Apr 27, 2010

Headgates Pro's and Con's

If you have not downloaded your copy of the article from I would recommend it before reading this. I learned about it a few months ago at the TJED forum and have been trying to appy the principles in my home....ssslllloooowwllly and I have discovered a few things as I have listened to the debate and to the arguments for and against headgates:

1. Principles are principles.. ..getting rid of distractions is a principle... does that mean that you must get rid of your lego', but mabey if it is a distraction in your home. Work is a principle..does that mean that you must work from 8-12 as she, but mabey if you find that helps your home to run smoothly and your kids learn some skills. I have found that principles should be they should be applied should most definately vary between families. But that does not mean that they should be ignored or rejected just becase someone elses "picture" of the principles is different from what we would choose.

2. Sometimes our arguements are just excuses for not doing something hard that we should be doing....I have heard many arguments against headgates that are similar to ones that I have heard when people ask about homeschooling. ...that works for your family, but could never work for mine....But what about socialization? . (ever asked that one :) ).... If you don't expose your child to the world how will they survive in the world....but my child would never just pick up a book and study, I could never do it..I'm just not ____ enough. I chuckle when people tell me these kind of excuses because I have moved past that point...I know that it could work for their family, that socialization has it's place and time, and that the world is good and bad and that good and bad are a part of a family just as much as they are a part of the world, and that yes, they will eventually pick up a book and read it, and that none of us are enough but we can become enough. And yet some of the excuses I have heard regarding headgates are the same...which leads me to believe that when approaching a new idea we sometimes react the same way...It wouldn't work at my house, I can't take their distractions away because of.____ and _____ and ______....., limit friends, limit toys, limit distractions? ??? ridiculous.. .they are children after all. I don't have enough work to keep us busy for that long...That is just crazy, we aren't living in the dark ages here (all of these are arguments I have heard over the past month regarding the headgates article.) For me when I feel defensive towards something... homeschooling, children, spouce, life, is usually because I am resisting the need to change and once I get past myself then I can see the truth hiding behind my arguments.

3. Application ! and ? I attended Keri's class at the forum. When I came home and was discussing it with a friend I told her that I had one concern...and that concern was that people would take her "picture"... (headgates) , and that they would take it as "doctrine"-- as the way it has to look and not as principles.. .not as these are things I need to do in my a better wife, be a better housekeeper, take back my roles that I've given away, be a better example of a scholar, be a better organizer and purger, be choosy about environment and circumstances, be more involved in what my children are choosing, etc. But that they would take it as...if I get up and have a devotional and then work their little bums off until 12 and then have reading time and then do whatever they want until 4 but I don't know what they'll do because I took all the toys away ...THEN I'll get scholars.... .without joy and fun and bonding and teaching and mentoring and love. This "picture" would be wrong....for anyone! Because being a mother and a wife is about nurturing and loving and giving and service and joy as much as it is about getting rid of distractions and letting them stretch themselves and withholding things until they are ready, and working together. I don't know Keri, but I am sure from what she is accomplishing in her own home and with others who do know her that she also is joyful and fun and loves her children, and mentors her children. Her "picture" is not headgates, that is just a piece of her "picture" of what happens at her home. It is a picture that has been a blessing to her family that she wants to share with others. So I have taken my own "picture" and tried to tweek it a little more to look like her "picture" which I do when I read Charlotte Mason, or John Holt, or the Home Companion. I take my picture and I change it and make it a little better. I want to create the most beautiful picture that I can create.

We all have our own unique talents and abilities and personalities and so do our children and yet we don't throw the baby out with the bath water just because both are dirty. And we don't keep the bath water and drink it just because it is water. We choose. We look at our life, at the principles before us, and to God and then we choose. I may choose to drink the bath water, someone else may throw out the baby. They both may be the right choice.

The truth hurts, but it also sets us free. It has been very painful at our house the past few weeks but I have also felt so from stuff, free from cares, free from weakness.

