I recently read an article that made me think… the article was about goals and standards. The focus was that many states are considering adopting uniform state standards across the country. Hmmmm… this is where I started thinking. These goals could be a good thing. Just like when the kids go outside with their bow and arrow. They don’t know where to aim withouth their target, thus goals give us something to shoot for. Standards in education are just like that target… aim for it and are likely to reach it.
Yet, let’s look at the flip side… we often set rigid guidelines and standards without realizing that each child is different. Not every child can fit into the nice tidy little box of rigid standards. For example, beginning reading is different for every child. When those letters and sounds and blends begin to actually assimilate into the child’s mind happens at very different times. Learning can take place in different means such as online vocabulary programs and letter/sound instruction not everything is learned from textbooks. Each child learns through different modes as well. Some children are oral learners, some are visual learners, and some are both. Does that make my child “abnormal” if they don’t meet the standard of reading by a set time? Is that fair to put that pressure on our children?
It is difficult to find the balance in this argument. Standards and goals have a purpose, but setting them as rigid and unmoveable and as the definition of normal is wrong. This is where my philosophy veers from public education. I see the meaning and purpose of this fulfilled in home education. The goal is set in light of where a child should aim… but if that child is not able to reach that goal at that exact time the parent/teacher can adjust, change methods, review, or even reteach. The education is focused on the child’s ability not on the standard. The needs of the individual are met and true learning can take place. The goal or target is for the archer’s purposes… the archer is the master of the target and can move it to fit his needs. (ie. long range and short range goals) The target is not the master of the archer. Thus the standard cannot be the master of educating the child.
Let’s keep common sense in education.