Friday, February 10, 2006

Our Education Philosophy

David and I have been coming to the conclusion that we need to have an 'Education Philosophy', or guiding principle to help our kids through school. In other words, we decided to define our education value for our children and which would allow us to determine the goals that will help them get there.

What we have decided is that we want our children to be achievers. We want them to excell. They can be whatever they want to be, but we want them to be their best at that thing. For instance, Xander wants to be an astronaut. That means MIT and a degree (likely) in aeronautics; that's a lot of focus on grades and extracurriculars to ensure entrance into that prestigious school. CJ on the other hand wants to be an 'army guy'. Do we just go "well, it's just a grunt so he doesn't need to go to university" but we've decided that's not the way to go. He should be the best he can be. Perhaps he should go to WestPoint or some other really good ROTC program. The point being, we will ensure rules and discipline are enforced and observed in their childhood allowing them the freedom to be their very best in adulthood.

David and I have struggled against our own mediocrity our whole lives. David, a shy boy, was early on labelled as a dumb kid and he believed it. He hated school and his label helped to define why he hated it. It was only as an adult when he struggled to achieve the things he desired that he learned he was in fact of genius IQ, subsequently became a Mensa member and began to join the ranks of the intellectual elite. However, he got a very late start in life and while there's no longer any doubt that he's brilliant, he lacks much of the work ethic and personal discipline that could truly make him great. As for me, I have no lofty ambitions of discovering I'm a secret savant, but I do think I could have achived much more in life had I learned the value of hard work and follow-through. I am a lazy, lazy girl. I've been a quitter my whole life. My Mom made it easy for me, saying "it's YOUR life!" ... problem is I truly don't think a 12, 14, 16 year old kid is capable of owning their own lives, what did I know of life?

So back to our kids and our new-found education philosophy. Our goal is to have children who are ACHIEVERS, who are SUCCESSFUL as children. The steps we plan to take to help them get there are as follows:
1. Friend time will be limited to the extracurricular activities they participate in and weekend playtime.
2. Tutors or supplemental education will be pursued according to the child's interest and need.
3. Extracurricular activities will be according to interest and talent and will be of value.
4. Homework and practice time will be observed every week day.
5. Emphasis will be on family fun together and the value of education.

Yes, I am aware that I will not be popular and that I will bear the brunt of their dislike and frustration. David will back me up. Our goals are not set in stone, either, we will flex and move according to our children's needs. But we will keep our eye on what is best for them (in our humble opinions) and guide them to it. It's partly why we feel family fun is as important as all the rest because bonding and family traditions are so important to shaping a child, a family, a heart.

The boys will still have a childhood. They just won't be running around and playing every day. And in the end, they will be FREE! Free to pursue whatever may interest them, with every door opened to them because they will be accomplished, educated and value-centered.