Allow the Tortoise to Teach the Hare

Holistic Education for the Homeschool Family

Holistic Education for the Homeschool Family

As a homeschool parent, we occasionally run into snags in our faith and beliefs in educating our children. We’re often bombarded with accusations that we aren’t doing enough, aren’t intelligent enough to teach our kids, and we’re given reminders of how much kids in the public schools are doing. We’re faced with intimidation and pride, often scolded. Our opposition seeks to shame us and our children in their fast paced educational system by comparing credits, units, and hours of instruction. We lay awake at night wondering if we’re really doing the right things for our children and we anguish in prayer over whether our kids will turn out to be able to keep up with the world when they become adults.

This fast paced western world emphasizes competition with test scores and comparison charts, yet they forget what our ancestors taught. The very ancestors that built the foundation for education. Our modern concrete and plastic world has long forgotten the intricate fibers, textures, and vibrant colors that shaped the education of ancient worlds.

While we should favor moving forward in this struggling economic and educational society, we must not forget the depth of the truths that brought humanity to where we are today. There is a sacredness in the expansive cosmos of knowledge that is shamefully rejected and is facing an ongoing battle to survive.

This most holy treasure must be preserved and honored. We must not lay down our heritage in obeisance to the neglectful and imperious tormentors of this world. There is no possible way to measure the worth of such a key ingredient to educating the children of tomorrow. You can’t race to the finish line to achieve it, for within this nucleus of hidden treasure is the fact that there is no finish line. It is small yet profoundly large to the point of not being able to contain it all nor capture it for greedy gain.

In all the rush and pressure to obtain it, they miss it entirely.

Born in the late Eighteenth century, a poetic literary artist named C.S. Lewis said,

“the greatest service we can do to education today is to teach fewer subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects, we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.” in ‘Surprised by Joy’, a story of how his early childhood was shaped.

C. S Lewis was born to his Irish parents and lived in England during his adolescence. We are often enamored by the retelling of poetic tales from ancient men and women who lived in times of intense depth of soul. A time when stories were told to teach lessons of wisdom, love, and war. C.S. Lewis wrote fantasy tales artistically created in the far away land of his imagination through imagery of animal life. His stories not only entertain us, but when we read between the lines we learn valuable lessons that are eternally applicable to life no matter what century we live in.

We can travel further back in time to ancient Greece where we meet another fable visionary named, Aesop. His literal existence has long been suspected to be untrue, yet Aristotle and Herodotus wrote about him. Regardless of whether or not Aesop actually existed, his tales teach truth through short stories of human-like animal dilemmas. We don’t need to argue over whether or not a fox actually spoke English or if a tortoise really wants to learn to fly. The literal translations of the fables are not the point to begin with. Don’t miss the moral of the stories by trying to win an argument void of truth.

The ancient telling of fables were often retold verbally and later written down.

In a time of verbal story telling, the storytellers were able to show emotion, facial expression, and tone of voice that could lead their pupils to ponder deeper into the stories.   We are treacherous human beings  to omit this powerful expression of education. To further humiliate our most cherished ancestors, modern adults have closed the door to open discussion and collaborative efforts to improve our humanity. For ages, they have banished true free thought and expression in the communities out of fear of conflicting beliefs. Throughout history we read of world powers seeking to silence “rebellions”, when in truth those “rebels” were the ones fighting to preserve this sacred truth. The treason committed against our kind as been to overpower us with dominating control. People have gained control, but missed the beautiful art of communication and understanding. Oppressing the truth out of fear because the truth is so utterly transforming. I shake my head as I sit in awe of just how much more advanced our human race could be if the truth had not been encumbered for so long.

Aesop wrote a simple, yet profound, story that captures the very essence of this impacting axiom in his tale of the Tortoise and the Hare.

“A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, believing her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue. Slow but steady wins the race.” ~ Translated by George Fyler Townsend. Aesop’s Fables (p. 18). Amazon Digital Services, Inc..

