Monday, July 22, 2013

My "Don't" list

This week, I've had the opportunity to answer questions from parents who are preparing to homeschool their children. Over the years, I've had quite a few such conversations.

I thought it was interesting that in my conversations with parents, they are largely worried about their child getting into college.

So here is my "Don't List:"

1) Don't worry about your child getting into college while he or she is in kindergarten. Focus on the developmental needs of the child in the stage he/she is currently in. Far too many parents and educators torture little children in the theoretical pursuit of a college education. (I could do a whole series on this problem alone.)

2) Don't bases your academic goals on your neighborhood school's curriculum or state standards. Base your academic goals on your child's needs and his/her interests.Yes, there are academic standards for college, but children develop at different rates and blossom at different ages. Don't hold your child back or hurry them along to meet some arbitrary and artificially created "standard."   If you must have outside validation for your academic plans, please use research based criteria and not ego driven benchmarks.

3) Don't neglect the non-academic subjects. No matter what career you children ultimately chooses, where they go to college or if they go to college at all, he or she will need to know how to do laundry, clean the house, balance a check book, change a diaper, cook a simple meal, and so forth.

4) Don't worry so much. Enjoy your time with your children today. As the good book says, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."  Worrying about college while your child is in grade school is a waste of energy.  Also, the educational landscape is constantly changing.  The criteria used today may not be the criteria used ten years from now. 

5) Don't complain about your neighborhood school, the school your kids used to attend, or any other educational option. It just irritates your friends and neighbors who have made the choice to entrust their children to those institutions. If your friends, neighbors and relative feel that they have to defend their educational choices, they will not come to you with their questions about homeschooling when they are ready to make a change.

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