Education is already tremendously important to parents and is likely to become more important as employment and business becomes more specialized and technical. Knowing how a child learns and how to best utilize the educational resources available can be a confusing and daunting challenge for parents, even those with the time and dedication to do their research.
In the rush to pass standardized tests and to reach arbitrary educational quotas, the true value of an education sometimes gets lost. What direction should my child go if they want to get the best possible education and preparation for their high school and college years? How can I make sure my child has the best chance of finding a quality career?
These are important questions, and fortunately they have readily available and relatively easily understandable answers. As with most things worth having, it starts with the basics.
No educational curriculum can succeed if it is not based on fundamentals. Learning how to read and write and how to do basic math is no different than learning how to hit a baseball. The fundamental skills must be practiced until they are second nature.
Then the more complex tasks can be tackled. This is especially important for homeschool students taking advantage of programs like Connections Academy. Very often homeschoolers will have an advantage in the basics.
Spelling should begin with phonics. Reading to your child should begin before they are well on their way to mastering spelling. Any literacy education must start with these basic skills, or any hope of obtaining the more sophisticated skills like writing, reading comprehension and rhetoric will be far less accessible.
Reading and Writing First
All education depends on literacy. It is virtually impossible for any student to grasp advanced subjects if their reading, writing and comprehension skills are lacking. It is for this reason that all students should begin phonics-based literacy at the earliest possible age. The sooner a child begins reading, the sooner they can stimulate a literary curiosity about other subjects and the sooner they will become academically successful.
This point cannot be overemphasized enough. Any academic program that does not place literacy, writing and letters at the top of its priority list is likely to produce far inferior results to the one that places literacy at its heart.
There are tremendous financial rewards available for any company that is able to put their proprietary subject matter at the top of a widespread academic curriculum. It is for this reason all parents should be vigilant and make certain their child doesn’t miss out on important subject matter in order to satisfy a private company’s financial priorities.
Education must be balanced or any chance of a student becoming a well-rounded citizen will be lost. Subjects like art, dance, philosophy, speech writing, woodworking and physical education might not show up on a spreadsheet, but without them, a student’s potential will be stunted and their grasp of the subjects they do study will be severely limited.
Human beings cannot specialize effectively until they have a broad understanding of all academics. Learning music has a dramatic effect on the understanding of math. Learning philosophy has a dramatic effect on a student’s grasp of science and the liberal arts. Don’t be in a hurry to ascribe more than you should to any one subject. All academics have their rewards and they are all vitally important to the nourishment of the human soul.
While it might be easy to dismiss a complex subject like academics by saying it should be left to academic people, the truth is education is too important to leave in the hands of someone who may or may not have your child’s best interests at heart. Learning is a team effort, and you should be as attentive as you can be to your student’s success.