A book that I read early in our homeschooling years influenced me tremendously. It is titled For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (first published in 1984). I re-read this book more than once because, though I knew it had been very influential, I could not always recall the details of what was written. It does not take many pages before I remember how the author expounded the ideas that are native to my heart. For me, reading this book is like having a conversation with a best friend who completely understands me.
Now, I would not expect that everyone would have the same depth of experience, but I hope you will be curious enough to find this book and read it. The used copy that I bought appears to have never been read since the binding was so tight. I was interested to read the hand-written inscription on the first page.
“Tim and Michelle, Thank you for all that you both do to provide spiritual leadership at Bridletowne. We appreciate you both very much.
“This book has inspired us in nurturing Bryan’s development. We read it at least once a year to focus ourselves afresh on the basic principles for guiding his development.
“We hope you find it helpful.
“Love, Ron, Marilyn and Bryan, Christmas 1988”
I’m sure Tim and Michelle have good reason for keeping this book pristine. (And I am the grateful benefactor of this perfect copy!) I do hope that you, dear reader, will open this gift for yourself and at least take a good taste of it! It may enhance your view of “basic principles for guiding” your children’s development!
With that introduction, I quote from page 8:
“When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it. For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding. Education extends to all of life…
“This broad view of true education as the sum of all of life meant that Charlotte Mason first turned her attention to the parents. She believed that they had the most interesting and valuable vocation that exists amongst mankind (Note: Charlotte never married nor had children of her own.) Into their love, care, and responsibility this person was placed. Charlotte Mason never spoke of education as merely taking place behind the walls of the schoolroom. She saw the home as the basic educational environment.
“There will be different applications of these ideas for different families. Families have to consider the educational system they are actually up against. More than that, different children within one family may need different decisions as to what educational system is best for them. And it is important to apply Jesus’ teaching that we must not judge other peoples’ choices. Just because I decide to send my little Tom to the local public school or a private Christian school, or because I decide to give him a home education, does not mean that everyone else has to do the same.”
I support the concept that all good schooling begins with “homeschooling”, but not ALL schooling happens “at home”. Parents need to know that there are many options to consider and the ideal educational structure may, indeed, be different for different children within the same family.
I have categorized educational options into five areas. There are many sub-categories within these areas. For example homeschoolers might use online curriculum, workbooks, co-op classes, classical education, unschooling, eclectic and so on. (I have an e-book that explains our family’s approach.)
- Private School
- Combining Public or Private School and Homeschool
- Parent driven Charter School
I know parents in each of these categories that have had (and continue to have) great success as well as various challenges. I encourage parents to ponder what is really best for “The Children’s Sake” and take a look at this book to guide you in your decisions.