here. This week we're looking at the other end of the spectrum. The definition of "success" according to Webster's 1828 Dictionary is "The favorable or prosperous termination of any thing attempted; a termination which answers the purpose intended." So at the end of a day or a year or when my Schnickelfritz has graduated, what will I base my success upon?
1. Is my son a disciple of Christ? I can give my son all the tools and knowledge to get ahead in this world but what will that all matter if he spends eternity apart from God? The epidemic of children abandoning their Christian upbringing when the go to college is alarming. If Christianity is just what he does on Sunday mornings or if the Bible is just a collection of stories he's been told then I haven't provided the good soil his young Christian plant needs to grow strong. He's liable to be knocked over by the first adversity or plucked from the ground in some philosophy class.
We've begun working through Kay Arthur's inductive Bible study for kids this year. Fritz wanted to start with Daniel (he'd just done a puppet show about the lion's den for Spanish class). The first half of the book involved familiar stories, but the second half is filled with prophecy that can make your head swim. Yet here was my nine year old son studying precept upon precept. He was able to make the connections between the four-headed leopard in Daniel 7 with the goat that grew four horns in Daniel 8. He could see that the small horn that grew from the 4 horns was not the same a the little horn that grew out of ten horns in the final beast.
In addition to studying the Bible, we've also begun learning about other worldviews. Watch for my review of Apologia's Who am I?
2. Does my son have a desire to learn? I have a firm belief that you can learn anything as long as you're motivated to do so. Here I am, waaayyy past my school years, learning about html code and other things to build a blog. What is the good of cramming his little head full of knowledge if I do so in a way that makes him abhor the process? I want him to continue to ask why and how outside of school settings and then be motivated to seek the answers to those questions. I want him to experiment and research, enjoy the process as well as the end result. I've said before that I don't believe it's my job to entertain Schnickelfritz all the way through school but I do want him to believe learning can be fun.
3. Can my son think for himself? In some ways this question ties into the last, but I don't want my son to be satisfied with just accepting another person's account on any subject--be it science and creation of the world, the idea of global warming, or the President's recent claim that Jesus would want us to all pay our fair share of taxes. In a work situation, I want him to be motivated to seek out new and better processes not just buy in to the "We've always done it this way" frame of mind.
These are my top three questions to help me guage the success of our homeschool. Fritz and I still have many years ahead of us so the list will probably grow. You can read others' takes on how to measure success by clicking here.