As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning, I noticed this elementary aphorism;

“Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child.”

In the upcoming school year 2014-2015, the States will be implementing a new method of education called, Common Core. On the surface, Common Core appears to be a goal oriented approach to assisting children in attaining a higher benchmark of education. However fancy the words may sound, I have come to see Common Core as the Hare in Aesop’s fable. The aspiration of Common Core is commendable, but the pathway to achievement is perfidious. It’s philosophy is inverted and against the natural grain of human learning. It’s akin to strapping Styrofoam fruit to a tree and calling it nutritious.  The hare is created to be swift to avoid becoming prey, but the tortoise is created to be patient and diligent.

Much like the story Jesus told of the wise man and foolish man, we learn the lesson of diligence and wisdom which can prepare us for a storm. The foolish man quickly built his house on sand, and the wise man patiently built his house on a rock. It’s like the story of the three little pigs. The pig who built quickly so he could enjoy life outside his home, later suffered ruin when the wolf came; as opposed to his brother who build his home out of bricks and survived. It’s devastating to think of how such small and seemingly insignificant stories can still teach today, but are often ignored by the masses.

Ancient years of hard working apprenticeships have been replaced by driven textbook memorization techniques intended to harvest statistics built on sand with sticks.

Children are born to reach the stars they are appointed to and we avert their energy and attention away from their individual greatness. Adults have been deceived into thinking their efforts will give the world a stellar academic scholar, but the result is scatterbrained victims who have missed their place in the universe. Oh we’ve muddled through, but is merely existing the desired achievement?

We force tortoises to trade in their feet and shells for fast and furry legs that don’t belong on reptiles. We’re not all born to be hares.

Many school systems (both public and private), have put children on a conveyor belt to be fed into a machine that alters their created purpose. They’ve missed the sacred for the Styrofoam.

jogger by lady_jess, on Pix-O-Sphere

photo credit Lady Jess, free source Pix-O-Sphere

Even many homeschool curriculum vendors have been deceived into following the same destructive patterns. They naively (or maybe deceptively) changed lingo by inserting religious vocab into “secular” textbooks and passed them off as “Christ honored” education materials. They are choking on false fruit decorated in religious glitter.

We must not war with one another in a mad dash race for domination. That sprint doesn’t teach us the value in the cross country longevity needed to have the character and self discipline to be whole individuals who can invest in future generations.

We should aim to move forward, but not when we sacrifice the sacred for the superficial.

Each child is unique and will have their own created purpose. Allow your imagination to flourish for a moment as you ponder the expansive greatness of your child’s future if he/she is raised and educated in a way that strengthens their potential. Daydream with me for a time as we envision the success your child will achieve in his/her arena of expertise if they are formed, shaped, and sharpened in that specific talent.

Have we lost the skillful art of apprenticeship?

We must consider the danger of removing a child’s inner adult and replacing it with a robot void of the truth of what the child is destined to become.

We can’t expect all children to grow up to be hares. The world still needs the diligent tortoises, the beautiful peacocks, the swift cheetahs, and poetic love we witness in pods of dolphins who travel the seas as families.

As parents, we must consider what is best for our children and help them to grow into their personal infinities. We must contend for their future and refuse to allow anyone, or any entity, to steal their future from them. We each have our own path to choose.

Humanity must be set free to become what their stars have waiting for them.

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Homeschooling Doesn’t Prepare You for Real Life?

There always seems to be controversy in just about every nook and cranny of the world, especially when it involves education. There’s always someone who is ready to disagree whether it be how many hours a day a child needs to sit at a desk to how many minutes is sufficient for recess. They’ll disagree on whether they should have music in school or sex ed. People will bicker about whether the world was created by intelligent design or by some other mystical theory involving a loud noise that no one can testify of hearing. For me, I like the mystery in learning. That’s what makes me curious to try and figure it all out. It’s what whets my appetite to be inquisitive about the world around me. The mystery ignites my passion to learn.

