A lot of what Kate Distin speaks about in Gifted Children-A Guide for Parents and Professionals really touches my heart. It was the impetus for my Dear Gifted Child post and inspired this one too.
We all want the best for our children and realize that education can be the ticket to a “successful life”. But what defines the perfect education can differ across cultures and can vary from child to child. Consider your child when you define your child’s education.
Both of my boys are still relatively young with one just entering the teen years, but as a former classroom teacher, current homeschool mom, and future educational facilitator, I’ve thought of little else than what I want my children to learn in life to prepare them for the future. But, goals for education don’t begin upon graduation. They start now.
For my children’s education I want:
- A strong sense of self
Within knowing who they are, all children need different supports. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these is imperative to learning. Education needs to be able to meet each individual’s needs. With a strong sense of self also comes the responsibility of doing what’s right for you.
- A sense of competency/capability
All children need to feel capable of giving their best and of being supported in their goals.
Though we all need help and support along the way, I want my children to realize that the hard work and determination they put into their efforts comes from their internal motivations. No one can make you learn. It’s up to you.
- A personal understanding of success
Often we allow society to influence our definition of success. Financial gain and power are the most prevalent definitions of success, but they fall short when it comes to internal satisfaction unless they accompany our personal goals. Defining success in your own terms is not only empowering, but necessary to be your best self.
- Appropriate levels of challenge and support
Everyone needs a challenge and in order to attain high levels of personal success, people of all ages need intellectually appropriate challenges that amplify our strengths, improve upon our weaknesses, and internally motivate us to do better, be more, and affect positive change.
- Purposeful learning
As a teacher, mother, and learner I’ve seen numerous examples of activities intended as learning that evoked little curiosity, impetus for exploration, applicability to individuals, or regard for the learners. Purposeful learning teaches foundations, broadens conceptual understandings, appeals to individual interests or goals, and excites learners to extend their own learning. Be it self-directed or facilitated by someone else, purposeful learning is worthy of time and attention.
- Whole child learning
Without regard to individual temperament, drive, interests, and goals, learning can be empty and lacking. Taking into account everything about a child is crucial to guiding students to be their best. Genuine learning does not only mean academics, but all aspects of the learner.
- A curious learning atmosphere
One of the biggest struggles I have with the current climate in education is that it is detrimental to instilling curiosity in our children. Without the autonomy to pursue individual interests and goals, learning becomes stilted and learners become jaded in a system that isn’t serving their individuality. Curiosity takes time, acceptance, and support in the scope and pace of all learners. It is possible, but will require a shift in the educational paradigm.
Most importantly….I want my children to love learning.
How do your educational goals differ? Is your child’s education meeting his needs?