For the Family’s Sake: Chapter 2

Home – the Best Growing Ground for Children

Last week, two of our state governments announced, that under a new plan four and five-year-old children will have an extra year of education. The classes will be five days per week and will be free.
“It will mean that, in the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” the premiers said in a joint statement.
The pre-kindergarten year is unlikely to be compulsory when it is first introduced, but what happens later on? Will young children be required to attend school whether or not their parents want them to?
The real driving force behind this new plan is economic:
“At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working families.”
Childcare is too expensive for many families so this school plan solves the problem. But the underlying issue for many parents here is housing affordability, which forces both parents into working outside of the home.
The idea that early childhood education in an institution is the best environment for young children has become accepted and unquestioned. In some cases that might be true if the home environment isn’t good, or the child’s family is dysfunctional.
Years ago I had a conversation with a young mother who said that before her daughter was born, she didn’t question the fact that her child would go into day care at six weeks, just like all her friends had done with their children, even though she had at least six months of maternity leave after the birth. Then her little girl was born and she suddenly thought, “What am I doing?!” and completely changed her mind.
In For the Family’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay shares her own upbringing and argues, along with Charlotte Mason, that home is the best growing ground for children.


‘In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air.’
Home Education, Pg 44


Although this government plan is for a year of ‘play-based learning,’ it is directed by adults. They are the initiators and directors; the children are the vessels to be filled. A ‘quiet growing time’ at home recognises that children are born persons and that parents have been given a Divine Trust and a deputed authority.
I’ve written more thoroughly about this here.
We live in a post-Christian culture. How we live each day is based on our beliefs. On pg. 29 Macaulay writes:


‘What will a culture be like when people believe that there is no truth, no purpose, no meaning – that there are no moral absolutes? This kind of thinking devalues life to such an extent that many younger people (and older ones too) now lack motivation and la joie de vivre (the joy of living). Holding this life-denying post-Christian view, many are ignorant of the value and joy of having an everyday life rooted in a home and a community. The ordinary for them becomes boring or like a prison. Is it any wonder such life-cheated persons (for so they are) cannot enjoy simple delights and satisfactions?’


When a child is removed from a school situation to be taught at home they often need a ‘detox’ from the institutional setting where learning is regimented by bells and other methods of keeping order. This de-schooling process helps both the child and the parents to settle into a different way of learning; one that weans the student from reliance on external motivation to that of an internal desire to learn for themselves. Children often have to learn how to enjoy the simple things again. They need to be bored sometimes. They won’t die, but should learn how to occupy themselves and get their creative juices flowing.
A quiet growing time…
I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of my time outside when I was a child. My Mum would send me and my sisters outside to play – it helped keep the house clean, but it gave us a wonderful freedom to explore. Adults knew where we were and we were easily seen because we lived in a totally flat scrubby area with one hill in the distance which we could climb and slide down on bits of tin. I never really appreciated those years until I looked back later on. Day care and after school care would have robbed us of this formative time – my Mum worked night shift so it would have been a good excuse to send us off, but she managed and I’m grateful.
I often read about how beneficial early and extra schooling is – all these wonderful professionals (some very good, well-intentioned educators) who know best what children need; much more than parents do. Susan Schaeffer Macaulay recognised that her childhood home was a very great and godly gift but she also points out that her legacy did not come from perfect parents.


‘…perfect parents could not prepare us for a life that is to be full of our own and other people’s failings.’

Pg 25 – ‘In such a diverse world, to be good growing places or living places homes must adapt to actual persons, places, and situations. There is no one model. But certain qualities will be found in all these good-enough homes…’


She touches on an important point in the last paragraph of this page where she notes that although she had a secure childhood, her life was not the scene of ease and plenty that people expect today.
Some young people often want what their parents took decades to have. I was sixteen when my parents bought their first home. My husband and I bought or were given second hand furniture for years. We rarely went out for meals unless we were doing a long road trip and then it was a short stop at MacDonalds because their food was affordable at that time and they had clean toilets. It’s only been in the past couple of years that the two of us have been going out for coffee. We rarely did anything like that for over 30 years.


