This past weekend I read an article on a popular medical website. The topic was the safety of reopening schools. The article listed these benefits of children being in school: education, child development, free lunch and other meals, behavioral health support, and community support. You and I know that school is not the only way for parents to provide their children with those. We also know that families and churches have the primary responsibility of providing them.
The article told about how other countries are handling school openings.
- In one country, students have their temperatures checked before they go inside. Tables in the cafeteria have plastic dividers.
- In another country, one quarter of students in each grade attend school one day a week.
- In one country, students have been attending school since February, but they are required to wear masks.
- Another country has cut class sizes in half. Hallways have become one way. Students must dress warmly because windows and doors stay open for air circulation.
During the last few days, I completed a biography of James Madison for America the Beautiful. Madison learned at home until he was 11 years old. From age 11 to 16, he attended a small school with one excellent teacher and perhaps 30-40 students. A minister then tutored Madison at home until he attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), a college founded to train ministers.
As I thought about the article about schools reopening, I remembered the simple, uncomplicated education of James Madison. That education prepared him well to be the youngest delegate in the Continental Congress, a member of the Virginia legislature, the “Father of the Constitution,” an author of the Federalist Papers, an author of the Bill of Rights, secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson, one of the negotiators of the Louisiana Purchase, and president of the United States.
Education doesn’t really have to be complicated. Ray and I tried more than one method before we became wholehearted homeschoolers. Were we to educate our children again, homeschooling would be our only method. If we paid anyone else to instruct our children in anything in any place, we would choose that instructor with a well-thought-out purpose and with the instructor’s character as the most important qualification. Looking back we know that our children had an excellent art teacher. However, we regret what two of our children were exposed to in another course that met at a church. We are thankful that our children were discerning enough to tell us.
Don’t let anyone intimidate you into thinking that you cannot give your children what they need.
I can do all things
through Him who strengthens me.
*National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Frederic Edwin Church) The Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the country’s first private museums, was established in 1869 to promote art and American genius. In 2014 the Works from the Corcoran Collection were distributed to institutions in Washington, D.C.