Thursday, June 9, 2011

School's Out! School's Out! Teacher Let The Bulls Out!

For those of us in the baby boomer era, this old rhyme brings deja vu' memories. My mom would
sing this ditty to us on the last day of school just before Memorial Day weekend--it was a grand tradition that truly welcomed in the dog days of summer vacation! But, none of that may apply to you and your children. 

Some children have just a 6 week summer break because their academic year has 3 long breaks while others who are homeschooled may continue with academic work throughout the summer. As I savor the precious sight of mothers with their children doing errands midday, I'm reminded of how many educational options millenial parents can choose from. But, a plethora of choices can be just as much a hindrance as a help.

Educating one's child academically is one of the most intimidating thoughts on the planet! But,
step back for a moment and quit asking how you'll ever get your son into Harvard and think about teaching your children. You'll soon realize you've been teaching your child since he was 
born! Yes, parents are a child's first and best teacher. Who taught your child how to lay down and go to sleep, how to call for help, how to properly eat her food, how to master her personal habits, how to speak clearly and politely, how to hug you around the neck and how to run to daddy when he's coming up the walk? 

With that foundational truth established, then considering one's educational options needn't be nearly so overwhelming. As the Word of God says, "Without counsel plans fail, but with many
advisors they succeed." Proverbs 15:22. When in the midst of considering how to educate your
child, the very best strategy is to seek wise counsel by reading, in conversation, and by observation. 

For The Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is THE book to read! Susan, the daughter of Francis Schaeffer, defines a philosophy of education which is easy to understand and apply. For wise conversations seek out parents with older children, interview them, find out what motivated their choices and what sustains their educational option. Finally, watch what's going on around your neighborhood, church, local school board, etc., it all has meaning and direct bearing on your family. 

Since children end up being just like their teachers, purposefully pray asking for wisdom and discernment in making decisions about education. Since formal education stretches K-12 it's
ok to take it preschool isn't the best option for every 4yr. old, nor is kindergarten the
best fit for 5s. And all day kindergarten....if you are a stay-at-home parent, then there's no 
need to put a 5 year old little person in 8 hours of school away from Mom and the safety and
comfort of home. And finally, since school can wait because an enriched home environment is just as academically stimulating as a rigorous pre/k academic program, don't rush to keep up with your girlfriends! When a child starts formal academic rigor doesn't guarantee success, but it can guarantee failure as a young child struggles to take in information that his brain is not mature enough to process--the result is often dyslexia.

Who wants to think about how best to educate children right now, during the first 2 weeks of do! Every parent's mind is occupied with these thoughts as their children frolic through the carefree days of June, July, and August. No worries that elephant just one bite at a time! Speaking of elephants, is the circus coming to your town this summer? Get some tickets, buy some popcorn, and laugh with your children as the clowns usher in the magic under the big tent---the memories will be sweeeet!

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