, our church had formed schools where the “subjects” could be taught with relative wholeness …connected to our belief in a God who has ordered our universe based on eternal principles. But “free” government schools came to the communities and many members left the church schools for the “free” government schools. Church leaders warned against this practice, but the warnings were not heeded. Without adequate support from families, church schools soon were put to an end and the church instead instituted a one hour class separate and apart from the rest of school where religion could be taught…separately…it could no longer be integrated into the now government ruled curriculum. I wonder how many other churches have similar histories.

I love home education where our family’s basic beliefs and understanding in religion can again become whole with the rest of our studies of the universe. The wonders of the world can be taught with an awe and appreciation for the creator who formed them. The mathematical principles that are connected to these wonders can also be seen as part of that great big wholeness that is life itself.

This is just a small piece of my musings for today. Here’s to wholeness and to putting the pieces back together.

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