In our homeschool, we have have the belief that “who you are is more important than what you know.” While that may sound like a cop-out, an excuse for low academics or even just weird at first glance, let me explain.
Dr. Maria Montessori is a giant among educational leaders of this century. Her teaching philosophy was based on three fundamental principles:
- Individual liberty
- Preparation of the environment
This is what teaching the whole child is all about. And while we don’t strictly adhere to all of the Montessori methods in our homeschool, it is our desire and goal to help each of our children reach their fullest potential.
It’s because of this that we put more emphasis on excellence of character in our homeschool than on academic achievement.
The Basis of Moral Character
We start each day with individual Bible reading. We’re using our Bibles and the YouVersion Bible App to read through the Bible independently each day. Even our four year old knows she must listen to her Bible reading via the app before anything else after breakfast. This allows us to come together for our family meal of the day and discuss what we’ve learned, about God, his principles for life, and ourselves.
If my children learn to know God, hear his voice, love him and serve him, they will be able to do anything he calls them to do in the future, through his strength and direction. (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
We also use academic studies like “The Omni-God” series as part of our regular academic material to teach them how to practice truthfulness, faithfulness, patience, responsibility and other character traits that will be important to their success as adults.
Who you are is more important than what you know. – Katie Hornor
Moral Character and Liberty
Recognizing that each of my children is unique, and many differ from one another in learning styles and abilities, I try to find materials suited to each one’s strengths and interests.
This is especially important in Math for instance when my girls enjoy the challenge of Christian Light math booklets, feeling triumph with each one finished in 3 weeks time (10 a year), while my hands on learner boys need a more Saxon math approach with manipulatives and visual/tactile tools for learning.
It’s also true in middle school and high school. Realizing that one child has talent and skill with art while another has talent and skill in music, or an interest in a particular competitive sport, computer programming, engineering, food creation, etc. we can further individualize their trainings to support those interests.
Preparation for the Environment
I heard at a social media conference recently that in 10 years roughly 70% of the workforce will be working remotely or from home. And gauging just the past 10 years of technological developments, it’s safe to say that there will be more changes to learn and adapt to in the following 10 years. Our children need to be prepared with work skills, but also with life skills like time management, flexibility, adaptability, work ethic and discipline.
Training The Whole Child
Character and academics must work together in the training of the whole child, but character is decidedly more important.
If I raise lazy children, accustomed only to being served, and rewarded only for their memorization skills, they are going to struggle with a job where the are required to set their own hours and deadlines, learn new skills, and apply new knowledge and insights to their work.
However, if I raise children who know God, live in the power of his promises, enjoy learning, have self-discipline, a good work ethic and can evaluate and apply new information to a given situation, regardless of what they’re called to learn and do in the future, I can be confident they have what they need to be successful.
So, dear homeschool parent, as you train your children to grow in knowledge, don’t sacrifice the character for the grades. Remember that, “who you are is more important than what you know.”
Here are some resources you might enjoy:
How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way, 2nd EditionThe Absorbent MindMontessori at Home Guide: 101 Montessori Inspired Activities for Children Ages 2-6Foundations of Character Homeschool Curriculum Kit (Drive Thru History America)Biblical Virtues & Values – Do-It-Yourself – Character Development Journal: Study 50 Characteristics! For Youth Group Bible Study, Homeschooling and … With Thinking Tree Books) (Volume 1)
Carrie Fernandez is the founder of Homeschool Giveaways and owner of Daily Skill Building. She has been homeschooling for over 18 years, has two girls and works side by side at home with her awesome husband. She has been saved by grace, fails daily, but continues to strive toward the prize of the high calling of being a daughter of the Most High God.