What is Home Schooling Success?
I recently heard that success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. Progressive realization, seems to me to be a step by step, line upon line process. Most of us get that don't we? But what of the words, "worthy goal" ? If I can identify the goals, can I say that we are progressively realizing them? Often, I have felt like i was playing a football game where after I made a few first downs, someone came in and moved the goal posts further away. Ever working, but am I actually getting closer to "success" in home schooling?
Attempting to discuss this topic, is certain to lead to failure. There must be as many "worthy goals" as there are families. Anything I say is certain to be right for me and wrong for many others. So I ask for your indulgence, patience and understanding.
Here are questions that we ask about our children, while we look for "progressive realization". I am not announcing at all, that we or our children have "arrived". To the contrary, the game isn't over until it is over. And with the development of a family, I am not sure it is ever over. However, I can say that choices we have made in home schooling have been a great contributor to the development of key skills and attributes we hope will carry forward in the future of our vast posterity. In other words, the education of our children must contribute to the over-arching goal of building a legacy in our children, and their children and their children's children.
Now for some of the questions we ask ourselves as we play the game and measure our progress...
What evidence do I observe that tells me that my children are effective leaders and informed followers?
When acting as leaders are they comfortable with the responsibility?
Can my children ask themselves questions and effectively search out answers and implement solutions?
Are my children overly reliant on others to learn?
Do I see evidence that they can direct their own learning goals?
Do I see in my children that their natural curiosity has been preserved and that they use it daily?
Do I see them giving their heart to some topic and desiring intensely to learn about it?
Do I see my children having meaningful learning experiences on their own?
Do I see my children able to study out a topic and synthesize the information into conclusions of their own?
OK. These are a good start.
Do you notice what questions are not here? Specifics about certain topics are not listed. Spelling is not here. etc. I am more concerned about their "approach" to learning than I am about the specifics. Cyndy is more concerned about some specifics. That is how it works here. Both are important. HOWEVER, we have learned that many of the specifics come along as an outgrowth of a personal interest. What do I mean?
You can teach spelling, or you can have them write up their interest in a topic they are passionate about, and correct the spelling there. You can teach grammar, or you can have them write or talk about a topic that currently has them captivated and correct the grammar there. You can teach them about history, or you can have them relate the "history" of the topic that has their curiosity captivated right now and discuss it with them including a larger context. You can teach them about aerodynamics, or you can have a family contest building paper airplanes and read a book about building the best paper airplanes and why certain types work better than others. You can teach them about US Government, or you can read the results of the last election together and discuss why this is a disaster for some and a panacea for others, especially after visiting the office of the local mayor. I am sure, if we were sitting down together in a small group, we could come up with tons of examples of natural learning methods that preserve instead of destroy God given tendencies or talents.
I have observed that teaching can actually destroy curiosity, self directed learning behavior and personal initiative. Yet we often are convinced that we are doing the right thing. It's like administering a medication to heal, only to find out later, was laced with mercury and the FDA hadn't figured it out yet. Now we are left to pick up the pieces.
Are your goals in home schooling defined? Can you see success happening? Do your home schooling goals contribute to the development of lasting skills and attributes in your posterity? Give this some thought, write down your conclusions and "success" might be more evident that you give yourself credit for.