Monday, February 6, 2012

Measuring Success

Not long ago, I spent an evening with a group of moms from our homeschooling group and we talked about our reasons for choosing to homeschool and how they've changed over the years.  I think the reasons may change as our goals are refined, and we adjust the way we measure success.

How do we measure success?  Other than waiting until our kids have graduated and grown up.  We have to be able to assess whether we're getting the job done along the way, so we can adjust if necessary. 

Our goals include:
  • giving our kids a well-rounded and well-grounded education.  Covering a broad range of subject areas, and all from a Biblical worldview.  We teach them a lot of "stuff" but I also have as a goal that they would "learn how to learn" so they can find their own answers.  No school can teach everything you'll ever need to know, so you need to know how to find out on your own.
  • preparing them to live effectively in the real world.  Practical knowledge.  Things like balancing a checkbook, managing their resources, and running a household.  Helping them prepare for their further education and their chosen career.  Making sure they know how to get along with all kinds of people and how to have healthy relationships.
  • bringing them up "in the way they should go" (Proverbs 22.6) and "in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).  Discipling them.  Guiding them to salvation and to maturity in Christ. 
Some signs of success are more obvious than others, but here are some things we've seen that encourage us:
  • our kids know how to read!  That's one of the obvious ones, and one of the first signs of success we looked for!
  • they demonstrate understanding of the subjects we cover.  I especially love it when they volunteer information they remember or apply something we learned in school to a real-world situation.
  • they can take care of themselves in age-appropriate ways.  They can generally be trusted to do their chores (when reminded....), they don't think money grows on trees or magically appears in Dad's wallet, they understand that their choices have consequences.
  • I hear good reports from other parents, from their coaches, from their Sunday School and co-op teachers, from youth leaders, and even occasionally from random adults at places like a doctor's office.  Not daily, and not constantly.  My kids are not angels, by any means.  But they seem to have learned how to behave decently in public.  By and large, they are polite and respectful to adults and authority figures; and they are cooperative and have good attitudes when they are on a team or in a classroom setting. 
  • they have all professed faith in Christ and have been baptized.  They are trying to be disciples.  They are finding ways to participate in the life of the church, trying to figure out what gifts they might have and how to use them.
Now if only I could get them to use "me" and "I" correctly every time...  *sigh*

How do you measure success in your homeschool?  Add to the comments, and visit the TOS Crew Blog Cruise (this link will go live on Tuesday, February 7th) to see how others define success.  In the meantime, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog homepage to see past cruise topics and TOS Crew reviews.


Mozi Esme said...

I love your very practical measurements!

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