Unsocialized Homeschool Parents
This year, as we move toward our Constitution Day Excellence in Education Events, I want to take us back to the wisdom of a (much!) older generation’s views on education.
John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, delivered a speech on education in 1839. In it, he recounted the history of American education with its principles and purposes. In this excerpt, he quotes the preamble to a 1647 education law that appointed a teacher for every fifty households in a township:
‘It being one chief project of Satan to keep man from the knowledge of the Scripture, as in former times keeping them in unknown tongues, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of deceivers; to the end that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers, in Church and Commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors’…
Here then, in the Laws enacted by the first settlers of New England, is a complete system of instruction, based upon the principle that human life, from the cradle to the grave, is aschool — That at every period of his existence, man wants a teacher, and that his pilgrimage upon earth is but a term of childhood, in which he is to be educated for the manhood of a brighter world. (pp.31-32)
Let me ask you a question. Who are your teachers?
When we model for our students the practice of life-long learning, we show them that we too have teachers and mentors. If we don’t deliberately seek out such teachers, then our default setting might be the Internet, talking heads on television, or the latest celebrity spokesperson who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.
Our children aren’t the only ones called to be in community! One of the blessings of classical, home-centered education is that we parents also have the opportunity to reestablish relationships that are face-to-face, one-on-one, with all scars, failings, and sins included. Being a parent is hard enough without trying to “go it alone.” We need daily reminders from our family and friends about God’s grace and His truth.
So, I offer you a challenge: this week, at your church or your Classical Conversations community, reach out to someone you don’t know, or reconnect with an old friend with whom you’ve lost touch. Add a new twist to the homeschool stereotype and make sure that you, the parent, are properly “socialized” — not in the way that skeptics often mean, but in the sense found in 1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Source: John Quincy Adams, A Discourse on Education, (published 1840).