True confession: I LOVE back to school season. I’m all about brand-new crayons and notebooks, clean backpacks, and a stash of unused glue sticks.
Are you getting ready for a new school year? Here’s the ONE thing you must do before the kids head back to school!
Whether your family is homeschooling full-time or “afterschooling,” we all want to empower our kids to follow their passions and use their unique gifts to make the world a better place, right? Ultimately, I want my children (and yours!) to walk into any classroom, any team, any job interview, and feel confident that they have something special to offer.
What is the school system’s role in education?
As a former classroom teacher, I know that most educators want the very best for each of their students. However, I also believe that the current school system is all about making learning as efficient as possible. It’s the reason why children are grouped into classes with their same-age peers and taught the same material all across the country.
The problem is: our children are NOT the same.
My third-grader is going to be on a different level than your third-grader. What comes easily to your child might be a struggle for mine. One of them might be advanced in math; the other might be advanced in reading.
No matter how hard the school district tries to homogenize learning, it just won’t work.
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and out-of-touch legislation, things are not going to change in the public school system anytime soon. It’s the reason why I work with parents instead of going back to teaching. We are the ones who get to personalize learning for our kids and prepare them for a life outside the classroom.
What is the parent’s role in education?
If you spend much time with me, you’ll probably hear me say this several times: Education is a journey, not an assembly line.
We are all moving forward every day, but not at the same pace. Some of us will travel on the same path for awhile, while others will head directly off the path to discover something new for themselves.
For the past seven years, I have been homeschooling my own two children. If any two students were going to be similar, you might assume it’s siblings who have been raised in the same home with the same access to education and life experiences. And yet, my children are VERY different when it comes to learning.
- One of my children is what you could call a “traditional” learner. She is studious, meticulous, eager to please the adults in her life, and someone who enjoys working with other children. She thrives off of checklists, schedules, and predictable routines.
- My other child is NOT a “traditional” learner. She is a deep thinker who has no desire to sit still and do book work. While she does love to read, she is also always on the move or fidgeting with something in her hands. She prefers to work alone and completes her work as quickly as possible to move onto the projects that really interest her.
My job is to help them understand HOW they learn best and teach them how to use their strengths to make the most of their years in school, all while working on developing their weaker areas. If education truly is a journey, I want to put them in the navigator’s seat with all the tools they need to make their own way.
I don’t want my children to depend on a school district, a teacher, or a curriculum for their education. I want them to fall in love with the discovery process and pursue learning for a lifetime.
Creating a family philosophy of education
My goals for my children may sound lofty, but I don’t think the process has to be complicated. In our family, we have created a philosophy of education that guides our major decisions around our children’s learning.
Simply put: we prioritize good books, learning through play, and family adventures.
What does your family believe about education? Have you ever sat down to talk about it with each other?
Helping our children find success in school starts with identifying what makes them unique. Crafting a philosophy of education and referring back to it at the beginning of each new school year means that no matter the school, no matter the teacher, no matter the curriculum, our children take back control of their learning.
When times get tough, when our kids run into a challenge, we can remind them of their end goals. We can help tailor their study habits to their strongest learning style and teach them to advocate for themselves with their future professors and bosses.