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What Defines Homeschool Success?

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By Beverly S. Krueger

“Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.” Sir William Haley

Becoming a life-long learner, that’s something that seems to come naturally to most homeschoolers no matter the homeschooling method used by their parents. Homeschooling is just that much more personal and the education derived is a personal education not something prescribed by a system bent on standardizing and leveling to the lowest common denominator. A system that values curiosity and creativity only as they falls within the given framework of scope and sequence and daily lesson plans will inevitably drive curiosity and creativity from many of its learners.

For most homeschoolers, whether they use a set curriculum or follow a less restricted style of learning, it just seems normal to follow a question to its logical end. Following a tangent is not the same as following a rabbit trail. Accepting your child’s curiosity as a valid reason to diverge from the daily routine by exploring something in greater depth than you planned demonstrates that that curiosity is valuable.

By tailoring our children’s education to their interests, we help them to keep their natural desire to scratch the itch to know, rather than teaching them that scratching the itch is not true learning. I’ve long believed it’s more important to help your children develop appropriate learning skills than to make sure they’ve learned a set subject matter. If they somehow miss learning about invertebrates, as adults who know how to learn they can easily discover the basic facts about invertebrates they missed. As various man-on-the-street surveys seem to bear out the tried and true classroom method of learning doesn’t guarantee that even when the subject of invertebrates is covered most of the students will remember much about them.

If at the end of your homeschooling career your children are excited about starting to learn, you’ve done well.

Copyright ©  2006 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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