In a Perfect World

We’re encouraged by the 1,000+ visits we’ve had in just two days of being “open for business.” We hope this is a sign of things to come and hope that those of you who helped make up that 1,000+ will let your voice be heard in the comments.

We’ve heard from several of you that you are excited to see where this project goes, yet you aren’t sure what you have to contribute, or you think anything you have to say has already been said. Be assured that we want to hear it again. We need to hear it again. We want to know what you do, what you think and eventually, what you need. So please speak up and add your $0.02 to the total.

Yesterday we got started by talking a bit about some of what actually happens in current educational contexts. Today we’d like to hear some about ideals. If you could arrange the perfect educational situation for your kids/students, how would you describe that? Are you currently experiencing that situation? If not, what would need to change in order to make a move in that direction?

13 Comments

Filed under How Kids Think

13 responses to “In a Perfect World

  1. As a homeschool mom, my perfect educational situation would involve my boys being enthusiastic and cooperative about learning. I want them to get jazzed about what we study. I realize that things like grammer and algebra aren’t always a big thrill. But when we’re doing the hands-on, experiential activities, I want them to participate wholly, not just try to get through it so they can be done with the school day. We have such a great time (and learn a lot) when they’re immersed in the unit. I love learning alongside them and seeing the spark in their eyes when they discover things for themselves.

  2. Pretty close…I think homeschooling is the ideal, but I would like there to be more community involvement. At the moment, we sort of feel like we are doing this on our own rather than within the church community.

  3. Hmmmm. I think our situation is about as ideal as it’s going to get. I often wish for a Christian classical high school for my children, with fabulous teachers and all the things I can’t give my kids. But then I consider the trade-offs (being at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, little family time, the expense which would require me to work outside the home, etc.) , and I come to my senses.

    I really think a university model (and I would prefer a Christian classical one) would be ideal for us, but that’s not available here.

  4. I love our school. It is just right for the stage of development my girls are in. Of course, I get to have fun learning new things too. That is the true joy of homeschooling.

  5. When my oldest was four, my heart was leaning toward homeschool. But after much prayer, I felt God quenching that desire and leading us toward our current school situation. We re-evaluate each kid each year, and I’m open to the homeschool option if/when God leads us that way.

    Right now, two of our kids are in a small Christian school associated with our church. It is so ideal for us that I am still in awe of this blessing after four years. We are friends with many of the teachers and administrators, our families worship together and live out many aspects of our lives together, we are involved with the school and committed to its mission, and the school provides the financial aid necessary for us to participate. These are my ideals that come to mind at the moment related to this school:
    * That our kids receive a basic education taught from a Christian worldview
    * That the environment fosters individual attention as necessary (e.g., giving my 9-year-old extra reading & writing assignments at her reading level; providing 1:1 counseling for interpersonal issues)
    * That interpersonal and social issues (between students, between students/teachers, between school/families) are handled in a God-honoring way
    * That the school environment reinforces the fact that the Christian life is 24/7, that the goal of learning is not self-serving, but to honor and serve God and love others
    * That our family actively participate in furthering the school’s mission of partnering with inner city and immigrant/refugee families to provide educational and spiritual guidance that they aren’t receiving elsewhere

    Now, for our son. He has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the girls’ school is not equipped to educate him. He attends school at our district’s early childhood program through the Special School District. I would consider his education good, but not ideal. Many of his special needs are being addressed, but of course there is a disconnect between our faith and his education. Ideally, I would be working with him 1:1 on his social learning issues using a specific intervention program we’ve learned about (rdiconnect.com). We are not adequately addressing his spiritual nurture needs (as WE see them… he’s totally unaware of the shoes on his feet many days), but ideally our 1:1 work would incorporate this as well.

    In general, ideally our kids learning would be a part of the whole of our family life goals, including to love and serve God and others; to be “in the world,” but not “of the world;” to have a 24/7 faith that is interwoven throughout all aspects of our lives. Now THAT would be ideal!

