One of the questions I get asked most often is “how do you know if your child is learning enough?” To someone in the public school system, this seems like a valid question. It certainly did to me, as someone who attended public school as a child. But then you must ask yourself: who dictates how much a child should learn? The public school system!
One of the biggest problems I have with the public school system is that it tries to put every child in the same “box”. Every child is given the same materials and expected to learn the same material in the very same way. This doesn’t work! Every child is DIFFERENT. I have 5 children, and I am still amazed on a daily basis how differently each one of them learns. A lot of times we will watch the news or a documentary and have an analytical discussion with the older kids, and that’s how they learn. I believe they learn to think for themselves through analytical discussion.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic already. 🙂
The whole question of “how much” your child needs to know should be set by us, the parents. Don’t you think? Instead, when parents ask me this question, they are really asking “how do you make sure your kids are keeping up with the public schooled kids?” When parents ask me this question, they are asking how I make sure my kids measure up to the public school standards. One reason I homeschool is because I don’t think the public school offers quality education, so why would I want to measure my kids using their measuring stick?
What Should Your Child Learn?
So to answer the question about whether your child is learning enough, you need to determine what your child needs to know. And how do you do that? To me, it’s a personal decision. What do you want your child to learn? IMHO, teaching my kids how to regurgitate a bunch of irrelevant facts is not learning…I much prefer my children to learn lessons that will encourage them to think critically, as well as learn how to research facts for themselves. For example, we don’t go through a history book and learn about dates and names; I much prefer to select a topic, learn what happened and discuss what can be learned from that event.
It is more important to me to teach my children how to discuss things intelligently, how to stay informed on current topics and apply lessons from historical events to current topics than it is to get them to memorize facts that they will never again use. I also think that it’s important for my children to be able to read well, and know how to research definitions or other things they come across that they don’t understand.
Once I determine WHAT I want my children to learn, I can then easily determine if they’re learning enough. I no longer have to measure the success of my homeschooling endeavors by the public school measuring stick; now I can use my own measuring stick!
How do you measure your homeschooling success?