Falling in love with the person one is going to marry is no doubt the
most thrilling experience in one’s life. It is an exhilarating time,
as if living on cloud nine, and the sight of the person we love is the
most beautiful sight in the world.
But where does this wonderful emotion of love come from?
The experience of love for the human being begins soon after birth,
between the helpless infant and loving parents. Have you ever looked
at an infant in its mother’s or father’s arms, awake or asleep,
totally secure and protected? All of the love that infant experiences
is totally unearned. It is unconditional. And for the infant it
determines its view of life: is the world warm and benevolent or cold
and malevolent? Is life a source of happiness or misery?
Not all infants are fortunate enough to have parents who love them and
tend to their needs. But all human infants are totally dependent on
others to feed them and cloth them during those first few years of
life. And if that early experience is one of pain and frustration,
that individual’s view of life will be an unhappy one. But even an
individual with a damaged childhood need not turn into a dysfunctional
human being. Many of them, humbled by the lack of early love, are able
to respond positively to the love of others. The power of love should
never be underestimated.
That is why I believe that homeschooling parents will generally have
good marriages that endure—because of those early experiences of love.
When parents not only feed and cloth their children but also teach
them, the experience of parental love is that much greater.
Some years ago I came across an interesting survey in one of the
popular magazines. The survey asked children what they wanted most,
and the answer was “more time with my parents.” I’ve never forgotten
that response, and it explained to me why the homeschool movement has
grown as it has.
Love begins as a feeling of warm attachment and security in the infant
who experiences the tender kisses of a parent, the times of feeding,
bathing, and clothing, the parents’ constant concern for the
well-being of that tiny, helpless child.
As the child grows older, learns to speak the language, and finally to
walk, he or she experiences a new emotion known as separation anxiety.
The result is that emotional attachment replaces physical attachment.
It is a necessary part of growth and the development of an independent
sense of life. But the emotional attachment will endure for the rest
of one’s life.
Dysfunctional families are the victims of emotional confusion and
frustration. Their members were not able to develop the needed secure
and warm attachments that come naturally with loving parents in those
early days of total dependency. That is another reason why
homeschooled children will no doubt have better marriages than those
who come from dysfunctional families.
Love is at the heart of homeschooling, and that is why it is a
superior form of family life and education. It provides happiness
between parents and children and among the siblings themselves. When
homeschoolers meet other homeschoolers there is a mutual sense of what
family life can be when it is filled with children. They want to
repeat the happy times they had with their own parents.
Since no two families are alike, generalizations about homeschool
families have to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m sure there are
some homeschool families that don’t quite live up to the ideal we have
Each homeschool family is like a little academy. Some families are
musically oriented, others are more devoted to the arts, and others to
science and invention. The interests of parents are easily conveyed to
their children, and children are free to develop their own interests.
Homeschooling families are known to create their own family businesses
in which everyone takes part.
But there comes a time when the young adult will seek a love
relationship outside the family. And where will that young adult find
a future mate? Perhaps at church, or at a homeschool support group, or
at summer camp, or at a graduate school, or even via an Internet
acquaintance with another homeschooler. You can be sure that the
homeschooler will bring to that relationship an expansive sense of
love acquired from parents who gave that child their time, knowledge,
encouragement, and love of God.
Born and educated in New York City, Samuel Blumenfeld has written ten
books on education, including several that are considered homeschool
classics. His phonics program, Alpha-Phonics, and How to Tutor the
Three R’s, are available from Ross House Books, 209-736-4365 ext. 12.
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