Pg 33 ‘…it is in the family home that children can best be seen for what they are – persons.’

This reminded me of something my flatmate observed years ago, before we were both married. She’d been to the home of a largish family for dinner – kids that she had labelled as ‘feral’ in other settings – but in their own home she saw a different side to them. They were settled and secure and she actually enjoyed their company.


There’s much I haven’t touched on in this chapter, but these were the main thoughts I had. What stood out to you?


Some inspiring posts on home life:


Coffee Tea Books and Me: Sunday Afternoon Tea – Our homes as a reflection of our God-given calling


Jenny of ELEFANTZ: The woman who inspired me…

Photo above – rocking my beautiful new granddaughter to sleep. We had our first family lunch in a while on Sunday with all four grandchildren, and their Great Grandma, who was visiting from interstate and got to meet the two youngest for the first time.

19 thoughts on “For the Family’s Sake: Chapter 2

  1. A great post, Carol! It amazes me that governments think adult strangers can do a better job of bringing up children than parents. It makes me think their goal is not intelligent, free-thinking, moral citizens but something else …….

    I didn’t join the read-along because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up but I did buy the book. I should definitely start reading it, even if I go slowly. So many gems within!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What makes my blood boil is that these politicians pop out ‘statistics’ to show how good it is for little kids to be in institutions for 6 hours, 5 days a week. If it were really ‘for the children’s sake’ parents would have the choice of sending them for only a couple of hours in the morning or perhaps just a couple of days a week. It’s just bizarre to think that 30 hrs of school per week is a healthier option for such young children.

    The article I linked to said that, ‘The policy is expected to be the most efficient way of boosting declining education standards with a similar model experiencing great success in Canada.’
    I wondered what you thought of this, being a Canadian.

    Please pop in with your opinions any time. I’m not rushing through this book. 🙂

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    • “Great success in Canada”????? That is laughable! Our elementary education and high school education is abysmal. I believe our universities are still quite good but they are giving colleges university-designations lately and I don’t think their education levels are warranting those standards. Some examples: a 5th grader who was halfway through the year and didn’t know how to subtract properly yet and a grade eight who was placing decimals in the middle of the answer no matter what the equation was. No teacher had corrected either child. You don’t teach rote learning here because apparently it kills the interest of children, and you no longer get children to memorize their multiplication tables. And to read a word incorrectly when younger is fine, as long as it’s in context. My daughter was teaching at a school daycare and they would only let children play games according to the rules or they had to come inside AND if they built anything they had to tear it down at the end of the day so they didn’t get an inflated opinion of themselves and think they’re better than someone else. 😳 I could go on but I suspect those are enough examples. There is also lots of social engineering in schools so parents are having to stay on top of what is taught. Also with the vaccination issues lately, they are saying children no longer need parental permission to decide if they are vaccinated or not, they can decide for themselves. It’s pretty alarming. I think the recent trend is that more and more parents are homeschooling or wanting to homeschool. I’ve been out of the loop for awhile but that’s my sense. Sorry! That probably doesn’t make you feel better!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! That was my first thought but uninformed guess. The politician didn’t add anything to back up her statement.

    What you said in your first comment – “It makes me think their goal is not intelligent, free-thinking, moral citizens but something else…” equates to social engineering. The younger you get the kid the more influence you can exert.

    I used to have a Bible study with some new Christian women originally from China and atheists formerly. Their children were in school here & learning English much faster than their parents. The parents were troubled because they couldn’t keep up with the social aspects being pushed onto their kids & were shocked it was happening in a country like Australia.

