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Holding Hands

Why Homeschool, Part 2

Alan Wilson

In the past few years I have used a book called Study is Hard Work, by William Armstrong as a reference for my high school students.  It is always a fresh reminder that studying is serious business and pays high dividends.  The author included a very challenging quote from a biographer of Abraham Lincoln reflecting on the education of this great president:

Mastery of language may have been that ultimate factor without which he would have failed. For the self-taught (read “homeschooled”) man who once would have given all he owned and gone into debt for the gift of lyric utterance had touched the summits of eloquence.  Yet this, like his other achievements, had not come by mere chance.  Patient self-training, informed reflection, profound study of a few great works of English literature, esteem for the rhythmic beauty that may be coaxed from language, all these had endowed him with the faculty to write well and to speak well, so that at last when profound emotions deep within him had felt the impulse of new-born nobility of purpose, they had welled forth – and would well forth once more – in imperishable words.

This speaks to the value of language and learning to communicate with excellence and eloquence.  Lincoln became the master of his generation in doing so, and it resulted in his being the most quoted president in our history.  He was a man who knew the vital importance of being able to speak to others in such a way that resulted in rapt attention on the part of the hearers.  How much attention do we give in crafting our language with such power?  It doesn’t come by any other path than determination to master language. And guess what?  It all begins with learning letters in Kindergarten!  This is why you teach your children – to pass on to them the truth and to give them the tools to learn to communicate with excellence and clarity.  No one cares more than you that this process takes place in the life of your child.  Our heart’s desire is to equip our children to become men and women skillfully able to express truth, both in speaking and writing, to a needy and dying world.  It comes with hard work, dedication, and vision. 

Mr. Armstrong goes on to say: “If you cannot find within your heart and soul the desire to learn, then you need not expect help from without.  You are the only person who can awaken the desire…” I disagree with that statement, at least partially.  The Scriptures teach that we are created in the image of God, and as such He has placed within us an insatiable appetite for learning and knowing – our ultimate quest is the knowledge of God Himself.  In fact, if one has no desire to learn, then that person is either dead or has suppressed the desire so frequently that it has calloused the divine urge to know and grow.   As parents we have the great privilege of fanning the flame of the desire for knowledge God has implanted in each of our children.

As believers we not only have an enhanced hunger for God but also an acute desire to fully know His universe.  It is only our fallen nature that conflicts with this pursuit through distractions, misdirection, or laziness.  But, again, as believers, we find that we have the infinite power of God within to accomplish “more than you can know or even imagine”!  Let us spur one another on in this feat of learning, teaching, and growing in the knowledge of God as we re-dedicate ourselves to the education of our precious children to His glory! 

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