Raise a virtual hand if you can remember what year the American Revolution was fought? Can you find the length of the hypotenuse? Do you know what a hypotenuse is? What element on the Periodic Table is abbreviated Sn? What about Os? Can you identify an intransitive verb in a sentence? How about a diphthong?
And have the answers to any of these questions helped you be a more successful person?
As a homeschooling mom, you have probably felt the load of guilt from “not doing enough.” And by “enough”, you likely are comparing your homeschool curriculum with either your memory of school or with others around you as they attempt to “do school.”
It is imperative that we ask ourselves the question: “What is really important in the education of my children?” instead of assuming that the system has it figured out. (Because put your finger on the pulse of the society around you, and tell me if you think, by and large, we are giving the next generation the tools they need to be successful?)
Do we want our children to be good at school, good at tests, or educated in a meaningful way that will benefit them in their real lives? Force yourself to think outside of your experience and see the difference between schooling and educating.
“I’ve come to realize that being “academic” doesn’t tell you much about yourself. It tells you you’re good at school, which is fine if you plan to spend your life in academia, but very few of our students do. It doesn’t indicate whether or not you’ll be successful in your marriage, raising your kids, managing your money, or giving back to your community. All things that matter much more than being good at school.
School should be a place where kids can discover what they love. They should be able to ask the questions that matter to them and pursue the answers. They should discover what they are passionate about, what truly sets their hearts and souls on fire. They should discover they can make a difference now. Above all, they should leave school knowing what they are good at.” English teacher, Shelly Wright, Academic Teaching Doesn’t Prepare Students for Life
Because we only have so much time in a day, and so many days in a year, and just like that, our children are done with their education.
So what matters? Is it not true, that we believe an education is the key to [earthly] success? So why is it that so much of what is included in a standard education has nothing to do with being successful? And shouldn’t we be concerned enough about that to question the status quo?
And here is my opinion of what really matters when it comes to a practical preparation for life:
(It’s a given that I believe everything should be undergirded with our love and fear of the Lord. The following are more practical things as it relates to earthly success.)
- Financial literacy. Honestly, I think this is at the top of the list of things that will MOST impact our children in their practical lives. Because no matter what academic subjects are mastered in school, if a person grows up without a solid foundation of how money works, how to manage it and make it and how to keep it, it will matter little what he does for a living or what he scored on his ACT.
The truth is, we’re preparing our kids to have a family and make a living. That’s pretty much what we all grow up to do, one way or another. On the financial side of things, our kids have more opportunities than ever before, to make money doing what they love. But, they have to see it, and have an intelligent grasp of economy in the real world.
Schools, in tragic irony, aren’t giving our children a solid foundation of economy and real-life finances, on which most of their earthly success will depend.
We love Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance for high school.
2. The three R’s. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Our children need a good foundation in these three, and after that, the sky is their limit. We live in an age where information is infinite. Our children have anything they want to know at their fingertips. They just need to know how to access that information and the freedom to do it. We can’t learn a fraction of everything. So why not learn what we’re interested in, because that’s the only thing that we will retain anyway. Really, our job is pretty simple. And if we think that their education is limited to what we impart to them, we’re wrong and we do them a grave disservice to let them think that.
3. Relationships and conflict resolution. Because, life and people.
4. Problem-solving. We have two choices as we live life. Complain and despair, or find solutions to our inevitable problems. We need to be talking prolifically to our children about the right choice of facing our problems head on with an optimistic, problem-solving stamina. Largely, a person’s success will depend on his willingness and ability to solve life’s problems. Then end.
5. Character. Even though this is listed last, it really encompasses the others and isn’t necessarily just an item in the list. Diligence, honesty, integrity–these are the traits that, along with the aforementioned things, will serve our children well, bringing them success in their endeavors. The Bible bears it out, and so does experience. Character is best taught by our living example, so we have our work before us. Let us live lives worthy of emulation.
So what I really want to say to you, my fellow homeschooling mama is this: chill out. It’s OK if your kids can’t answer all the questions on Jeopardy. Granted, that would be impressive, but we shouldn’t be about the business of impressing. You’re doing more than you think. The endless worksheets aren’t going to make a big difference in your child’s ultimate success. Even the test scores can be a decoy from true learning.
Keep it simple and homeschool on.
Think Outside the Classroom
A practical approach to RELAXED homeschooling.
Read more HERE.