Homeschoolers: Engaged in Learning

Dr. Geoffrey L. Collier a psychology professor at South Carolina University recently published an article on his views of what is wrong in higher education. The bottom line of the article was that most students entering colleges and universities are not emotionally engaged in learning and often view themselves as adversaries of their professors. Taking part in a game of how little can I study or work to get the grades I need to graduate. This set of facts is creating upheaval in the job market where employers constantly complain that recent graduates lack basic knowledge (writing, math, etc.), good work habits and intellecual discipline. My belief is this situtaiton is born of a public school system, which promotes mediocrity and is loathe to tell any child they have failed and need to improve. Dr.Collier calls this our “everyone’s a star” culture.

Now contrast the attitude and work ethic of a homeschooler, that values learning, with the above description of what is wrong in our education system. A child who is emotionally engaged in what they are learning and participates in their educational choices will not only respect the process but themselves as well. I firmly believe that as guides for our children we need to let them learn to make decisions and set goals for their learning path. This is hard work and takes thought but isn’t this part of our children’s education as well? How can we assist our children in this area? Listed below are a few things our family has implemented in our years of homeschooling:

1. Meet one on one with your child periodically to determine subjects they are interested in learning about and develop a curriculum around this area.

2. Assist your child in setting goals, determining materials to be used for learning and projects that will apply the knowledge to real life.

3. Resist the urge to squelch goals you feel might be too lofty, as our children often surprise us or have a different vision of succes than we do.

A five-year-old might say they wish to go to Mars but seeing photos and watching videos could be their vision of success and learning has occurred.

4. Do not save your child from failure. We often learn the most by disecting what we did wrong and then find the seeds of success in the process. Doing

this also builds self-confidence which is a must for a fulfilled life.

5. Establish work experiences for your child and encourage them to learn by volunteering their time and knowledge. These events lead to developing

work habits and accountability; essential tools to participating in society.

6. Never forget learning is fun and a natural part of our desire to grow as people.

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