The youth pastor at our church is a wiry young man around my age. His current fashion sense drips "hipster" but he's sincere even if he does wear a vest. I'm attending a parent's meeting about the upcoming winter camp. By age, I'm a solid eight years too young to be there. Being a guardian of a high schooler puts you in odd places.
"I'm so excited about what God is going to do at camp. It's so great to be able to partner with you in ministering to your kids."
The driver sign up sheet had been distracting me. Now my mind was thinking about homeschooling.
We talk about how we -- parents -- are our children's best teacher. Overall, I agree with this sentiment. But there are huge benefits of having mentors. And there are times when your kids may prefer an outside opinion as they grow up. So as I sat in a meeting for parents, listening to my friend talk about the things God was doing through the members of the church, I felt a strong desire to urge us to look beyond just ourselves. Don't teach your children alone. Don't hole up somewhere and develop a myopic view of the world. Keep a global perspective. Remember that the goal of homeschooling is to raise successful adults whom we can let go into the world.
I don't know any homeschoolers who want to limit their children. There isn't active malicious intent. But intentional or not, I'm afraid we sometimes get so focused on ourselves and what we're doing, we can send the wrong message. We're not trying to hide away from everyone else, as if we had something to hide. Rather, we see the tremendous benefits of learning at home. We have opportunities others don't. And with the flexibility of homeschooling, we can also take advantage of multiple teachers. We aren't limited to a single school. We can learn at home and church and co-ops and classes.
One of the many things I appreciate about Sonlight's approach to learning is we give multiple perspectives in our homeschool curriculum packages. Textbooks provide a distilled view of history, offering "the" explanation of the past. With Sonlight's literature-based approach, we get to learn from various perspectives and people. Sonlight is built, in part, on the benefits of multiple teachers. Through excellent biographies, we can learn from many teachers throughout history.
Multiple teachers allow us to see things from a different perspective, explain concepts with new insights, share ideas we haven't considered, and take on topics we feel unqualified to explain. None of these benefits detracts from our role as parents and educators, but these partnerships provide opportunities to offer our children more than ever. My student is going to winter camp. I don't have one of those in my backyard.
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian
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