By their fruits ye shall know them....I have seen good fruits this past week at my house. Dude, my lol son who has never read a book more than 30 page in is whole life has read two books this past week and narrated to me what he learned and what he liked and what he thought was silly about the story...and how he learned you can't always trust a friend/ Both books were classics over 150 pages I didn't suggest he tell me about them, one I didn't even realize he had read.
Chipper my core son has been bored every day this week and I just keep saying I'm sure you'll think of something each time he asks me what there is to do....he eventually finds something. Today I found him in the backyard saying a prayer....can' t beat that!
Moo, my lol daughter is still in bed right now reading her tired eyes out because she can't put down Prince Caspian...and it isn't because she wan'ts to watch the movie like it used to be, it's because she loves the story and can't wait to see what happens next.
And Chip, my core daughter has given me about 50 hugs this week because her mommy has extra time to tell her I love you and twinkle in her general direction because her mommy is not so worried about making sure to get her study time in...I have time now, it is because her mommy is not so worried about the house being gets cleaned EVERY day...and what I didn't do today I KNOW they'll be time for tomorrow.

My "picture" still isn't perfect even though I've used headgates to tweek the schedule.... that's because I'm not a perfect wife or mother or housekeeper, or friend, or daughter, BUT...I'm becoming one..slowly, just like my children who are slowly becoming the people that they should become someday.

These were just some things that I have observed over the past few weeks and I hoped to give voice to the good and bad that I have found as I have studied how to do this wonderful thing called Womanhood :)


  1. Love, love, love this post! I feel the same way. The last three weeks at our house have been quite a ride for us all, BUT my house is clean, I have time to study, my children are PLAYING TOGETHER and it has been great! I would really like to meet you and talk more.

    Keri had no idea what she was starting with her ebook! I hope she is handling all of the negative comments okay. I think she is amazing!

  2. What does she do for fun? Is there any spontaneity or creativity? It sounds very regulated to me, and the goal looks like it is sanity and peacefulness for the mother as opposed to growth and development for the children.

    Like you said-- by their fruits you shall know them -- what does she actually do?-- not what does she hope to accomplish by doing what she does.

  3. I think what I loved most about the article is that it helped me question assumptions that I didn't even know I had. I didn't agree with al of the principles at first, but as i started questioning things more and more, I realized that I did agree with almost everything. Thanks for your points - I think they really good ones for people to consider.

  4. It was fun reading your thoughts on this. It's so fun to try these things and see the positive changes and growth in my children. If people have so many excuses that they never try it then they'll never know the beauty of it.

  5. The results in our home have been so immediate and positive, there's no way I'd go back to life "before headgates." People should try it and see how wonderful family life can be w/o all the distractions.
    Happy to meet you here!

  6. We have always tried to keep our house free of distractions, but Keri put into words some of the things I had been feeling for a long time and never acted on because I felt like it might be "mean."

    When we changed our diet (we cut out sugar, most processed foods, and most meat several years ago), I had to hang a sign on the kitchen wall that said, "I am not depriving my children. I am giving them a great gift."

    It helped.

    I also what you said about headgates being a picture. Precisely!

  7. Thanks for taking the time to share this. I too have been fighting to simplify and center myself and my family, I think I need to take to the time to finish the Headgates article, I also want to buy that womanhood book you're reading. Thanks for the motivation.

  8. Thank you for your #3. It's important that we remember these are priciples that we need to apply in our lives the way that God has told us to. Each family is going to apply them in a different way but if you have been led to the principles there is probably a reason. I have been one of the defensive ones and I realize that probably means that something needs to change. I am trying changes but things are not all peachy around our house and in fact they seem to be getting worse. I have faith that eventually we will find our happy place though.


  9. The problem with Headgates, is that there are wonderful principles mixed with harmful opinions. "Real science is comprehended following the study of mathematics, and is reserved for scholar phase. Watered down science is useless."....."their parents hold them to certain rules, requiring them to only make those things that are useful to the family."......"they are only allowed piano privileges as long as they play real songs that are beautiful and which they have been properly taught"........"the silver lining of the system is that the parents no longer have to home school. They now have the time to progress in their own scholarly pursuits".......I could go on, but I think it's obvious that this woman has some serious holes in her judgment.