And what is best for children in terms of schooling? That depends on more things than can be addressed in one book. Schools across America do not have identical curriculums, neither public schools nor private schools. Schools in different countries around the world concern themselves with different areas of learning than their neighbors. There is no one set body of knowledge that people must learn as children so that they grow up to be successful adults. For that matter, there is no set definition of Success. What is engaging and rewarding for one person is torture to another.
Just for fun, my children and I once played a thought-game where we tried assigning the favorite activities of one child to another. The thought-experiment was a hilarious failure as the children got into the spirit of things and started thinking up things each one loved to do that they knew one of their siblings despised. This morphed into the game of “Would you rather . . .” with both of the two choices given being things the other player disliked. Punking out of the game when faced with two dire choices is apparently against the house rules.
Since ‘best’ is impossible to determine, what’s a parent to do?
Do ‘good enough.’
By playing the ‘best’ game you may, at worst, push yourself into a corner you find it difficult to get out of. At ‘best,’ you paralyze yourself and choose by not choosing. There is no way to make a choice, pursue that path, and then un-make the choice. It is true that a family can choose a different educational method each year but I don’t know many people who would think that is the ‘best’ way of raising a child, especially not in the military where there are already many changes that families must adjust to.
So what is part of a ‘good enough’ schooling choice?
- No tears are shed by anyone. No one, parent or child, is hung out to dry.
- There should be time for living in addition to the schooling. No one should have his or her life consumed by ‘school.’
- There should be laughter and enjoyment. Hard work may be necessary at times, but hard work is not the end all and be all. Even though one might need to double-dig a garden plot, one still gets to smell the roses or eat the berries.
- There should be joy in each other’s presence — you are happy you’re living the way you are, and you are grateful to the others for being in your life.
- No regrets. You may not be doing Other Things but if you were doing Those things you wouldn’t be doing These things. No one can do everything, so do what you can and enjoy it.
- Realize that nothing is perfect. No matter how hard you search you will never find a ‘perfect’ course of study. Enjoy what you have and don’t worry about what the Joneses are studying.
- “He who dies with the most workbooks” isn’t a great goal.
Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon
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