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Friday, January 25, 2008

Where there is smoke there is fire...

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
- William Butler Yeats

Heart of the Matter has posted this quote for today's meme reflection. It is a great quote and one often used in homeschooling circles to describe our goals as homeschoolers. We desire much more than just stuffing them full of knowledge, we want to enliven them with the spirit of curiousity, experimentation, and investigation. There is almost an implied promise that homeschooling will deliver these results, too. During the last 5 years of homeschooling, there have been many days that promise has kept me going when the "little yellow school bus" was very tempting!

Obviously, no system or philosophy of education can deliver a promise like this perfectly everytime, for every student, nor in every situation. Homeschooling is no magic bullet. But, as I observe my children, I see their eyes brighten and their minds turn with some new idea or thought. This is not in response to a need to perform, but in a true thirst for learning.

This used to be a very occassional occurrance, but now it truly is daily. It is not always the subject on which I am teaching them, but that is OK! Something strikes them as fascinating and they are off- experimenting, researching, trying, drawing, recreating and learning. Times like these I have to put aside my lesson plans and go with the flow. It can be frustrating...but it is rewarding. Sometimes, it feels a bit like a wildfire.

Why does homeschooling seem to enhance this process? I think it has to do with the intellectual freedom inherent in homeschooling. Our children have so much more time to digest what they are learning. They are not hampered by classroom politics. Their independence in thought is encouraged. And they just have more time to ask questions, think, and investigate.

So, I encourage you - if you are new to homeschooling or feeling a little burned out (no wonder with all that fire-starting!), keep reminding yourself that you are lighting the fire - not merely filling a pail. Keep looking for signs of the smouldering fire - the spark, the sizzle, the small waft of smoke. That kind of fire will warm your soul!


rural momma said...

Great post!! :0) I love it when those little fires take hold and turn into wild fires. LOL

EEEEMommy said...

Great encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Your post makes me appreciate home education once again!