Beyond the Text Books

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beyond the text booksI graduated from high school in 2009 having been homeschooled all the way through.  These school years shaped my life in many ways and greatly contributed in the making of the person I am today.

When I look back though you might be surprised at what really made the most impact on my life.  It wasn't the Algebra book I poured over day in and day out, it wasn't that Biology course I took (though I did enjoy it) and it wasn't even the biyearly placement tests we chose to take.  In reality I never use any of those in my every day, graduated life.

I realize these things are important.  I am thankful that my parents, and mother as my teacher, cared about my scholastic development but I'm even more grateful that she taught me these things:

 

Your Schooling Comes Second

By far the best thing my parents ever taught me was to recognize that being a faithful Christian is more important than being an A+ student.  Their first priority was to equip me spiritually so they could shoot me off in to a dark world as an arrow for Christ.  While my parents did teach us that our schooling was a priority they made sure that we understood those things will fade in this world but our relationship with Christ will last an eternity.

Whether it was through our morning Bible session, or our Wednesday night family Bible study, or encouraging personal quiet time through the devotional book my mother created they made sure our spiritual education came first.

Pursue Your Interests 

God gives each person particular gifts and skills and these inclinations can begin to be seen even in the childhood years.  I love how my parents were in tune to my gifting and provided me with the tools to explore those gifts.

I am an artsy person but as I child I wasn't sure where that would lead me so my parents gave me the freedom to experiment.  They provided me with craft supplies, a few art lessons, a cake decorating course and a book writing class.  Little did they know that the writing class would equip me to write 2 book by the age of twenty.

It's Ok If  You aren't Good At Something

Early on in my homeschool career my parents discovered I have a learning disability.  It really had nothing to do with my intelligence  but my mind for some reason will switch around my letters making it a struggle to learn to read and very difficult to be able to spell properly.

One of the best things my parents gave me was the freedom to not be good at something, without shame.  Yes, we worked hard to overcome my struggles but at the end of the day I knew my worth and ability to succeed wasn't based on my ability to be a great speller.

They Taught Me How To Learn

Children often have inquisitive minds and my parents encouraged that quality within me.  Even to this day I am known for needing to know the "why" behind things.  But they didn't just stop there or just give me the answer to everything.  They taught me that I needed to learn and study things out for myself.  They taught me I needed to own my beliefs and the best way to do that is by studying things out for myself.

 

As I look back I see just how much these four mentalities shaped and equip me for life.  The core school subjects are important but at the end of the day it's your core values that will shape your children the most.

As you start up the school year, whether your send your children to class or teach them at home, I would encourage you to expand your educating beyond the text books.  From a student who has lived a few years past graduation, I'd say this is the best gift you can give your children.

Ashley Schnarr www.stayathomedaughter.com