April at the Blog Cruise wonders, "How do you know if your kids are keeping up with their peers?"
For little ones, I say, "Who cares?" There’s a lot of peer pressure on us moms to make sure our children read when all their little buddies do, but often it’s best for a child to move more slowly at the start. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, heavily involved in the beginning of the homeschool movement, have put huge amounts of research into this question and even wrote a book called Better Late Than Early. I want my little children to be enthusiastic about learning, to know about the world around them, and to learn to apply themselves to their studies at their own level. I also want them to have time to play, to learn to do practical work, and just to hang out.
By middle school, I want my kids to be working hard and to begin to excel in an area (or many areas) of interest. I keep an eye on their academics and tweak things if I notice weak points to work on or strong points to build on. At this level we occasionally begin to use the tests that come with curriculum and try to ensure that the children are at or above grade level in any formal curriculum they use.
By high school, I want my teens to be way ahead of the average public school student in general knowledge, character, service, practical skills, and, of course, Bible knowledge. I also hope that they are far ahead of the average student academically. After all, public school educational standards are significantly dumbed down compared to the rest of the world as well as to North America in the past. If anything, I want them to keep up with their peers of the past or of other countries. We use contests as well as various tests accompanying their curriculum to keep track of how well our children are doing. Currently we are also working on SAT preparation, and I wish we had started a bit earlier.
All this means that I must be somewhat organized. I must also keep on learning how to homeschool, how to evaluate my children, what is important, how to help them with weak areas, how much time they can spend on their great interests without starting to neglect other academics, and when drop a subject instead of insisting on it.
How do I know if my kids are keeping up with their peers? My answer is, “Why should ‘keeping up with peers’ be a goal for our family?”
If this is an important question in your family, or if you just want to read more about the topic, you can visit the Blog Cruise and find out what other moms have to say.