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  4. I am enjoying the book, and like you Carol, finding things that I missed the first time around – and also because I am learning and growing as a person. That new policy struck horror into my heart when Geoff (hubby) told me about it. I was interested to note that he thought it was a bad idea too because he is a business owner and economics are important to him. But, he thought it was a terrible idea to start kids at school so young. He has seen first hand how wonderful it has been for Iris and for us as a family to have her at home, to be curious alongside her. We both see her a person and ensuring that she has a stable home and is cared for, allows her to be a child and to grow into the person God knows she will be. Her care should not primarily be with strangers. We are learning to live, love and learn along side her and so the home must be a priority. If home isn’t, then what is that saying about how we value ourselves, and our lives, our purpose? An older Mum of my acquaintance said recently that the faithful, consistent everyday life is what we are doing and that it matters, no matter how imperfect that is. I agree. These are my rambling thoughts! Cate

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m enjoying your ‘rambling’ thoughts, Cate. 🙂 They make total sense.
      I read this article today. It’s from the USA but is applicable here, too:

      https://americanmind.org/salvo/baby-bust/

      ‘Subsidized institutional babysitting might be good for businesses by pulling more bodies into the workforce, but it is terrible for families…most of the country does not think that more full-time care is ideal for their families. Despite campaigns pushed by feminists in institutions across the media and public education, 53% of married mothers prefer to have one full-time earner and one stay-at-home parent while raising children under the age of five…

      Americans have been convinced their monetized work or their public prestige is of utmost importance and the work of cultivating human beings with care is the job of professionally-trained state employees…

      What the country needs is less pressure to break glass ceilings and more honor for the forging of strong foundations that only lasting familial bonds can provide.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the link. The quote from the psychoanalyst was the most telling I thought, that we should not be taking away those first months and years of bonding with mother, that this is done at the peril of society. That children need their mothers, being there. I also read a great line by Edith Schaeffer today that said it was sad that we would throw away home, with the natural interaction of different people and of differing ages. That this is part of balance. Being in a room full of kids all the same age for 5 days a week for these early years certainly does not fulfill that element of human growth.

        Liked by 1 person

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  7. Hi Carol,

    I’m not sure if it works best for me to comment on the blog or send via email, anyway I’ll try emailing this time.

    Just a little comment on what caught my attention from Chapter 2…

    “If enough people live according to the truth of who they are in relation to God and His goodness, then goodness spreads like a light.”

    These words are so needful for today’s society! When we come to an understanding that the way we live, day to day, the ordinary, can have a life changing impact on those around us, then those everyday things become important. The way we live can spread goodness. Our homes can be a reflection of Gods love, mercy and grace. What an honour, what a responsibility! It changes the view of homemaking being an archaic, old-world chore to homemaking being kingdom building work!

    🌷Jo

    On Mon, 20 Jun 2022 at 10:36 pm, journey & destination < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

    [image: Site logo image] journey & destination posted: ” Home – the Best > Growing Ground for Children Last week, two of our state governments > announced, that under a new plan four and five-year-old children will have > an extra year of education. The classes will be five days per week and will > be free.”It ” journey & destination http://journeydestination.org For > the Family’s Sake: Chapter 2 > https://journeydestination.org/2022/06/20/for-the-familys-sake-chapter-2/ > > journey & destination > > Jun 20 > > Home – the Best Growing Ground for Children > > Last week, two of our state governments announced, that under a new plan > four and five-year-old children will have an extra year of education. The > classes will be five days per week and will be free. > “It will mean that, in the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW > will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before > their first year of school,” the premiers said in a joint statement. > https://www.msn.com/en-au/sport/other/nsw-and-victorian-plan-free-extra-year-of-preschool-dan-andrews-dominic-perrottet/ar-AAYwhsJ > The pre-kindergarten year is unlikely to be compulsory when it is first > introduced, but what happens later on? Will young children be required to > attend school whether or not their parents want them to? > The real driving force behind this new plan is economic: > “At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working > families.” > Childcare is too expensive for many families so this school plan solves > the problem. But the underlying issue for many parents here is housing > affordability which forces both parents into working outside of the home. > The idea that early childhood education in an institution is the best > environment for young children has become accepted and unquestioned. In > some cases that might be true if the home environment isn’t good, or the > child’s family is dysfunctional. > Years ago I had a conversation with a young mother who said that before > her daughter was born, she didn’t question the fact that her child would go > into day care at six weeks, just like all her friends had done with their > children, even though she had at least six months of maternity leave after > the birth. Then her little girl was born and she suddenly thought, “What > am I doing?!” and completely changed her mind. > In For the Family’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay shares her own > upbringing and argues, along with Charlotte Mason, that home is the best > growing ground for children. > > ‘In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a > mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing > time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it > spent for the most part out in the fresh air.’ > Home Education, Pg 44 > https://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/vol1complete.html#043 > > Although this government plan is for a year of ‘play-based learning,’ it > is directed by adults. They are the initiators and directors; the children > are the vessels to be filled. A *‘quiet growing time’ *at home recognises > that children are born persons and that parents have been given a Divine > Trust and a deputed authority. > I’ve written more thoroughly about this here. > https://journeydestination.org/2016/04/09/parents-as-rulers-scope-limits/ > We live in a post-Christian culture. How we live each day is based on our > beliefs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jo, I think when you comment it goes to ‘pending.’ I always check now that I know WordPress does this sometimes. Your comment won’t show up until I do that but I do get it. 🙂