If an educator had all the answers to everything in life, all I would have to do is memorize the answers and never have to think about a thing. I would never have to figure things out. I would be programmed.

This is just one, of many, reasons why we homeschool. We don’t want our children to be programmed. We want them to love learning and to think for themselves.

coastal home by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There are plenty of pros and cons to public vs. private (or home) education.

I’m not one to paint education styles with a broad brush, because education involves human lives with different personalities and learning styles. Some children require vigorous and strict teaching while others lean more into the creative, free spirited style requiring a lot of experience and discovery through hands on learning.

If you had approached me 10 years ago about the idea of homeschooling, I would have laughed. There’s no way I would have wanted to spend all day, every day with our children. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them, I just wasn’t prepared.

I wasn’t prepared to spend all day, every day with children.

You see, I grew up in a public school. I sat in classrooms with up to 29 other kids my own age. I sat at my desk from 8 am to 3 pm with a few recess breaks in between and a 45 minute lunch recess. Add to that a physical education class where we learned how to play kick ball, hand ball, and then tested on how many jumping jacks and sit ups we could do.

None of that prepared me to be with my own children all day, every day.

In high school, we had the option of taking child development classes. It was an option, not a requirement.

We sat at a desk and read a book and heard lectures on simple child psychology (none of which I can remember). Not one time were we given the opportunity to be with small children.

When I finally had our first baby, I didn’t even know how to change a diaper.

Public school didn’t prepare me for being a mother, let alone a wife.

You see, in public school they don’t teach you how to be a wife.

One argument we often hear against homeschooling is that our children won’t be prepared for the ‘real world’ nor do we have adequate opportunities for our kids to learn how to have social skills.

Yet in public school we were never taught how to interact with one another other than “don’t push, yell, etc”. Other than that we had to figure things out on our own.

Often times we end up being bullied and don’t know how to problem solve so we end up becoming enablers.

In today’s culture, marriage is quite controversial so we don’t hear much about how to be married either.

Public school didn’t prepare me for having a family.

On the flip side, homeschooling might not teach children how to be a family either.

It all depends on the parents, or whoever is raising them.

If a family is dysfunctional, then homeschooling could still be challenging. Dysfunction in a family tends to continue on until someone decides they want to work on breaking the cycle.

There’s just no sure-fire formula to being 100% prepared for adult life.

Eventually, we’re all tossed into it and learn how to swim, run, and fly through life as an adult.

We’ll stub a toe, skin a knee, and fall flat on our faces from time to time.

What matters is that we learn to get back up and become stronger along the way.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Sitting at a desk for several hours a day only prepares you to sit at a desk for several hours a day.

You can learn from textbooks all day long, memorize facts and historical data, but until you have hands-on experience (such as an apprenticeship) then all you have is head knowledge.

Head knowledge can only go so far.

A classic, and yet humorous, example of this dilemma is from television show, The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper is highly intelligent and able to recite a startling amount of facts, but is socially inept. His female neighbor from across the hall, Penny, has a very limited academic education yet is able to hold down a job as a waitress for the Cheesecake Factory. She knows how to pick up on social cues and get along with people. Over the years of Penny living across the hall from University professors, she learns a lot more about Science while Sheldon and his group of friends learn more about people skills.

Every person has a role in society.

So whether a person is raised in the public school or in a homeschool, we each have a place in this world.

We can disagree on how to educate, how many hours to educate, or what materials to educate children with, but since people are so unique there’s just no way to state that one way works better than another in all instances.

We’ll homeschool our children and you can public school your children. Someday they might cross paths and be able to teach each other something they didn’t previously know.

Our parents make the decisions for us when we’re children and that is the lot we’re given in life.

When you become a parent, you’ll make the decisions for your children.

My husband and I will make the decisions for our children.

And all of our children will grow up to make decisions for their children.

This is the freedom we all have and I support this freedom. I hope you will too.

