Hopefully I’ll be able to explain this one sufficiently.
On the surface it seemed common enough, a mother invited her 4 or 5-year-old daughter to sit with her on the piano bench as she played for the evening service at a local church. At one point the child’s little fingers arched over the keys to join her mom in playing the song, “Oh How I Love Jesus.”
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Because he first loved me!
The notes sang from the piano with a practiced pride. To everyone else this was a cute little performance, but the little girl’s expression made it clear that it was so much more for her—she got to play the piano with mommy in front of everyone.
Why is this “homeschool moment” such a big deal? Honestly, I’m not completely sure, but watching it happen I know that it was. Maybe it has something to do with the hours of practice that went into the twelve or so simple notes of the song. Or maybe it was the modest act of a mom allowing her daughter to join in making music. Or maybe it was the living picture of the song’s few words brought to life by a little set of hands next to a bigger set of hands playing, “Oh, how I love Jesus” over and over. Whatever the case, as the mom deliberately slowed her pace so her daughter could take the lead, “Oh how I love Jesus, because he first loved me,” I knew I was witnessing one of the most beautiful pictures of Christian education I’ve seen in a long time.
In preparation for parenthood I’ve been trying to “tune in” to the homeschooling happening around me. I don’t mean “homeschooling” as we often think of the word, rather, the underneath lessons parents are teaching their children everyday through their words, habits, actions, attitudes, etc. Research continually points to inescapable fact that parents are the biggest shapers of their child’s identity—in short, they’re the most important teachers. So if this easily missed homeschool curriculum is unfolding in every car ride, conflict and conversation, what exactly is being taught? I will be retelling the stories of the very best homeschooling examples as I see them…
As I drove to school one morning I saw that someone had rearranged the letters on the church sign right across from the Holland Christian parking lot. Some neighborhood kids must have thought it would be funny to write something inappropriate and unashamedly offensive. Two cars in front of me, a sliver minivan slowed before pulling into the church parking lot. I watched as a woman and her middle school son got out of the vehicle, walked over to the sign, and together changed the words back to the original message.
Talk about a powerful homeschool lesson. Maybe this mom was intentionally teaching her son in this moment, but more likely she was just doing a small act that needed to be done and invited her son to join along. Either way, what I was seeing went far beyond changing the words on a church sign. This mom was showing her son that when you see something wrong, something that hurts others, you don’t just drive by. We don’t merely shake our heads and talk about how wrong or upsetting something is, but we get out of the car. What an attitude to have towards injustices both locally and globally, worldwide and close to home. Though probably unaware of the significance, this young man was receiving an incredible education before the school day even started.
Stay tuned for more homeschool lessons coming soon!
Making goofy videos like the one below might seem a bit…pointless. Especially when you consider the papers that need grading, the lesson that need tweaking, and the endless flow of emails that need responding. So why take all the time to make a silly rap video?
I really believe that teachers are teaching more than just their content area. The way we talk about the new things we’re learning, the questions we ask, the ways we respond to the ups and downs of life–these life-postures and attitudes are teaching, too. Maybe students need to see their teachers loving learning and having fun in their content area before they can learn to do the same. Though growth requires hard work and discipline, education also must be playful if teachers and students alike are to maintain a sense of joy, wonder, and discovery. So here’s a peak at the H.C. Bible department at play…
Bible Department Rap from Holland Christian Schools on Vimeo.