Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is My Child On Track?

Homeschool parents, wanting the best for their children, often wonder, "Is my child on track?" Lets's think about what this question implies.

A train barrels down the track in one direction, never veering right or left and rarely stopping until it reaches its destination. Is that really what we expect of our children?

Instead of a rigid train track, the learning process is more like the trail left by a cross country skier! There are obstacles to get around. There are hills of various sizes to climb. Sometimes, we stop for a break. A cross country skier proceeds more slowly than a train but he, too, will eventually reach his destination.

Teaching is an art, not a science. The most effective teachers do not follow a predetermined route for each child. If something doesn't seem to be working, they pause to re-evaluate and try something new. Is the pace too fast? Is the grade level a bit too high or low? Is the teaching method not effective for this child? Find a way to get around the obstacle and make it up that hill!

Don't feel like a failure if you must experiment with curriculum and scheduling. That's a normal part of the process. Few children are trains, but many parents think they need to be an engineer, driving the child in the right direction and adhering to a strict schedule.

Be the lead skier instead! Identify the obstacles, call out a warning, move the heavy brush out of his way. Stop to point out an interesting tree or follow a bunny trail. Don't focus on arriving at the depot. Enjoy the trip!

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