Homeschool Essentials

Whether unschooled or highly structured, religious or secular, all homeschools encounter the same challenges. All successful homeschools exhibit the same essential qualities. This weblog will help you understand and apply those qualities, minimize frustration, and enjoy more success sooner.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Homeschool Success? or ?

What constitutes success for homeschoolers?

Take Daisy(not her real name), for example. At eighteen, she finished a formal homeschool career with high test scores, and played the violin beautifully.

Attractive, healthy, and bright, she entered college, and quickly became totally lost. Although academically well-prepared, she had no sense of personal identity or purpose. Offered a job in her preferred field, she couldn’t convert that opportunity into a career, because, although she had worked hard growing up under her parents supervision, she lacked the motivation to work diligently on her own. As her work performance flagged, she lost self-esteem. Her appearance suffered, and then she missed work. What might have been a leg up in her chosen field now became a disaster.

She’s a productive member of society, but instead of a fulfilling career in a field that matched her talents, she moves from one job to another at the lower rungs of employment. Several years later, she still doesn’t know what her life is about. In terms of strictly academic performance, Daisy is a star. Give her information to remember and reproduce on a test, and she shines. But so far, the sterner course of Life 101, gives her no better than a C+. She’s not pregnant, and not on drugs. Nor is she happy, or living up to her potential. If she were my child, I would not consider her education truly successful.

On the other hand, compared to many other young women in her generation, she is doing well. The parents worked hard, and were successful, at duplicating the school environment. She even scored well on standardized tests, often the state's preferred mode of measurement. But the really important things were missing.

One mother, highly competitive and quite certain of herself, though she had neither experience nor training as a teacher, discounted my approach. "We're not people who feel that as long as you get character right, academics don't matter." As though that were the choice. But experience repeatedly demonstrates that if you get character wrong, academics truly don't matter. Get character right, and you get all the academic achievement that child can produce.

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