This is what we are told as homeschool parents. This is what keeps us up at night, worried that we're not doing enough--that we need to be doing more.
Here's the thing, if you homeschool your children, you will need to accept this. There will be gaps in their "education." No matter how hard you work and no matter how hard you try, there will be gaps.
But, here’s something else you need to know. If you send your child to public or private school, they will also have gaps in their education. No matter what the systems do, no matter how hard the teachers work, there will be gaps.
Why? Because no one can know everything about everything.
Understanding the Gaps
Let me give you some examples and insights to consider. Each state or location has selected a group of individuals to determine the most important things that children need to know. They then decide when those concepts need to be learned and how often they will be tested.
They wrestle with the ideas; they agree to disagree on certain things, and then, they present their draft and final version. These standards are then used across the state to monitor the growth of students. The process is repeated in the next state over, and the one after that.
If you move to a different state or country, you will quickly see how different those standards can be from place to place. It doesn’t take much to see how great those gaps can be.
Even from one school district to the next—or one school to the next, approaches are different. Teachers are different. Pedagogy is different. Resources are different.
The idea that we all have to learn the exact same thing at the exact same time across a region is impossible. For even if we were all taught the same thing in the same way, our children would still be different.
Our children would still learn differently. Our children would still come to the table with different God-given abilities and interests. And our children would still not learn everything they were taught.
Even if they aced every test, their brains would still “dump” the parts that were not helpful a few days later. Their brains would filter out the parts that were not considered interesting or necessary.
Let’s be real. How much did you remember a week after taking a test? How much do you remember from your schooling now? How much do you need to look up when you help your child with math or geography? Or history?
We all have so-called “gaps.”
This idea that we must all know the same things in order to be “educated,” is a deception. It’s indoctrination. And it is downright dangerous to our liberty and individuality.
We are not robots on a conveyor belt, ready to be programmed. Our children are not robots in need of a specific download. We are living, breathing souls with a need for truth, goodness, and beauty. And purpose.
So, what are we to do as Christian homeschool parents? How do we prepare them for a world that seeks to compare one child against the other in order to purposefully see and capitalize on the gaps?
We educate them. We teach them to be wise. We grow them in the “training and admonition of The Lord.”
Education is more than the memorization of facts and dates and events. It is more than getting straight A’s and passing a standardized test. It is the ability to think critically, to analyze, to evaluate, and to synthesize ideas. It’s the ability to not just sit and take what an “expert” says as fact but to be able to question and see the “fact” from a different perspective. It’s the ability to be able to learn about anything—with or without a system.
Education is about learning how to read and write well in order to process and communicate ideas effectively. It is about understanding mathematical concepts—not just to sit for a year to compute the irrelevant—but to understand how to keep a budget, stay out of debt, make sound investments, or run a business.
Yes, we feast on ideas. We learn about God’s creation, and His people, and His story. We learn how to create and how to build something greater than ourselves with the gifts and abilities that God has given us. But ultimately, it is about knowing how to learn and how to close the gaps in the areas that are of utmost importance . . . to the individual.
THAT is education.
The Bible also tells us that “the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom is far greater than schooling. What good is it to know a lot of things about everything and still not be able to know how to make rational decisions? What good is it to be smart if your intentions do not serve humanity?
If we want our children to be wise and make wise decisions in adulthood, then we mustn’t leave out the most important thing. If we want our children to understand purpose and meaning and depth, then we mustn’t focus on an ideology that removes God from the very basis of His creation. God is everything.
And education can NEVER be neutral. Worldview is everything. We must teach wisdom to our children.
And finally, education is about character development. It’s about work ethic and perseverance, dedication and commitment. It’s about relationships and loving others as we love ourselves.
If we want our children to be ready for a world that is constantly shifting and moving, then they must be adaptable, strong, and courageous. They must be ready to stand—even when the rest of their peers are sitting. They must know how to lead, how to support, how to grow, how to communicate, and how to love—regardless of what comes their way. Education is about preparing them for that.
Closing the Gaps
Yes, there will be gaps no matter what we do. There will be gaps no matter how much we push and prod and worry. But let us ensure that our children are equipped for whatever The Lord has in store for them. Let us make sure that our children are not missing the most important things.
Define what that is for you and your family, and stand tall.
Educate, teach, and grow, and then, trust God with the results.