The following information is also posted on our website at www.blessedheritage.com. Enjoy as you continue to prepare your heart, soul, and mind for educating your child at home.
As I discuss in Our History, HIS-Story, we entered into this season of our lives with all the enthusiasm and anxieties of first-time homeschooling parents. Though homeschooling was not as foreign a concept as it had been ten or twenty years ago, we were still taking a bold and uncertain path in deciding to educate our children ourselves. Homeschooling, at a minimum, requires a readiness for challenges–challenges to your faith, challenges to your abilities, and challenges to your willingness to persevere. It is not a decision to step into lightly.
Probably the most controversial aspect of homeschooling for us was our decision to “turn our backs”, so to speak, on an educational system that, not too long ago, our people fought mightily to be a part of. As Paula Penn-Nabrit states in Morning by Morning: How We Homeschooled our African-American Sons to the Ivy League, 'Providing one's children with the very best possible education has never been an option within our families' worldview–it's an obligation. For generations, our families, like many other African-American families, endured enormous sacrifices and hardships in order to meet that obligation.' It can be difficult to argue that when Brown and Nabrit fought the Board of Education to integrate what was then a “separate but equal” educational system, they were not fighting to integrate simply for integration's sake. The premise of this landmark case was that it was not possible to achieve separate but equal education amidst unequal funding and inadequate facilities. I speak very candidly about this to suggest that even though currently African-American families represent approximately 5% of all homeschoolers with that figure growing exponentially each year, be prepared to seek encouragement that is outside of your normal support system. There are excellent support groups available at the click of a button, and a budding number of resources on the uniqueness of home education and African-American children.
Like most homeschooling parents, our initial vision of home education was overwhelmingly biased toward finding curriculum that would guarantee academic excellence; we were obsessed with making the right choices. We still value academic excellence, but if there is any one aspect of home education that I have learned, it is, as Charlotte Mason says, that 'education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life'. Sally Clarkson in Educating the WholeHearted Child builds on this by saying, 'Christian home education is a ministry of discipleship and education to your children. [italics mine] It is the most biblical way for you to 'bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.'We had no idea how much this one opportunity would change our family for the better. Though we are a Christian family, we had never thought of home education as a ministry. I invite you to fully embrace the opportunity that is before you in educating your children at home. You not only give your children the chance to excel academically, but, as the predominant source of information and influence in their lives, you have the chance to pour into them and see them excel holistically in mind, body, and spirit.