Adventurous Elementary Education
By Lindy Abbott
Learning should be exciting, but few students are enthusiastic about school. Manyadults, recalling their school experience, realize they learned more after they were
of school. As homeschoolers we can do things differently by providing moreopportunities for real learning. Elementary years should be adventure years instead
of drudgery. I consistently reminded my children, “Be your utmost for God’shighest.” I have tri
ed to provide the richest environments, opportunities, andresources within our means, but I foolishly adhered to graded-schooling methods.While my underlying goal was to equip my children to become the person Godcreated each one to be, my daily lesson plans did not support this goal.
Every now and then a nonconformist soul dared to ask: “Why must we do school?What is the purpose or goal? Can we try something different?” Thankfully, I began to
question my method of teaching my children.Traditional elementary schools condition children to succumb to group culture bycoloring within the lines, thinking inside the box, responding to bells, and copying a
teacher’s model. Parents desiring to help their child become who God created them
to be should not tr
y to emulate conventional schooling, because it reduces a child’s
natural passion, innovation, and industry. Let me explain.
The concept of dividing schooling into grade levels became necessary withcompulsory school attendance. Categorization of the mass population of children byage and grade level was beneficial to the organization of school systems. Think aboutit: Does it really matter what you call the grade level as long as your child islearning?With the creation of grade levels, book publishers developed graded textbooks
specifically produced for the “typical” age of development and interest. One problemwith this system is that God does not form “typical” infants within a mother’s womb.
In a homeschool, grade-level materials are unnecessary and frequently aredevelopmentally inappropriate. Undoubtedly, early elementary years are the time toteach a sound foundation in reading, writing, and math. Once these basic buildingblocks of learning are established, children should explore what they enjoy throughself-motivated study.
Consider this question: Does God create a typical snowflake, fingerprint, or DNA?Every parent knows that no two children are alike; moreover, they have wide rangesof development, ability, interest, and personality. Jeremiah 29:11 proclaims,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,‟ saith the L
, „thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
This commonly quoted verse that Godspoke to the Israelites when they were in exile reveals His character and encouragesbelievers to look with hope toward our God-designed purpose. Parents should apply
this Biblical teaching to their children’s homeschooling and try to create wonderfuladventure years of learning by not focusing on “grade level”!
If a child is going to discover what he loves, he must have (1) numerous real-lifeexperiences to identify his niche and (2) time to thoroughly delve into any subject.