Wisdom vs. Knowledge (Some notes on Chapter 5, Home Education: Strengthening Your Child’s Mind to Learn for God)
The Clarkson’s have created a simplified list that they believe to be seven basic mental muscles (strengths) that kids need in order to graduate as strong, well-educated adults:
– talk and discuss much, create a print rich environment, read aloud a lot and on your own, write, limit television
“We all use language as a utilitarian means of information exchange, but those who understand its power use it to change lives and even influence history.” – pg 76
What are some of your favourite family reads lately? Do you, like me, find it hard to prioritize that yummy reading time when there are so many measurable things that you should do like math lessons, piano practice and copywork?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever if right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
– create and appetite for the best academic materials: great literature, art, music, poetry, books that bring people, topics and episodes in history alive. Limit videos.
Developing right habits is key to the success and good character of our children. “Most good habits are the end product of discipleship and discipline of your children.” – pg. 80. We must work on helping our children to become people of strong virtue. (That’s why I wrote “Working Together”!)
How do you help your family to build those right habits? What would define success in habit building to you? In our family, we have put an emphasis on habits that develop strong, positive character traits and that develop responsibility. (I would love it if Working Together was an encouragement to you as you strive to teach your family strong character while still working on conquering the everyday responsibilities of keeping home and family. Please do check it out!)
“Contemporary parenting styles may create overly programmed lives for children, by over-protecting them and over-scheduling them, which has the effect of denying children opportunities to discover for themselves as much as in previous generations.” – pg. 82 quote from Kyung Hee Kim, Associate Professor at the College of William and Mary.
– keys to creativity: provide time (FREE time) and tools, help to rightly develop the imagination (steering away from destructive imaginative outlets), encourage kids creative strengths and guide kids to try new things without forcing things on them and model creativity as parents.
One of the biggest lessons that I learned in all of my years as a math tutor was that kids who were always busy weren’t always the happiest or most successful. There has to be something else that leads to success and happiness even though busyness seems to be the mantra of our age.
“You must learn how to channel that God-given curiousity into pure-clean waters.” – pg. 84
– how to foster the right kind of curiosity: let them know that curiosity is good, model discerning curiosity, provide lots of resources (not just books but craft supplies, a microscope, telescope, computer programmes or appropriately supervised internet access), direct studies to areas that kids are interested in, plan field trips strategically, and use teachable moments.
Our reasoning is grounded in our world view so our faith is inextricably connected to our ability to take account of what is real or known (rather than speculative or unknown) to make judgements, to reason.
– Help to develop reasoning by constantly dialoguing and discussing issues, solving problems together, forming opinions and exercising thinking skills. (They suggest “two-minute mysteries” as good dinner time talk and thinking skill builders. Some of the mamas in our little group like the deductive reasoning skills books that often have fun mysteries to unravel. Any other suggestions?)
Wisdom goes well beyond knowledge to rightly applying what we know. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
– We can help our kids to be discerning by helping them to gain the skills needed to search the scriptures for the answers that they need. Teach them how to use a concordance, Bible dictionary and topical Bible to do their own research.
– Learn the connection between wisdom and humility by seeking answers from others that know more than ourselves.
– Pray for wisdom. Be a good steward of your time and resources. Write out wise quotes and keep them present in a book or posted in significant places in your home.
In our homes we need to cultivate a positive learning environment. Learning can’t be rushed however it is wise to help our children to learn a sense of duty so that they will also know how to do what they ought to do both as young people and later as adults. This a another one of the careful balancing acts that a parent must maintain knowing that home life itself is a huge part of one’s education despite the presence of a formal time.
Looking back, this synopsis seems long… There is just so much packed into each chapter. Yikes! I still have so much to learn. (Don’t you sometimes wonder that you will never really be ready to love and care for and teach your little cherubs until you have graduated them all? Maybe it’s just me.)
Wishing you strenth as you take this crazy job on!