Is it admission into college?
Is it a prestigious career?
Is it high college entrance exam scores?
Is it the ability to be competitive in a global market?
Is it preparation for a life time of learning?
Is it preparation for living out our unique purpose?
Is it the key to making lots of money?
Throughout history there have been many ideas about the purpose of education. Every school or educational system begins with its philosophy of the purpose of education. It is the driving force for why they do what they do.
Unfortunately, few parents spend the time thinking about why they educate. I see parents new to homeschooling knee deep in curriculums and swayed by every “good idea”. We get so involved in all of the nuisances of educating, that we forget the big picture.
The big picture is the point. It’s the reason we’re willing to work so hard, and make so many sacrifices to educate our children. Without the big picture, we’re like a ship being tossed to and fro by every wave of ideas.
With a purpose firmly in tow, we can glance at and even listen to ideas, but quickly discard anything that takes us away from our purpose. We’re focused and we’re passionate.
If we will invest the time determining why we are educating in the first place, (outside of the fact that we’re required to educate our children by law), the what and how of educating becomes much clearer. Life becomes so much simpler. We have a long term perspective on homeschooling rather than letting every little detail of homeschooling overwhelm us.
I’m including some quotes from some well-known people as a way of helping you to see the importance of knowing your purpose for educating as well as giving you some ideas as you formulate your own purpose for educating yourself and your children. I will admit that there are some interesting views on education, and you may find yourself disagreeing with a few. I certainly do.
As I began to search for quotes on education, I didn’t find one person who said that the purpose of education was to have a good career. I find that quite interesting, because I think that is what many of us focus on. In fact, many homeschoolers consider themselves successful if their children are able to do well in college and afterward have a successful career.
Perhaps we need to redefine success.
“The purpose of education is to give to the body and to the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable.”Plato
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” George Washington Carver
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the true goal of education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itsself.” John Dewey
Education is a weapon whose effects depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. Joseph Stalin
“Without education he lives within the narrow, dark and grimy walls of ignorance. … Education, on the other hand, means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light by which men can only be made free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is easy to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness and to defeat the very end of their being.” Frederick Douglas
Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. Albert Einstein
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. Thomas Edison
Of course, you should expect to tweak your philosophy as you learn and discover more about yourself, your children and education, but the changes should be minor. You’re not looking for the “perfect” philosophy. You just need a lighthouse, something to keep you on course as you navigate through the stormy waters of homeschooling.
Believe me, you’re going to need it –often.