Defining Success in Your Home School

What does it mean to succeed? What does it mean to be successful and how do you measure success in your home school?

Do you measure success by how much your children accomplished today, this week, this month? It’s still early in the traditional school year. Do you feel ahead of the game, right on track, behind?

Do you issue grades as a benchmark of success? Maybe grades help you assess a child’s progress in a particular area, or you’re required by your state to keep them.

Defining Success in Your #Homeschool @hsbapost

Here’s a big one for those of us with older children with college in sight. Is acceptance to a college, especially a well-regarded one, a mark of success (or failure) on your child’s homeschool career, or do you feel it’s more of a commentary on your success (or failure) as a homeschool parent? After all, I’ve been asked this question more than once: “Why did you decide to homeschool? What about college?”

I’m posing these questions to our readers, because I have been asking them lately of myself. The institutionalized learning that we’ve rejected by opting out of the school system also applies to higher learning. A college education is no longer a guarantee of financial success, in fact, a case could be made that traditional, Industrial Age education is dead in all its forms, including college.

What ramifications does this have for our way of thinking, steeped in the belief that a college education defines whether or not our children have made it safely to adulthood and have the tools they need to become financially independent? If our homeschooled kids don’t make it to college, have we failed them academically and socially? How will they otherwise learn to function in the world and become self-sustaining and self-supporting?

The answer lies in our personal definition of success. In our culture, success usually means keeping up with the Joneses Facebook Page (just remember, Facebook shows faces not lives!). Homes, cars, vacations, elaborate parties–it’s a lot to measure up to.

While there’s nothing wrong with financial success (in fact I advocate it), success as a human being is far more complex than an individual’s net worth. Many homeschool graduates end up starting their own businesses because they don’t find traditional paths to be appealing. And why should we expect anything less? We’ve helped them take a non-traditional path in the early years, it should come as no surprise if they choose to stay on that path. Success also encompasses feelings of satisfaction, personal accomplishment, attaining and setting new goals, relationships with others, giving back to the community, being a good friend, son, daughter, neighbor. We can value and model all of these things within our families and in our home schools.

To quote Charlotte Mason:

“The question is not—how much does the youth know when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

Having said all this, it’s likely my children will choose college (more and more colleges accept homeschoolers with open arms), but we still have a few years until those decisions are made. However, I need to be ever mindful that if one of my children does not choose college, I hope it will be a reflection of their ability to make wise choices for themselves and not follow a prescribed path simply because others have done it. I can hear the voices in my head now–of family and friends who don’t homeschool, “See, homeschool doesn’t prepare a child for college!” Those voices are my problem, and I can’t make them my kids’.

Do your kids, especially your high school age children, see college in their futures? Are you worried if they will be prepared? What do you do to alleviate those fears? If they don’t choose college, will you be ok with it?

Leave us a comment; we’d love to know what you think!

[Angela1]

Angela (30 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .


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Comments

  1. says

    I believe college is an outdated concept

    How do I measure success in a homeschool or as a parent?

    That’s a tough one.

    It may take 10 or 20 years but it’s possible to recover from the “trappings” of a college education. But the thing I am most afraid of, is my kids messing up the biggest decision of their lives – whom to marry. Sometimes there’s no recovery from that.

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