In his final moments, the old man struggled to speak, and began confessing to his children of a wasted life. “Wasted!” the dying man moaned. “If only I could do it over. I would study twice as hard. You know, in all my life I have never won a single spelling bee. I could have had a 4.0, but I settled for a 3.8. My SAT, a mere 1250.
And why, oh why, didn’t I earn an advanced degree. Forgive me children, for forgetting what is important in life.” With that, the old man muttered, “Wasted, wasted, wast…” and passed into the next world.
I am guessing that no such deathbed confession has ever occurred. That is because in the big scheme of things, school really isn’t that important. Homeschoolers need to hear this as much as anyone else. We see our way of life constantly challenged and feel the need to justify our decision. Wanting to show the world that homeschooling is just as good, even better than public school, many homeschoolers become obsessive.
Our children must be the best, score the highest, and be admitted to an elite university. We are so afraid of affirming the “socially awkward rhetoric” that we over commit our children, sending them here, enrolling them there. Soon we find that the meaningless chaos and noise of public education has been duplicated, even amplified, in our own homes. We are proud to see our children at the front of the pack, but oblivious that they are off chasing the same bitter carrot.
The thing that matters most in life is our relationships. Our relationships with God, family, friends and even strangers have eternal significance and give life meaning. So, it makes sense that what we teach and how often we teach it, should reflect what we value.
The Bible says, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Eccl. 12:12-13) Education is important, but there is a time to close the books. A time to close the books and enjoy our children and let our children enjoy us. A time to close the books and visit aging grandparents or an ailing neighbor. A time to close the books and serve others. A time to close the books and start living!