“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” ― Judy Blume

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Tips for the Purposeful Blogger

This week has been interesting in the social media sphere as I tried to play catch up with blogs and Twitter after a 5 month hiatus to get settled in from our move. I have been easing my way back into blogging and thought I’d dip into the Twitterverse to get reacquainted with the tweeps and boy, do I ever have something to say!

It’s amazing what you notice after taking a break. I don’t want to lay this all out as if it’s the tweeple’s faults, because it could just very well be that I’m following too many of the same kind of tweeple. Thus my twitter stream looks like a massive informercial filled with gimmicks and promises of the best products, services, and even religion if I’ll just *click here*.

notmyhome by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

Somewhere, somehow, some bigger entity out there has found a way to coordinate all these people into one rather large unending commercial. So I have been looking through some of these folks’ profiles to see what their stream looks like as a whole, because it could be that all these people tweet out advertisements at the same time I happen to be on.

Nope. I’m seeing tons of twitter streams filled with cyber commercials and it makes me wonder if these people ever blog for enjoyment anymore.

Clickity click.

I must go see these blogs and investigate what’s going on.

Floating ads coming from the right, left and even from under my keyboard?!?

Ladies, we want to read your blogs, not be subscribed to your advertisers.

Can these floating ads come up into the side bar instead of over the content?

My time is precious and when I want to read something to inspire me or just to get connected with another mom blogger, the last thing I want to deal with is chasing down the eensy teensy tiny “x” to eliminate that dang ad from my view and accidentally clicking on the ad; thus getting redirected to another website that has even more ads.


Sometimes it feels like Alice with a stack of cards falling down all around me.

notreal by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

I want to be honest, kind, and yet humorous at the same time here, because humor always helps us to take medicine a bit easier.

But gals, we need to be better stewards of our time and attention.

{ What are we filling our heads with?}

We don’t have to be bogged down with all this fluff. Endless advertisements makes our heads, hearts, and nerves race like crazy making us feel like; we don’t have the ‘right’ product, we’ll “miss” our chance to get in on something early, and it raises our anxiety level. In a world where we’re constantly told we aren’t good enough: we just can’t afford to get sucked into cyber bondage.

timeconsuming by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

I’m going to be diligent in being a purposeful blogger. I need to make some changes in order to make my online time more beneficial. Maybe these tips will prove helpful to you as well.

  • Stop following brands: I’ve seen enough advertisements to last me a lifetime and these brands really aren’t paying any attention to me anyway. This will eliminate over 100 advertisements from my stream! Note: Twitter limits how many people you can unfollow in one day, so this will take me some time.
  • Stop following bloggers I don’t really have much in common with: This will take some time as well. I want my Twitter time to be condensed into the bloggers that *I* want to have influence me.
  • Use Twitter Lists: I can condense the bloggers I’ll choose to keep, by placing them in lists. I won’t be able to view every list ever day, but it will help immensely.
  • Klout: I can take it or leave it, honestly. I know who has ‘klout’ in MY book so why do I bother letting an algorithm dictate to me who I should follow? I’ll keep it for now, because it’s interesting, but I’m no longer going to be addicted to checking it regularly.
  • Block Spammers: sadly, some of our own blogging circles are spammers. I can’t tell you how many times these women spam me with DM propaganda. Please refrain from DMing me unless you really want to talk to me.
  • Unsubscribe from blogs: I used to subscribe to my ‘friends’ blogs to help them get their subscriptions up. No longer! I am unsubscribing from many most of them. This doesn’t mean I’m not supportive or loving toward them, I just need to be smarter with my online time. Other than that, my inbox is cluttered and I spend far too much time deleting mass amounts of them. Sorry ladies, I just can’t keep up.

These are the main steps I’m going to do for me to make better use of my online time.

I feel so free and empowered!

I’ll be sharing another article to go over the steps I’m taking to get my online time more organized; including why and who I diligently follow. I addition to that, I’ll be informing you how you can get in on a little something special I have in the works.

Until then have a great weekend! Unplug and go enjoy life. I’m going to!

*New Twitter Handle @OrganicHSL

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