Standards are great, aren't they? How else can we figure out exactly how far ahead or behind our kids are in the educational world? Without standards, what in the world else would we have to base our homeschooling success on?
Obviously, that first paragraph is soaked with sarcasm. I just often wonder who came up with the educational standards we have today. Who decided what a kindergartener or an eight grader should know? Who decides what ahead and behind is? And why does it matter so much?
At our house we learn about a lot of different things. But what matters most to me is that my kids figure out how to be good decent people. I would call these "life standards" instead of "educational standards". I realize that I only have so much control over that. I don't care what the experts say -you can serve a kid up a really healthy upbringing of "this is the right way to live" and they can tip the platter right over and run the other way. I guess I just want to know I showed them that the right way to treat people, in the long run, is more important that identifying nouns and verbs or memorizing big dates in history. I want to know that I showed them, by example, good character traits like thankfulness and respectfulness and generosity and cooperation and responsibility and patience. To me, that's a hugely important goal to shoot for. You can get by not knowing every single spelling rule in the English language, but its hard to get by if you're a total irresponsible jerk. So I guess, underneath it all, that's what matters to me at our house and in our "schooling". Life standards.
I bring all this up because a couple things have happened recently that really made me smile. Some people are aware that I (foolishly) taught my boys how to play badminton and we now have to play a hundred and ten hours a day. And as we were playing today I was kind surprised by how well they have started playing and catching onto the rules of the game and such. But what really made me happy was to see things like Iggy being so patient with his brother Ooky when Ooky has to try ten times to serve the birdie before he gets it over. Or when Iggy says really encouraging things to his brother like "You almost got it, bud! Try it again!" Instead of "You stink at this game, just let someone else serve." Or when Ooky talks on and on about being a team and how we need to work together to play the game right. Those, my friends, are life standards being met.
Also, today we were at a Not Back to Public School party with our homeschool group and Iggy wasn't able to go. He is sick, and I, playing the role of evil mother, told him he had to stay home because it wasn't fair for him to go and get the other 31 kids sick. He was really upset, to say the least. Anyhow, I go out to the van where Ooky is waiting for me and Ooky is just in tears. I ask him what is wrong. He tells me that we shouldn't go to the party if Iggy can't go because he doesn't want to see Iggy sad. (Aw...) So then I tell Ooky that he and I are still going to go and its going to be a.o.k. but we have to stop at the store to get chips to go with our salsa. We walk into the grocery store and the first thing out of Ooky's mouth is "we have to look for something to bring home for Iggy because he is so sad he couldn't come and it has to be something soft and mushy so it doesn't hurt his sore throat". (Double Aww...) Ok...this was with absolutely no prompting from me AT ALL.
I think we might just be hittin' the mark on our "life standards" acheivement. Of course, the boys still scrap and kick the crap out of each other, like brothers do...but I'm starting to think that something bigger just might be getting through.