  6. HeatherHH

    My ideal is homeschooling, with much of the learning being from real life and reading non-textbooks. Different ages learning together; older helping younger. Learning to integrate academics with everyday life. All learning being done with the acknowledgement of God throughout. Character issues being thoroughly and Biblically dealt with throughout the learning. Discipleship-oriented. And that’s what we are blessed to have, though we, of course, fall short of perfectly achieving our aim.

  7. In a perfect world the teacher would never be sick or tired and someone else would do the housework. There would be easy access to a lush, mosquito-free outdoor area safe for free exploration. There would definitely be more bookshelf space on the walls!

    Probably a perfect world would be a little too perfect for us to learn the real lessons we ought to be learning. In the meantime, I keep working to maximize the space I have, to spend as much time outside as we can, and to keep our attitudes right even when things don’t go so well.

  8. A perfect teaching environment would have kids who are excited to be there, a teacher who is completely prepared, materials that are very organized, and a schedule that is both easy to stick to and easy to break.

  9. Rose Bexar

    For me, the perfect learning environment would have just the right balance of everything–time to work together, time to work alone at my own speed, enough structure (and discipline) to avoid chaos, enough freedom for me to pursue my own interests, instruction specific enough to give me everything I need to know but not so specific as to stifle creativity. Emphasis on the subject/discipline when necessary; interdisciplinarity when possible, especially as regards faith and learning. Lots of enrichment. Not much pointless repetition–gifted students typically learn a thing within three repetitions, whereas most students need five to seven repetitions, by which time the gifted kids have gotten impatient. Discussion where it’s warranted. No timed mental math tests–I don’t have test anxiety or math anxiety, but I just can’t do it in my head that fast, and *that* stresses me out as a perfectionist. Small classes. Teachers who really teach and really care about both the students and the subject matter. A firm foundation in what we believe and why, and then a healthy dose of Know Thy Enemy (preferably with room to make it fun by making fun of it–that’s the only way I survived Contemporary Literary Theory).
    I have been very blessed to have had most of these elements throughout my schooling. There have been times when jumping ahead of the rest of the class just wasn’t an option and I had to deal with being bored. There have been times when I had to show respect for a teacher who was, in my opinion, just flat wrong. There have been many times that I’ve had to nod, smile, and parrot and then vent to my parents when I got home. But mostly it’s been good.
    On the other side of the desk, a perfect world would mean I’d never get sick or have outside stressors and all the lesson planning would be a snap; the essays would all be easy to grade, and I’d get them back on time. But then, in a perfect world, I’d probably be teaching literature instead of composition.

  10. I forgot to add in how my ideals related to our girls’ education are *not* being realized.

    Although the school is pretty small, the education is not as “individualized” as I would like such that my kids are sometimes bored with “lowest common denominator” homework assignments and in-class work. This is one of the main drawbacks to in-school education rather than educating them here at home.

    There are also some social issues that have been sticking around that are a distraction for our oldest. “Living and schooling among a bunch of kids who aren’t like us” is a great ideal, but also a messy reality. I’ve come around to thinking that the people who bring up “The Socialization Issue” in panning homeschooling have it all backwards.

  11. kristen

    My ideal is a classical school that focuses on skills and not just content. (We live in the information age, memorizing all the bones in the hand just to say that you know them is a waste of time, imo).

  12. A classical school that is diverse yet solidly Christian, and to echo kristen, one that emphasizes applying information rather than just regurgitating it.

  13. Oooo, perfect education system…
    one that is curiosity driven and not quite as forced. with more like a 12 student to 1 teacher max. More student involvement (of course to a point) about what things are studied and how in depth. If kids are really curious about one subject then let them go over the “alloted” time. If they aren’t so interested in one subject then move on and save it for another day.
    Do as many hands on things as possible with group and individual exploration time.
    Be creative!

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