It is subjective as to what education means to each of us. To someone mathematically bent, a child is educated and ready for college (or adulthood) when he has completed calculus, algebra and geometry along with other subjects. To someone with a literary interest, they may cover math ‘only’ to algebra II, but would also be sure the child knows Shakespeare and Chaucer well.
If a child has not read Chaucer, is he educated? If she has not completed calculus, do you think her education sufficient?
Even schools vary on how much a child needs to know to be sufficiently educated to graduate high school. Graduates complete “credits,” yes, but to one school a science credit is the study of chemistry and to one it is the study of biology. Which one is uneducated? The student who doesn’t know much of chemistry, or the one who doesn’t know much of biology?
If a child goes to an art-focused charter school, is he lacking in education because he has not completed the extra science courses taught in a charter school across the county?
How much or exactly what one knows is not a good indication of education.
What, then, is a good indication of education?
Well, this is what you get to decide, and what your child may judge when he’s an adult (but let’s not worry over that now). To decide, think on these two things:
1) What do you want him to know?
2) Who do you hope him to be?
What Do You Want Him to Know?
In your opinion, is a child well educated when she has completed the requirements of the local school board? Is she well-educated when she can hold a job down?
Will you feel your child is educated when he can attend, and pass, classes at a community college? Or must it be a university? A master’s degree? Or a doctorate?
Do you want to educate your children to become leaders? Factory workers? Entrepreneurs?
Make a list, and from that, write a paragraph of a few sentences that explain what you want from your child’s education. Here is what I wrote:
I want to raise entrepreneurs, or at least, those who follow a career path they truly love. If each of our four spend their days enjoying how they are living and making a living, I will feel they were educated well.
Who Do You Want Him to Be?
Education must include giving a the student the ability to think. Duh, right? But most schools are not teaching children to think — they’re raising children who only think as the group thinks. These children think as the other twenty kids in the class think, as the textbook publisher thinks, as the teacher thinks. They are not encouraged to think for themselves. Even in many universities, the students are not asked what they think: they’re told what to think.
Thinking, to me, does not include only academic thinking, or problem-solving thinking, but also thinking about morals, faith, and ethics. If a child can think – truly think – he’ll be a better person for himself and for the world.
Jot down your thoughts on this and then write a little paragraph to remind you later of the direction you’re heading in educating this child.
I want to raise thinkers. If our four can problem-solve and can rationalize, I will feel they were educated well and are better prepared for life. If they can understand other cultures, beliefs, and choices, while having the clarity and courage to hold their own morals, faith, and ethics, I will feel they were educated well.
what is a good education – to you?
Once you know your philosophy of education, and you know the general goal, you’ll be able to focus on the finish line.
For our family, we want no closed doors. Meaning, we want our children to be able to think – to be solid in their morals, faith, and ethics, and the why of them; we want them to be able to attend college, if they choose to do so, by preparing them for a college assessment test; we want them to be able to do a trade, if they choose to do so, by preparing them in practical skills; we want them to pursue their own interests as much as possible; we want them to create their own business or at least know how to do so while still in school; and we want them to be comfortable reading aloud, writing letters, giving speeches, and speaking to strangers.
To us, that is education. What is education to you?