One thing I have discovered over the past five years as I've counseled moms who desire to teach their children through living books is that this type of education is truly a walk of faith. Our current "education" system tells us that children must be confined to desks seven hours a day shackled by textbooks, worksheets and standardized tests. If our children are ever to measure up in the "real world" they must be able to jump through arbitrary hoops set up by "experts."
Many questions torture mothers who sincerely want the best for their children...
How do I know they're learning?
How will they ever get into college?
What do you mean I don't need a math curriculum in the early grades?!?
I don't have to do grammar until they're older??
Don't my high schoolers need to start "real school?"
And on it goes...
The truth is, learning through living books is actually the most effective way to educate a child of any age. You know they're learning because they tell you what they've learned. Narration is a powerful means of taking ownership of what we know. We do not truly know anything unless we can explain it to someone else. Living with the people of the books we read, living in the places in a compelling book all serve to help us build relations with those people and places of the past.
All subjects can be taught through living books and narration...even math to a large degree. And colleges actively seek students who are able to think, who have good habits, who are actively engaged in the learning process rather than regurgitators of information. And these students who have been raised on the feast of "books and things" excel in any walk of life which God leads them.
I admit that it's difficult to let go of the public school's scope and sequence. If my second grader can't recite the 50 states and their capitals we must be behind! After all, our neighbor's child can do that. Am I not failing my children if I don't turn them into fact-eating machines? But we must understand that it takes time to build relationships. This happens line upon line, precept upon precept. But in the fullness of time, their little minds, which have feasted on facts clothed in great ideas, are expanded to the greatest heights of knowledge and wisdom. And it is after these things we are to seek.
The beginnings may seem slow. I liken it to compound interest. Charlotte Mason calls it magical expansion. We invest a little and as it grows, it grows on the growth. But grow it does until, all of a sudden, when you least expect it, your child has grown in widsom and stature and is able to lead others in ways of truth.
Keep the faith...