What Do We Mean By "Education"?

Homeschooling is a growing trend in America. Thousand of parents are pulling their children out of traditional schools and wondering, "Now, how do we do school at home?"

...and that's the wrong question.

The right questions are "How do I prepare my child to become a responsible, happy, successful adult?" and "How do I get my kids excited about learning?" (That's just my humble opinion, but I'm guessing it's close.)

Children need role models—adults who have themselves become responsible, happy, and successful and can show others how to do that.

Children also need cheerleaders. Growing up can seem formidable, if not downright scary. There's a lot to learn, and let's face it—"adulting" is hard. Many kids aren't quite confident they can really "make it"—that they can successfully become independent adults. Part of our role as parents is to serve as encouragers and motivators as we lead them from here to there.

It may be true that "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink," but there are ways of creating a thirst in the horse!

Children can get excited about learning when it's relevant and adventurous.

Educating children is so much more than buying curriculum, assigning lessons, and grading tests. In fact, are those not the very things that made many of us dislike learning? Be honest. Do you have vivid memories of anything you learned out of a textbook? Haven't you learned far more from real life? If you're like me, I'll bet real life has been your best teacher to this day.

"School" does not equal "education."

Real education is the adventure of learning as a lifestyle for a lifetime.

That's important, because we live in a fast-changing world. As motivational speaker Les Brown says, "You've got to run fast just to stand still." Our daunting challenge is to prepare our children to thrive in a world we have not seen.

If the goal of education is to disciple adults—to prepare our children for maturity and independence—then we must stop thinking of education in terms of "school."

There are many other words that come much closer to describing what it is we mean to accomplish.