This past Saturday my friend Renee from Keystone Co-op came to my house to share information on homeschooling with my chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), one of whose primary functions is to support education. Renee noted that she prefers the term "home education" to "homeschooling," which is a topic on which I have recently been reflecting.
Education is something that happens neither exclusively at home nor in a school building, though homeschooling is surely based in the home. Education is an integral part of life, from birth to death. Understanding it in this way allows the homeschooling parent to relax into the process of educating her children. Renee affirmed that attitude and character must come into place first, and then the academics follow. This idea brings to my mind section 18 of Charlotte Mason's synopsis of her educational theory:
"We should allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and 'spiritual' life of children; but should teach them that the divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continuous helper in all the interests, duties, and joys of life."
I have decided to try out my own term to reflect this philosophy, as I continue to explore the lifestyle of relaxed homeschooling, and refer for the rest of this series to "Home-Life Education." This term will encompass the broad curriculum of my educational goals for my child. As Maria Montessori instructed, we must educate a child for Life, and the edification of her spirit is the primary focus.
So that Beezy might come to understand such a broad view of education, I am no longer going to use the word "school time" to refer to our formal learning of the day, but rather call it "book learning time." For indeed, that is exactly what it is. The time spent learning from books, though perhaps a central element, is only one aspect of education. All of Life is the curriculum.