Bending Education to Fit the Child

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Bending Education to Fit the ChildWe are not moving children through a system.  We are really tutoring our children — starting where they are, determining what they need, and leading them rather than pushing them from behind.

It is for this reason that we find our own way, develop our own programs, and educate ourselves.  There will be different applications of any particular educational approach for each family.  And there will be modifications within each application for each child.

A friend of mine was already deeply into astronomy at age 10 when I first knew him, and he now teaches astronomy at a university and does research for NASA.  This will happen to some of the Mozarts among our children.  Parents will know early in life what to help them learn.  If this happens in your house, you have no curriculum bureaucracy to battle except yourself.  You can do what Mozart’s father did and bend the education to fit the child.

Other children need more years to explore more topics until they find one that can be a lifelong interest.  For these children, too, you may do some curriculum bending.

Ruth Beechick, The Language Wars and Other Writings for Homeschoolers

How can we bend education to fit each child?

  • Value his uniqueness.  The Creator did not create us all the same, nor do we all have the same purpose.  We see this in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he points out that we are not all hands, nor feet, but we each have gifts that are meant to be used for the edification of the body of Christ.  So we respect our children for who they are and were created to be.  This means laying aside our grand plans and walking in step with God’s.  Uniquely created, each child will have different needs and requirements.  It would be antithetical to learning to force the round peg of our child’s uniqueness into the square hole of a generic education.
  • Evaluate his skills.  We can appreciate where our children are in their skills and begin there.  The basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic tend to build upon each other – precept upon precept.  We do a child a disservice, and limit his potential ability, if we push him faster than he can go, or slow him down to fit the pace of the materials we are using.
  • Discover his learning style.  How do our children best learn?  No, we don’t need to cater particularly to this one way of learning, but knowing how each child learns will be a handy tool when it comes to making difficult concepts clear.
  • Explore his interests.  What is he into?  What keeps him busy all day?  What is difficult for him to stop talking about?  These interests can become the material upon which our children can practice their growing skills.  By doing so, we give meaning, interest, and application to new skills and information as it is encountered.  In other words, we make it relevant.
  • Fuel the fire.  We can provide our children with a learning lifestyle.  This will help each child value learning as he understands learning doesn’t happen only between the hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. but 24/7.  As learning becomes his way of life, he will be more likely to get in his 10,000 hours.

Personally speaking, as we near the completion of our formal homeschooling efforts, I love the fact that my children love to learn, that they are able to converse on a very wide variety of topics because of an unsquelched interest in the world around them, and that no matter what they come across in the future, they have developed the skills and ability to learn what they need to know.

Homeschool mom, take courage!  In a way that only the Father can accomplish, the fruit far exceeds the hours of investment.

To do what no others or few others are doing in life might mean traveling an education road that few others are on.  That diversity and possibility for diversity are major strengths of the homeschooling movement.

Ruth Beechick, The Language Wars and Other Writings for Homeschoolers

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