17 March 2009

Home all the Time (for now)

The Smithsonian Institution’s recipe for genius and leadership:

(1) children should spend a great deal of time with loving, educationally minded parents;
(2) children should be allowed a lot of free exploration; and
(3) children should have little to no association with peers outside of family and relatives.”

James and I have no qualms about our style of parenting, which is so tied up in home education. He grew up beside his father in a greenhouse. Our first apartment, 500 sq ft, had 31 houseplants in it. He now works as a landscape designer. So we understand this analogy: Children are like little plants.

You take the seed and put it in a little cup of the best topsoil. You give it lots of light. You gently sprinkle it with drops of water so it doesn't break the delicate leaves. When it gets a root system, you transplant it to a bigger pot. You protect it from the wind and the hottest sun. You bring it in when there's a freeze. You don't put it out where the dog will trample it or a deer will eat the buds. When its well-established, and the season is right, you can transplant it finally to its place outside your home. Then it will do well on its own in the downpours and coldest winters.

So we plan to raise our children, protecting them and ensuring they are "being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to... know the love of Christ... and be filled up to all the fullness of God" Eph. 3:17-19. We want them to be the "other [seeds that] fell on the good soil and yielded a crop" Matt 13:8. We judge that the best place for them to learn these most important lessons is at home with us. Then, when they are firmly established they can go out into the world and do that much better at surviving their relationships and careers.

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