The debate is on......
Over the last few months there has been an interesting discussion going on among my local homeschooling mother's group. In fact, it looks like there is an interesting discussion going on across North America as homeschooling rates are skyrocketing. More and more families are choosing to home school their children to improve their academic, social and religious education. Who are these families? Many of them are well educated and have university or college graduate mothers who are staying home to do the job of homeschooling. So it seems ironic then that the question that arises very quickly is " how much should we really educate our home schooled daughters?"
I read an interesting blog post today about this very subject.
Perhaps I should clarify- no one is suggesting that we do not teach basic skills to our children, but the question arises very quickly- what kind of an education would be most beneficial to our daughters in particular? Especially relevant in those families, like my own, where laundry and dusting is not always done well or on schedule- we start to wonder- what if we taught home management as diligently as we taught grammar- wouldn't it make the lives of our daughters better and more successful?
I love being a mom, I want my girls to be mothers and have wonderful loving families that they take care of and nurture and I want them to have those same feelings of love and joy and contentedness that I feel. I don't want them to have to deal with the emotional battle I had when I chose this life rather than continue in my "career". I have 7 years of university behind me. It took me years to pay off my student loans because I worked for only 9 months until our first child was born and at the time that was difficult for me- I believed in our choice but didn't feel good having such a large debt hanging over our family.
My husband however didn't seem to mind. In fact, he appreciates the fact that I am as well educated as he is, I can be a true "helpmate" to him in many ways. We can have interesting discussions about his work and the Bible and current events and I can be supportive to him. More importantly, in our family, my education translates into me having the confidence to be able to research and think critically and make decisions. My husband also has that same confidence. When we started our homeschooling journey he was skeptical however as he said many times- even if he doesn't trust the philosophy of homeschooling he trusts me and believes I am totally capable (he has since seen the benefits of homeschooling and is now a strong supporter) . I think that this is important in a marriage. And it think it is Biblical. Proverbs 31 illustrates the virtuous woman who is obviously dedicated in serving her family and competent enough to be able to do it well.
Homeschooling parents are in a unique situation- as our children are home with us all day, every single day (for the most part) our children know what goes on in our house. They do not leave in the morning to be surprised after school to a drawer full of clean ironed laundry. They see what is done each day and it is with little effort that we can explain and teach what we are doing. In fact we can teach homemaking skills to our daughters (as we learn them ourselves in my case!) and we should. It will make their lives easier and more successful if they have a basic grasp on cooking and laundry and how to keep a garden or mend a shirt. And it would also benefit our sons.
My own daughter wants to be a vet, do you know how many years of education and how much that education will cost? I wonder- will she do that and then be willing to give it up and be a mother - because that is my dream for her, my desire for her life and part of the picture I have in my mind of how she can grow up to be a "good Christian".......but God gives us the freedom of free will. Who am I to take that away from her? I have had an opportunity to make my choices in my life, and I am responsible for raising her - teaching her the way she should go- not restricting her or preventing her from learning.
What kind of a husband wants an uneducated wife ? What kind of a relationship can she find if she feels that she is "less than" her peers? I have seen how little confidence some women have who feel that they are uneducated, not capable and unworthy as a result.
And what * should * my goals for my daughters be? I want them to love God enough to obey Him and live a Christian life. I want them to feel loved and treasured because they are. I want them to be able to do a job well.
If I want my daughters to esteem motherhood- then I must esteem motherhood. The best families might not be the ones with the cleanest houses, or the best meals, maybe the best families are the ones full of love for each other - AS GOD MADE THEM- and I think that the best families are encouraging one another and supporting one another and full of joy and grace.
I will not restrict my children's education. I will not. I cannot- in good faith. I have been commanded to TRAIN up a child .... not to hold them back. God has a plan for my children and I do not have a right to decide or limit what their potential should be. And what kind of a relationship would I have with my daughters if they felt that I was unjustly holding them back. What kind of damage might I do to their own Christian walk if **I decide ** that girls are not to be educated. That is a yoke that is not Biblical, it is too heavy to bear and I'd hate to see them resentful of our religion rather than feeling freedom in Christ.
So, I will encourage my daughter in her dreams of veterinary school and I will show her the love and joy in my heart and I will pray for her that she finds peace and joy and faith in her life as an adult. To answer how much should we educate our homeschooling girls? As much as we can- in the areas where God has blessed them and in what they enjoy and appreciate!