Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Efficacy Of Alex's Homeschooling - Four Principles

Song:  Dragon Rider

Group:  Two Steps From Hell

Last year at Coral Academy Of Science...
Alex took a school wide Mathematics test.

The 277 score is in red because it is the top 1% of 11th graders taking the test.
Alex took this test in 6th grade...and he scored higher than the chart... at 283.

This test is designed to exhaust the student's ability to answer all of the questions...
as it gets progressively more difficult the further you go in the test.

Alex only started his school in the last 3.5 months or so of the school year.

For the previous 2 years...
he had been strictly home schooled using
Thinkwell and Alcumus for his Math...
and Plato Learning for his other subjects
(along with various supplemental texts).

He was also a 4.0 student last year.

Yes...Alex has some special capabilities.

he would have long ago been surpassed by studious children
had we not adhered to the following principles
(as always...it is drive that reigns supreme in any endeavour):

1)  Positive Reinforcement - Instill a love of learning.

2)  Daily Study (weekdends included) - Instills a positive pattern of behavior.
Daily studying means less studying per day...smaller chunks of information to digest.

3)  Conceptual Understanding - 
Parental guidance in his studies ensures there is efficient learning. 
 Explain the concepts so there is no frustration associated with learning.  
With concepts understood...calculation and application meld.  
Without conceptual understanding...it is mere regurgitation.

4)  Daily achievable objectives - 
With something to achieve constantly in sight...
school work goes from tedium to adventure.

A child in school is a mountain climber.

Daily Achievable Objectives lets him know... ahead of time...
the point in his journey where he may camp for the night.
The more accurately and rapidly he walks his path...
the sooner he may rest for the day.
He becomes self driven.

Conceptual Understanding is giving him a means of navigation...
so he may choose a straight and true path up the mountain.
He won't be frustrated by having to retrace his steps as he follows false leads...
draining his energy and patience instead of enjoying the views on the way up.

Daily Study allows him to break the long arduous climb into manageable portions.
He may then look forward to each session fully mentally energized...
instead of being worn out from too heavy a pack...and too long of a walk.

Positive Reinforcement is having a guide beside him...
giving him water and encouragement along the way.
The climber takes great comfort in the guide's words and demeanor.
He pushes himself to earn the looks and words of great praise...
and soon pushes himself from the self pride that he earns from each leg of the trek.

The goal is to have him develop self drive.

Some feel that their child must be driven by them.
They, at the time, don't realize that once their applied force
(negative reinforcement)...
is no longer a viable option...
the force which had kept them climbing is no longer there.

A slave driver must constantly be there to crack the whip
(which they won't be eventually...children grow up and leave the nest)...
so...besides being a much less effective means of "guidance"...
it is a losing proposition from the beginning.

A guide who encourages and teaches self pride... 
self drive is a natural result for the climber.

Once taught...it is never forgotten...never lost.


  1. You have given Alex a solid foundation upon which he is maximizing his wonderful abilities. No doubt he will continue to flourish as you have instilled in him the drive to succeed.

  2. We are always monitoring his emotional status through his general behavior. If we feel he is getting frustrated...we have him take longer or more frequent breaks. Sometimes during his free time...he will choose to do hours of extra math on Alcumus. I try to get him out of the house though...to help freshen his mind.

    School starts the day after tomorrow. We are anxiously awaiting his schedule of classes.


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