The Danger of the Same: School Edition

In another post, I addressed the importance of treating each of our children as an individual, raising each one in a personalized way, within carefully considered principles.

With a new school year beginning, it is good time to remember to apply this same attitude to educating our children.  In particular, if you have embraced the difficult blessing of homeschooling, you have a golden opportunity to give your children truly personalized educations.  I think there has been no better time than now for homeschooling.  More than ever, there is available a wealth of information, resources, and support to aid you in your task.

When evaluating whether a particular curriculum or program is right for your child, here are some starting considerations to ask yourself:

  • How does this program fit into my overall goals (spiritual, academic, practical, etc.) for this child?
  • How well does this program seem to match the intellectual aptitude my child is currently showing at this time?  Does it provide sufficient challenges without unnecessary busywork?
  • How well does this program fit the learning style that my child seems to have?
  • Does this program match the time, work, and curriculum dollars than I, as the teaching parent, can realistically devote to it?

Deal with fewer tantrums in 3 days (or less!)

It doesn’t matter if you discover an award-winning, hands-on Biology lab program if your child gets squeamish at the sight of raw chicken at the grocery store.  It doesn’t matter if you find a “results guaranteed” math program that requires ten hours of 1-on-1 teaching per week if you have organized your time efficiently and know you can only devote five hours.  It doesn’t matter if you come across the greatest art kit ever designed if your child would rather read for hours on end.  What matters is knowing your child and knowing yourself, and then choosing the best possible curriculum fit.

Some parents start with the curriculum choice and then try to fit the child into that curriculum.  I think that process is backwards.  The best results will be achieved by starting with the child in mind and then choosing the appropriate curriculum.  There will most likely be trial and error along the way in your curriculum choices!  But if you stay diligent and dedicated, you will likely find what works best for your child.  Understanding these words in their proper context, as Maria Montessori advised:

Follow the child.

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