I truly believe that all great parents are homeschool parents... no matter where their kids attend school. What I mean by that is that our children don't learn everything they need to know in school. Recently I've discovered the ideas of Charlotte Mason. She was an educator at the turn of the 20th century in England. While her ideas today may seem a little old-fashioned, in her day she was a progressive thinker. Many in the homeschool community identify with her teachings and follow her methods still today.
Charlotte believed children are born whole persons and as such we need to educate the entire person and not just the mind. She said, "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life." To her the atmosphere was that which surrounds a child. She understood that children absorb much from their home environment and that the ideas that rule your life as a parent make up one-third of your child's education. Are we teaching our kids about stress or peace, how to yell or to be calm, about abundance or scarcity? Our children learn so much from watching how we respond to our environment.
By discipline, Charlotte was referring to the good habits we create. She attributes this to another third of a child's education. In our book, The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, the main premise is to create the habit of a morning ritual for everyone in the family. As humans we are creatures of habit. These habits can save us a great deal of time, but when we slip into bad habits they can be tough to break. The earlier we instill positive routines and rituals with our children the easier it will be to add new good habits in the future.
The last element of education Charlotte talks about is life. This is where she means the academics one learns in school. Charlotte, however, preferred to use what she calls "living books" as apposed to dry text books. She believed in the power of a great story. All subjects can be taught through any other subject because they are all connected through an underlying story.
In July I attended the Brave Writer Retreat, where the founder, Julie Bogart, spoke to us about this idea of "The Invisible Education" or as Charlotte would call it, the atmosphere in our home. She said this about the choice to homeschool, which I just love, "It's not that we think we can do school better at home, but that we can do HOME better than school. We must retool our understanding of home to support learning instead of replicating school." Julie was talking to a room full of homeschool parents, but I think this applies to all parents. Our job is to create a safe home environment for our kids. A place where they feel completely free to be themselves and to embrace the less structured nature of home.
Another thing Julie said that resonated with me is, "It's okay for our kids to have a private life, but we don't want them to have a secret life." This certainly applies no matter where your kids go to school. We want to encourage big, juicy conversations and talk about what's on our kids minds. Get things out in the open and be honest with your kids about your own fears, hopes and dreams.
So, according to Charlotte only one third of a child's education happens at school. The rest happens at home, so it's our job to create the safe atmosphere and help them develop the habits that will lead to success. This is why I believe all parents are homeschoolers no matter where your kids go to school!
I'm grateful for all the people I've met on my journey that have opened my mind and heart to homeschooling as an option for our family. I'm grateful for Julie Bogart and the work she is doing to help homeschool families make reading and writing enchanting. I'm grateful that homeschool is a lifestyle and not just an educational choice, so all parents can be homeschoolers no matter how they choose to educate their children. I'd love to hear your feedback. Comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook Community.