How to interpret articles about high achieving homeschooled children
And the headline reads:
"After acquiring his entire elementary and secondary education from OpenCourseWare and MITx, Ahaan Rungta joined the MIT Class of 2019 at age 15."
Reading about an amazing homeschooled child who enters college at a young age is a recipe for feeling inadequate as a homeschool mom.
But then I remember:
Comparing is a Bad Thing.
What's more, if I let myself follow that line of thought, I'm totally missing the point.
What we need to take away from stories like this:
"For Rungta’s mother, the biggest challenge to homeschooling her son was staying ahead of him, finding courses and materials to feed his insatiable mind.
“My parents always supported me and found the materials I needed to keep learning. My mother was a resource machine." MIT News
The most significant role of a homeschool parent is not Teacher, and this article effectively illustrates why it's a bad idea to try to hold children down to a standard that we are comfortable with.
We hold children down:
- with nationally normed standards
- with age-graded textbooks
- with age-segregated classrooms
- with teacher-centric learning
- by comparing them to their peers.
We are stumblingblocks to our child's success when we try to stand in front of them leading the way instead of following behind them as a support and encouragement. When we think we have to learn Chemistry and Algebra first and then try to teach it to our kids, we are acting as a middle man in an equation that doesn't require one.
This doesn't mean:
- we don't set any standards of conduct
- we don't provide guidance
- we don't expect obedience.
What it means is that we allow our kids to explore their world, providing them with the resources and tools they need to engage, experiment, question, discover, draw conclusions, confirm and communicate what they've learned.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a homeschooled parent is when my kids tell me something I didn't know, and then have to explain it to me. Their demonstration of self-motivated learning and sense of accomplishment is more than enough reward for both of us.
Don't be distracted by what another homeschooler is accomplishing - use it to affirm that you are on the right path with your own child, giving them the gifts of liberty, time, and individual attention.