Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homeschooling: Thoughts on Grades

We're back at it here, the daily school rhythm that I had begun to miss during our 3 weeks of vacationing. During that time, party after party of friends and family and their well meaning questions had me feeling a bit deflated about this whole homeschooling thing - especially questions like "What grade is he in?"

Grades are a funny thing for homeschoolers.  At our co-op, we operate in a grade level setting because of the sheer number of children - although exemptions are usually allowed in special cases.  In our home school setting, however, grades mean little.  My son does 4th grade math, reads at a low 2nd grade level and is in 3rd grade history, grammar/reading comprehension.  What grade is he in?  Well...I don't know.  And I'm not sure that, at this point, it even matters.

I was sent a link to a video recently (I am so sorry - I've searched high and low and cannot for the life of me find it or remember the name of it) that was talking about the history of the school system, how it began to fill a certain need and has morphed a lot over the years.  The singular most memorable soundbyte I came away with was this:

"Somehow along the line, we came to the conclusion that the singularly most important thing 2 people have in common is their age."

Not, it would seem, their abilities in any given area.

I understand that classroom with 20+ children need to have some sort of way of keeping order, and for those reasons it makes little sense to revert to the one room schoolhouse mentality: having children ages 6-20 in the same room and often studying the at the same level.  I'm not sure I would want my 6 year old girl in a classroom with a 14 year old, even if they were at the same level in their studies.

But therein lies the beauty and ultimate customization that is homeschooling.

I do think homeschooling parents need to watch out for lazyness - that is, saying your child reads at a lower level when it is in fact your fault for not working with him.  But I also feel that, especially in elementary aged children, one needs to be careful not to be overly pushy.  The goal is a love of lifetime learning, not burn out in the 2nd grade because he simply is not ready.  A child's self esteem is a very precious and fragile thing.  They need to know that, when they are working hard and moving forward, they are doing a great job.  Even if someone else in the same age bracket is slightly more advanced.

Bookmark Digg Bookmark Bookmark Facebook Bookmark Reddit Bookmark StumbleUpon Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Google Bookmark Technorati Bookmark Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you! While you're here, don't forget to click "subscribe"!