A guest post by Julie Polanco
A curriculum can be a great tool as long as it does not become our religion. What do I mean by that? Anything that we follow just for the sake of following it, anything that we become so dedicated to that we feel like a failure if we don’t follow its dictates, anything that enslaves us with its rules, can become our religion. Curricula is meant to be a guide to help us accomplish our goals. The curriculum itself is not the goal. I have heard many moms say something like, “Well, Michael is still in third grade this summer because we didn’t finish the curriculum.” Whoa! The curriculum has become a slave master. It has become a religion.
A personal story
In my own journey, I started out creating my own unit studies, but when my third child was born, I felt I needed a curriculum. All the time I was using this curriculum, neat ideas for things to do with my three small children kept floating into my head. Hey, remember that article you saw about the egg floating on the water? That would be really fun to try. There’s that neat website about dead logs. You should check it out and take them out to the woods. Today would be a great day to visit the arboretum. Weren’t you going to make a cave diorama with little bats and stuff?
As fun as they sounded, I sadly ignored them. I rationalized that I was distracted and that I needed to finish the curriculum first. After all, I had spent $500 on it. Even though the kids complained and put in a half-hearted effort, I was going to stick with it and finish.
How curriculum becomes a religion
Usually, a certain amount of fear drives us to become religious. We religiously clean the house for fear of germs and vermin, for example. When we get right down to the core, fear drives some of our educational choices, too. I know I became enslaved to the fears that drove me to religiously follow the curriculum. Maybe you have some of these fears, too. I was afraid that my children wouldn’t measure up next to their public-schooled peers. There was also the fear of the close scrutiny of relatives. I feared they might have gaps. Worst of all, I feared that I wasn’t doing enough. I wanted so badly to do everything right and I was so afraid that I was doing everything wrong. It was such an incredible burden that at one point, I sank into depression. The chains of slavery to my fears were the same ones that made curriculum my religion. At that point, God spoke. He gave me a vision of what it could be like and I have never looked back.
Living in Freedom
The rest of the story and the vision he gave me is told in God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn. God showed me how to truly walk with Him as I homeschooled. Walking with Christ is freeing. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). He offers freedom to all of us. But, he doesn‘t set us free to do whatever we want. He sets us free so that we can be unencumbered by our past; by the mistakes of our parents, teachers, and community; and by our current hang-ups, fears, and sinful nature so that we can follow him and become like him. He sets us free from all that would keep us from discovering and doing his will, and that includes setting us free from the world’s standards of what education looks like. In the pages of God Schooling, you will discover the most powerful motivator for learning and how to turn it on for life. You will also learn:
- The true needs of all preschoolers;
- The most important life stage for future productivity and confidence and how you can facilitate this;
- How to give your teen the wings to fly;
- And, so much more!
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