Ever notice how “the good stuff” seems to be in smaller supply than the regular stuff? This seems to be a common lesson in life. There are a lot of ordinary days, but only an occasional great day. There are a lot of regular episodes of your favorite television show, but only a rare storyline that you actually remember the next week. Many, many good books are published, but only a few classics…
The quality things in life tend to be a bit harder to come by, don’t they? There’s a reason for that. The quality things take time to develop. They don’t just happen by chance. More often, we find “filler” in life. That happens in dog food, pasta dishes, plot lines in movies, junk mail in our mailboxes, and even in education. Homeschool families have the unique opportunity to focus on the “good stuff” in their homeschooling in order to break this pattern. The expression that comes to mind is that sometimes you have to sacrifice the good for the sake of the great!
Take for example a recent trip to my grocery store. I purchased my regular box of granola cereal, “Wild Oat” flavored, but I also saw a new flavor with nuts and berries added, so I bought one of those to try, too. When I got home and put them on the shelf, what I found was that the regular box was a 17-ounce box. The box with the extra goodies was 13.5 ounces. They were the same price. The regular box had some extra filler in it, but the good stuff was valued higher. Can you guess which flavor I like better? Or, guess which flavor I will go back to next time? The good one, of course!
Homeschool families need to look at this analogy for their homeschool program. Take the time to develop a quality program, based on the “good stuff” and not on filler. Focus on the core learning and academic foundations that will give your students a strong, competitive application for colleges. Focus on teaching-learning skills so that your students will be able to teach themselves anything and know how to process information. Too many homeschool families provide their children with meaningless exercises or workbooks that spoon-feed information rather than teaching children to think and analyze information on their own.
Homeschooling families have an obligation to provide educational substance in their programs. Math, Science, Literature, Grammar, and Social Sciences should be given prime attention in the development and skills training of your children. This can be done in engaging ways, but these core subjects must be given priority over those things that only fill up our lesson plans with numerous activities yet don’t add the same value. This will take your time and your energy. It is a demanding role. But, if you take this role very seriously, you can create a quality homeschool program that will be worth the higher value.
Like my cereal, imagine the future generations you can impact if your children grow up to have such strong foundations and solid skills that they want to return to that type of quality education for their families. Many things can be good to do, but not all things will be great. Go for the great in your homeschool program! Give your children that kind of value so that they can reap the benefits of a sound education for their future.