Time for School Letter

Aaaaaagh! My baby’s nearly five ~ I’ve got to start school!
(said by a mother intent to begin homeschooling her firstborn)

Dear Mother,
It’s just not true! Are you ready to consider a different way?
Did you go through institutionalised schooling? Chances are high you did. And if so, might I suggest that you will need to learn to learn from life and not think of learning as school. School tries to simulate real life learning experiences – but we are not in school, we have the real thing on our doorstep. We need to learn to use reality, to learn to use LIFE, and not duplicate schoolrooms at home. At least, that’s how it went for me.

Can you try to imagine thinking about learning without making reference to school? What would be important? How would you go about it? What would you do? And when?
It’s quite possible that teaching a five year old to read would not be high on your list of priorities. And if it is, it might be an idea for you to read some of the screeds of literature that suggests it’s not a wise move;-) LINK

Have I convinced you? No? You still want to teach that baby to read? Before you get overwhelmed with how to go about doing that, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do we read the Bible and practise memory verses every day?
  • Do we talk to God throughout the day?
  • Do the children do chores every day? (Do I?!!!)
  • Do we have science equipment (eg magnifying glass), a few musical instruments (homemade drums and shakers will do) and art supplies available? Do we make time to use them?
  • Do we snuggle up and read together on the couch every day?
  • Does my child obey me?

If you answered “YES” to all the above, keep it up and please please please start doing some reading for yourself about home education. If, however, any of those areas are off your radar at them moment, work on one at a time until they become a habit… then teaching your child to read won’t be such a formidable task (trust me on this one).

One more thought to allay those fears – if you were in the United States you would not be thinking about whether or not your child could read until they were six years old, and in some parts of Europe you wouldn’t even consider it until seven. Five is when we send our kids to school in NZ and so that is what we think of as the norm – but not all children are ready then. Hold the formal academics for a moment (if you can ;-)) and educate yourself first. Your child will benefit and you’ll probably save yourself some money!!

I suggest you might like to start with these books:

Let Us Highly Resolve by David Quine
The Heart of Homeschooling by Chris Clicka
Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson
The Duties of Parents
by J.C. Ryle
Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore (or Better Late Than Early by the same authors)
Any Child Can Write by Harvey Weiner (if you absolutely must read something about this now!!!)
Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler (or Five to Eight by the same author)
From Playpen to Podium by Jeffrey L. Myers

This will get you started and will help you to see that a full life will provide your young child with ample opportunity for learning. You will then probably have the confidence to take a wee while longer to read a bit more! If you’ve got no other direction, you could take a look at The People Who Influenced Us or our list of Education Books.

So do you see what I’m saying? Maybe it’s not time for your little one to do school – perhaps it’s time for you to do some learning first!

Kind regards,

PS If you’re wanting some ideas of things to do with your little ones, try this page.


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