By Pst. Isaac Murage
The spate of students burning their schools has been in the news for some time and it is getting rather desperate. One may even dare ask when the rain started falling on us. One of critical things that has been forgotten by many of us is that school is more than about academics. It is a place of character formation and helping our children to serve humanity.
In January of 2010, my wife and I decided to home-school our children. This was a decision that we arrived at after a long time of deliberations and consultations with various stake holders in our lives and our personal convictions about the role of education in a person’s life. As a former teacher with ten years’ experience under my belt, I had the privilege of being an insider in the system thus this was a decision informed by my experiences in the education system.
One of the dirty secrets of our educational system is that it is a cut throat competition for higher and higher grades. I was indeed privy to some of this competition and it was not pretty. When my son got ready to go to school we dutifully enrolled him to a local public school and were soon confronted by the challenge of our values and the public school values clashing. The school was interested in having the child perform “well” while for us academics were just one part of a multifaceted aspect the life of a child. It has been a journey of six years now and along the way I have picked up these five principles to actualizing a vision, dare I say any uncharted course
- KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING
It is very important to know why you have chosen to do what you are doing. Many of us get distracted from our course because we have not fully defined our vision and are not fully convicted by it. A good definition and grasp of why we are doing what we are doing and conviction are critical especially in moments of self-doubt and outside pressures.
- THERE IS ALWAYS AN ALTERNATIVE JUST AS GOOD
I remember when the Thika Super Highway was being made there was a lot hue and cry as to why not make Mombasa road a dual carriage way instead. The thing about humanity is that we are imbued with creative ability and the multiplicity of talents and abilities is immense. There are many alternatives to our choices. The key to staying the course is as I stated above having a very crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve the vision
- IT IS GONNA BE HARD WORK
The fact that you know what you want and have a clear vision about does not take away the hard work involved. Moulding character and teaching our children values has been one of the hardest things that we have done as a family. It demands that you walk the talk and be the example. There is a reason why people take their children to school and leave them there. It is a far simpler way of not getting your hands dirty. It is perfect way of out-sourcing one of the critical fundamental mandates of a parent which is to teach a child.
- MOST WILL NOT GET IT
New ways of doing things scare a lot of people. In fact, anything out of the ordinary is to be viewed with great suspicion. I have been surprised some of my fiercest critics are my educators in the formal sector. This new way of doing things threatens the status quo. Whenever you set out to do something new, be aware that you will face resistance and sometimes it comes from the very people who should support and fully understand what you are doing.
- SWIM WITH YOUR FELLOW SALMON
The good thing with the world is that you will always find like-minded people. People who do not want to conform to the general norms and laws that govern the known way of doing things. One of the critical helps to our home-schooling journey has been to walk and interact with fellow home schoolers. Like prophet Elijah in 1Kings 19 when we take a less trodden path we tend to feel alone; as if we are the only one doing what we do. Home-schooling is big movement in Kenya and it continues to grow. So whatever you are doing or pursuing now, do not despair and think you are alone. There is always someone out there thinking just like you. You just need to scratch the surface.