Welcome to delight FULL living!
Why did you visit this website? You may be a Christian attracted to unschooling, or possibly an unschooler curious about Christianity. You may be interested in exploring applications of the two philosophies - because yes, unschooling is a philosophy, and so is Christianity - and in considering differences and similarities between the two. You may be sceptical about the possibilities of joining two such seemingly different spheres.
I was concerned about all the above. I loved being with my children, and home education was great. We had time and opportunity to enjoy a rich family life. I was a Christian, and it was important to me to share the beauty and the depth of the faith with my children. I also wanted a rich and full and happy educational experience for them. I wanted us to enjoy the strong sweet season of sharing life together; I was always aware that it would not be long before the children were ready to spread their wings beyond the secure confines of home and family. And there was a sense that we could go further, and experience more. We were motivated by our longing to find a way of life that worked, but one that was also satisfying and meaningful.
Some unschoolers I spoke to thought it would not be possible to unschool successfully because I was a Christian. And some Christians also thought that it would not be possible to unschool successfully because I was a Christian. But why then did I feel so drawn to unschooling? Why did the words of John Holt leap off the pages with such clarity and depth? Were we being deceived? What would unschooling look like if it were done in the context of a Christian worldview? My husband Craig and I were determined to explore the possibilities.
We found answers to some of our questions, and we were provoked into asking more questions. Sometimes it was the answer itself that provoked the next question. And, as each stage of parenting and life with our children began to make sense, we would find ourselves hovering on the brink of a new stage; different paradigms, different challenges, new implications for questions we thought were answered.
This website grew out of my efforts to reflect upon, and to share with others, our experiences and discoveries. I wrote because I have such a deep longing to see parents and children enjoying satisfying and meaningful relationships; because people are so unique and special, and I want to encourage parents to treasure and celebrate that uniqueness in their children; and because I have become fully and personally convinced that the only true education is self-directed and self-motivated.
Mary Oliver, in her profound poem 'The Summer Day', asks a fundamental question: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
What is it you plan to do? I find it tragic that we are not encouraging our children, almost from birth - at least as soon as they understand language - to explore their own answers to this question and to others like them. Instead, we are prescriptive and directive, telling them what to do, and making decisions for them.
I am not saying that parents do not have a vital role to play in their children's growth and development. Rather, I suggest a different, more respectful, more thoughtful, more sensitive approach in the carrying out of that role. These children after all are ultimately not our children; they are God's children, and we raise them as a sacred trust. It is His plans and purposes for their lives that matter, not ours.
Life is such a gift. It is our privilege to be alive in this time, this place. Like Esther, we can ask ourselves why we were born for such a time as this, and know that there is a reason; that God had purpose in creating us, and that there is a plan for our lives. And the same is true for our children. How tragic that for many, life is a heavy burden. It should not be. Life can be hard, challenging, difficult. But it is also awesome, wonderful, incredible.
Jesus claimed that He came to give "life in all its fullness". John Holt said that "a life worth living and a work worth doing" was what he wanted for all people, including children.
Our ongoing determination to develop and define a philosophy and methodology of Christian unschooling has led us, and continues to lead us, day by day, into a deep and rich expression of this fullness.
The overriding objective of this website is to help people to understand that:
- learning, like breathing, happens all the time
- there are many alternatives in education
- Christianity and unschooling are not incompatible philosophies
- Christianity and unschooling both have power to release us to seek and discover answers to the biggest questions of life, namely who we really are (identity), and what we are here for (purpose)
- freedom of choice really matters to all people, including children
- the foundation for all interpersonal learning is mutual respect
- children are persons as much as adults - they are not inferior in any way
- although adults have more experience of life than the children in their circle, there are many areas in which the child may know more, understand more, and be able to take the lead and impart to people older than himself
- parents are however responsible to give covering, training and guidance to their children.
Home education does not have to be expensive to be successful. Freedom to pursue interests, the sustained interest of significant adults and having the world as a classroom gives the home educated child a very rich learning experience, and this is before one adds in any obviously academic resources.