What was the last movie your kids asked you to turn on for them? If you have young kids, it was probably a cartoon and almost certainly a simple show created with kids in mind. It seems obvious that movies, clothing, books, and even food are created with certain age groups in mind. The interests, concerns and development associated with the targeted age range are all taken into account. So, why don’t we respect these same factors in education?
If your education was anything like mine, you sat at a desk listening to a teacher from the time you were in kindergarten ALL the way through college. Yet, everything we’ve learned about education tells us students at a young age don't learn best sitting in desks all day. Education should look different for different students at different ages! It couldn't be more obvious, and yet schools ignore much of the developmental information we have collected over many years of study and application.
Not only should education look different at different ages, it should also look different for each unique individual. We all have different paths, journeys and talents. We need time and guidance to expand on those gifts and learn how to create value in the world around us using our gifts. How much more powerful would our students be as adults, and how much more fun they would have in the process, if they had a grasp not only on the academic fundamentals but also on who they are individually!
Home-based education offers children opportunities to learn in more developmentally and individually appropriate ways. To help a child along, we must understand 1) the developmental phases we all go through AND 2) the child's unique abilities, learning style and talents.
Take a quick look at the developmental phases below. Can you tell which phase your child is in? Education is a lifelong process. Which phase are you in right now?
- Core Phase (0-7): A time of protection, imaginative play and family work.
- Love of Learning (8-12): A time of discovery and exploration.
- Scholar (13-16): A time of rigorous scholarship and developing unique abilities.
- Depth (17-22): A time for real-world adventures and presenting unique abilities.
- Purpose or Mission Phase (23+) A time of creation and work in the family and world beyond.
- Impact Phase (later life) A time to give back in powerful ways.