‘Tis “Curriculum Season!”
It is the time of year when mailboxes are stuffed with curriculum catalogs, ripe with their brightly-colored offers of ease and excitement. Homeschool book fairs, home education conferences, and homeschool book swaps entice hoards with promises of information and resources and send them out with their arms full of pamphlets, novels, dictionaries, and texts. Emails, phone calls, newsletters, and magazines are tuned into the hysteria, adding to the confusion with articles and suggestions to “Do this! Buy mine! Sign up for ours!” And homeschool mothers everywhere, upon meeting one another in person or on-line, first ask the ever-important question:
What curriculum do you use?
And the next-door neighbors, the curious ones who don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to send their progeny off on the big yellow bus every day, ask the cousin question:
Where do you get your books?
My friend, have you ever stopped and asked yourself why this fascination with curriculum? When one meets a university physics professor, do you immediately ask him, “What curriculum do you use?” No, rather, you might inquire could he simplify Einstein’s theories in lay-man’s terms for you. Is it true that nothing could ever go faster than the speed of light (I am wrestling with that right now)?
Why must homeschoolers be subjected – and subject one another – to this constant curriculum comparison?
In my humble opinion, I believe this phenomenon stems from an incorrect view of education itself. Those who institutionalize their children equate the school with education, and this is one major point we homeschool parents differ philosophically from many of our neighbors. We believe that the institution does not equal education, but rather education will happen better when the flawed institution is removed.
But, many of us have transfered our beliefs to curriculum, equating books with education. But …
Do books educate?
Think about that premise carefully. Do the books themselves equal the education I am giving my children, or am I the educator? If I am to teach biblically, I must re-evaluate how I approach the use of books in my child rearing.
The wise in heart shall be called prudent,
And the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it,
But the instruction of fools is folly.
The heart of the wise teacheth his moth,
And addeth learning to his lips.
The biblical model is the teaching itself that is important – not the tools of learning. Great books are important; I want my children reading for hours every day. But the emphasis in our home learning must be where God places it – on the parents raising up the young to look toward Him.
And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me …”
~ Exodus 13
I would encourage you, my sisters in this: do not get wrapped up in comparing tools of the trade with your fellow laborers. Rather, let us encourage one another in the great work which the Master has give us to do!
Every wise woman buildeth her house…