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No matter where or when a student attends school, there will always be something that student doesn’t learn about that will be relevant in the future. It happens with public schools, private schools, homeschools, you name it. One kind of education hasn’t cornered the market on educational gaps. They simply happen. Nobody can know everything. Keep in mind that each child is unique and different learning styles apply. Teachers are also unique individuals. Considering all of those variables, how can we be surprised that there are gaps in the first place?
Our homeschooling journey has felt like one struggle after another this year. My daughter has turned 18, and she’s a senior. If she’s not interested in something, she just won’t put forth an effort. Kids are kids, right? She has refused to try the ACT test again after her first (and only) attempt. I understand that she feels discouraged. I wish colleges would move toward other ways to gauge college readiness instead of relying on high-stakes tests that cannot possibly predict potential or anything else. It seems to me that test makers are raking in millions at the expense of our children. Big bucks are paid (not to students or teachers) for testing that serves only to exclude students from higher education. How about changing our system to invite all students to participate? How about finding what ignites a student’s passion and work from there? How about making college an affordable option for everyone?
The things that interest my child are different from what interests other students. I will tell you, however, that she is an expert when it comes to anime, cosplay and costume design among other things. Maybe she should make a portfolio of her passions so she can show college admission staff what she has done and can do. She amazes me when she casually mentions things she has learned from videos she watched while I was at work. I have learned from her. She’s resourceful, too. She will get interested in something and dig until she has the information she wanted. My girl is also a talented mimic, able to sing in several languages, and she learned online. On her own. Without my input. I had virtually nothing to do with her research, and she did a fine job of learning something daily about various topics.
Maybe when she decides to try college, she will find the perfect fit. I sure hope so! She’ll need a place as amazing and unique as she is so she can fill the gaps and move on to a fabulous future. I should keep reminding myself that she won’t be the only student filling gaps.
In rural Nebraska, heading to the doctor can be an “ordeal” of sorts. Our doctor happens to be 95 miles from home, so when I have to take Bela, we just schedule to be gone from school for the entire day. We got up early and went for coffee only to be disappointed….our local coffee shop is closed for the next few days. Bummer. We were sad, but we soldiered on. The gas station was also closed, so I had to use my debit card (which I do not like to do) to get gas so we could leave town. There was a cattle drive of sorts between our town and the next. I am so glad we were able to dodge the cows!
Things started out a little sketchy, as you probably figured by now, but they sure took a turn for the better once we made it to the doctor’s office. Our wait was reasonably short, and we went back for vitals to discover that Bela has lost 17 pounds! I didn’t have energy enough to do a happy dance, but I sure am thrilled for her. I though she looked smaller lately, but it can be hard to tell. Bela’s Hashimoto’s may be getting under control! Since good is usually balanced by bad, the doctor said she also is suffering from TMJ, so she prescribed an anti-inflammatory to see if it will improve.
While I was waiting for the doctor, I mentioned to the nurse taking vitals that there are a lot of apples on the ground going to waste. She said to get all I wanted! She was even kind enough to bring me two bags to use. Once I was out in the parking lot again, I noticed a cherry tree was growing alongside the apple tree! I got a bag of apples and a bunch of cherries. Bela said the cherries are a taste of Mexico! We put the free resources (one of my favorite phrases!) in the car and walked across to the pharmacy for medicines. That didn’t take long, so we stopped at Hazel’s Coffee for some yumminess. I got mint and vanilla, and Bela got brain freeze from peanut butter and white chocolate. We parted from our blended ice long enough for me to stop by the local college campus to offer my services as a Spanish instructor. I was warmly received when the lady found out I can teach ESL and Spanish. 🙂 We left and planned to head home, but by then we were hungry; we ate lunch at Taco John’s.
Since we had all day to ramble, I stopped at Chandler’s Honey because every time we have seen it, Bela has begged to stop. I’m usually in a hurry no matter where we go. Not today! All in all, the trip was worth the trouble today.
I remember when I was a junior or senior in high school, a graduate of my school wrote a letter to the school board. S/he complained about not being sufficiently prepared for college at the time of graduation.
At first, I felt afraid that I would not be ready for college either, but then I really thought about it. I felt like I was learning in all my classes. I had to work harder to achieve in some classes than others, but I did well. Math was my hardest class, but I still made it through with the basics I needed to move on. That’s when I decided that the author of that letter probably didn’t apply him/herself to studying. I believe you get out what you put into things.
Teachers spend a lot of time trying to teach students. Students spend a lot of time trying to avoid learning much, but they still cry and whine when they don’t have an A or a B in their classes. If students want to do well, they must learn enough to “pass.”
Students, if you have trouble in a class, go for extra help. Teachers are more than willing to spend the time it takes for you to understand a concept. If sports practices are more important to you than your grades, go practice. Just don’t be mad when you discover YOU had your priorities all confused. Don’t whine and beg for extra credit. Extra credit implies that you have done all you can to achieve and are still not doing well. If you have missing assignments, don’t cry to the teacher for bonus points. It’s not fair to the other students who work as hard as possible on a daily basis.
I have seen a few kids breeze through high school without studying much. Many do well in college, but a few of those students actually have to STUDY to succeed in the university. It’s not a bad thing! Saying it’s “too hard” and giving up—those are bad things. If it were super easy, anyone could and would do it!
The goal of education is to challenge young minds to think and solve problems. If every student had 100% in every class, it would imply that the curriculum may not be challenging enough. That’s not education.
Parents, try not to pressure your kids to get 100% all the time. It is NOT a reasonable expectation. Many times, it can backfire. Let your kids learn and have the freedom to fail once in a while. Only then will your children understand the value of the lessons.
An English translation of Yoani Sánchez's blog Generación Y, from Havana, Cuba
Experiments in Spanish Teaching
by Bob Moats - Author of Murder Novels
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