      ‘…the way we live, day to day, the ordinary, can have a life changing impact on those around us, then those everyday things become important.’
      Yes!
      I love what Oswald Chambers said because it deals with the ordinary & its impact on those around us:

      ‘”We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God…The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. “Jesus…took a towel,…and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes to you both! That Oswald Chambers quote is the best, such a great reminder this morning for me that a hindrance for me is looking for the big things to do in order to be of service to God. I do this all the time and it is a hindrance for me. Start with the ordinary. Jo, you are so right in saying that the impact of our faithfulness at home cannot be measured. I do remember that regularly and can see it in the contact I have with neighbours and the local children when they know I am at home always, and yet I still look to do something else’. Maybe it is just societal pressure that still reaches me, who knows? It is nice to read other people’s insights. Cate

        Liked by 1 person

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  9. I’m late in contributing, but here goes…

    Reading this chapter made me think of the French Revolution – where C.S. Lewis says “Europe can come out of Christianity … and find herself back where she was …. A post-Christian man is not a Pagan; you might as well think that a married woman recovers her virginity by divorce.”
    Post-Christian society doesn’t return to pre-Christian ways… – when the people in France had their way, society deteriorated to bloodshed, the massacre of Protestant Hugenots and in the aftermath of the Catholic Church, appeared atheism etc. Not a benign return to pre-Christian society at all. More direct rebellion and rejection of God’s ways.

    Also the scripture regarding the one whose house was swept and garnished came to mind.
    Luke 11:24
    When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

    25And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

    26Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

    The chapter mentions also the fall of the Roman Empire, and is that where civilization as we know it is at today? As society rejects Christ, debauchery and wickedness is rife and how long can civilization hold together without descending into at least some sort of anarchy.
    Governments have done their bit to contribute to the downfall of the nuclear family, Christian values and the home. I grew up in quite a traditional home, as did my husband with our fathers going out to work and us not coming home from school to an empty house. My parents deliberately chose to forgo income so that we children would have this home and they didn’t regret doing so. My father was in the police and my mum was at home or involved in our school for years certainly until my younger sister was older.
    The author also references her own father’s work – ” …how am I to live? What will a culture be like when people believe there is no truth, no purpose, no meaning – that there are no moral absolutes?”
    It seems that as traditional, Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians become the minority and as we seek to “hold the line”, home educating and I guess just holding traditional values and believing in moral absolutes, you appear more as outsiders and even outcasts. Society deteriorates and changes around us but as the hymn says “O thou who changest not, Abide with me.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Angie. I love that quote from C.S. Lewis – so wise and pointed. It’s interesting that even the prominent Atheist Richard Dawkins said, “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
      Susan S Macaulay addresses this more in Ch 3 when she writes about her old school still being a safe place – it’s just that these days it needs a police presence to keep it safe because ‘more and more persons do whatever they feel like doing, rather than obeying life’s basic rules.’
      Feel free to comment any time. 🙂

      Like

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