Don’t show up to a culture war without a culture. — Professor Carol Reynolds
The world is after the hearts of your children.
No, I am not saying that to leave you shaking in fear. Don’t be afraid, mama, because you’ve got chocolate and Jesus and a plan. There is no need to fear.
Instead I just want you to ponder that statement a while. Make no mistake that there is a culture war going on. The world has a myriad of distractions to pull our kids’ attention from the ideas that have shaped our culture. If we are not giving our children an education in that culture, then they will be ill-equipped to fight the war.
We live in a world that delights in the crass over the beautiful, that encourages the easy choice over the good one, and rewards relativism over truth.
But fighting a culture war is hard.
You can read or listen to this post.
Between the phonics, the laundry and the science experiments, some days it feels impossible to carve out time to get to all those lovely things we want to give to our children. How do we fit in the music appreciation, beautiful art, practicing worthy skills like drawing, or learning about saints, missionaries, or the different people of this big old world.
There is a good chance that spending time with those things is one of the reasons you wanted to homeschool in the first place. You wanted to give your children an education in the lovely and to turn their eyes towards what is beautiful.
Now you find you are losing the battle to blocky worlds and Poke-walks where no one even bothers to pay attention to the beauty of Creation around them.
But you can fight back and you can win this battle. Remember that plan I mentioned above? Now is the time to start formulating your strategy. Here’s how:
- Set aside a small amount of time each day and make cultural study a priority in your schedule. You can do ten to twenty minutes of anything, right?
- Get your kids on board by choosing age-appropriate activities and serving yummies like popcorn and hot chocolate.
- Choose an engaging story to read — something with beautiful language, excitement, and worthy ideas. We suggest The Green Ember, The Prairie Thief, or The Chronicles of Prydain (for the older crowd).
- Listen to some beautiful music. (This can even be done over breakfast or lunch.) Is your family familiar with these kid-favorites?
- Provide some interesting activities the kids can do with their hands while listening to music or your reading aloud. Watercolors, chalk pastels, Play-Doh, perler beads, and Legos are all favorites here.
- Look out the window and sketch something you see. Get inspired and informed by John Muir Laws and take note of the beauty around you.
Store all the items you need together, pull it out once a day, and do one thing to bring culture to your kids.
I can hear some of you protesting now. But my kids won’t do this. They won’t like it, will roll their eyes, will want to rush through so they can get done with their “real” school so that they can get back to the television or the horrible books the publishing industry has designed for boys because “reading anything is better than reading nothing” (don’t buy that line either, okay).
You have just found your battleground in the culture war — drill sergeant.
OK, the drill sergeant approach is not the best tactic to take in this battle, but it can be won with some brownies and a lot of persistence. Our kids will not immediately be willing to sit and listen to 45 minutes of a Bach overture, but they can be won over with a few minutes of beauty (along with that snack) served consistently every day.
At the end of the year those few minutes will have added up to over 2,250 minutes of truth, goodness, and beauty to your kids’ hearts. That’s 2,250 minutes they didn’t have before, all because you made it a priority.
That makes the battle worth fighting.
P.S. Next week I will be sharing some successes from other moms in the trenches. Make sure you are on the email list so you don’t miss their stories.
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