The Well-Rounded Child

“Education helps you to be a well-rounded person, period. It teaches you how to take in information and data, process it, and use it for life building…”

~ Yolanda Adams

Well-Rounded_StudentI remember the days when being ‘well-rounded’ meant you were given an education which covered a wide base of learning, allowing you to be well-informed and well read. Now, it seems being ‘well-rounded’ has taken on an entirely new meaning. To be truly ‘well-rounded’ your child must excel. Not in merely one area of study, but all.

Have we stopped to consider how much pressure we are putting on our students by expecting them to excel in every area of study? It’s not enough that our children love writing and read voraciously. They must also take higher sciences and maths. Your child is an incredible student, but their education would not be complete without a rigorous sports program and several years of piano under their belt as well.

The problem is not in the exposure to such programs, activities, or courses. The issue lies in expecting our children to ace each and every one of them. We push our students to take these classes – foisting tests upon them at regular intervals – making sure they understand graduating from high school is quite impossible without them. We heap stress upon our children, all in the name of higher learning.

Why is this?

What if our children were able to tailor their learning toward personal goals? What if, instead of stressing over AP courses and unwanted sports programs, our students spent the bulk of their learning focusing on gifts, talents, and career plans?  I wonder what that would look like.

Now, before I start having stones thrown at my head or advertisements regarding my children’s lack of education start making the rounds over the internet, allow me to explain.

It’s not that these courses are bad or wrong. I took AP courses in high school and loved every minute of them. Some kids love sports. While others enjoy music. Neither am I saying our children should not be exposed to such areas of study. In fact, I would highly encourage all students be immersed in all programs of study.

Therein lies the difference.

I want to give our children the blessing of a well-rounded learning environment. We encourage them to pursue many areas of knowledge. We provide them the tools to continue their exploration. Then… we step back and see where the Lord leads.

Through the blessing of homeschooling, we start to see their gifts take shape and where the Lord might be directing their steps. We come alongside them, helping strengthen their weaknessesBut, we don’t heap unrealistic expectations on their shoulders.

Being well-rounded isn’t about being perfect in every area of study and being a major sports star. Being well-rounded means our children have been given thorough exposure in all areas of study and encouraged to continue learning always.

Do I expect my children to do their best? Absolutely! However, sometimes their best isn’t what other people think it ought to be, or even what a college thinks it ought to be. Their best is exactly that, their best.

Don’t settle for someone else’s definition of what a well-rounded child should look like. Ask the Lord what He wants of your children’s education and make their learning God centered. When Christ leads, you can’t go wrong!

🔔Time to Chime In: Give us your definition of a well-rounded student! Practically speaking, what would that look like?

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20 thoughts on “The Well-Rounded Child

  1. To me a well-rounded child has been exposed to lots of different areas of life whether academically, sports, hobbies, etc. Most of my children are still young. I hope that they’ll get to explore and find out where the interests and lie. My oldest is soon turning 11. She does all the usual subjects in school, but definitely knows which ones she likes and wants to pursue more in high school. She’s also got to try different sports over the years. She’s narrowed it down to one (swimming) which she says she would like to continue for a lifetime.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with you. We often push our kids too hard and expect too much from them. Especially in the elementary years. I know some parents who not only push their kids to have straight A’s at school, but expect excellence in their extra-curricular activities: swimming, basketball, dance AND piano! Those children are so over-scheduled they have no idea how to relax and enjoy some down time. I made a promise to myself to never do that to our children. Yes, I want them exposed to different things, but only so they may experience them and see if they enjoy them or may be gifted in those areas. Not to force them to become the best in all of them. I know my daughter is gifted in art, so we spend extra time learning different art related skills. That’s where she thrives. But I also make sure she gives me her best in all of her school subjects, even if she doesn’t excel in them. Her best may in math may not be an A, but I want her to be proud of what she can accomplish when she gives it her all.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Absolutely love this post. Well rounded to me means able to deal with life, with clear thinking abilites. To be exposed to many different types of curricula and activities. To be balanced in all things. Thanks for sharing this encouraging post. *no stones thrown your way here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A well-rounded student is one who is curious and engaged, one who wants to learn and asks good questions. S/he is exposed to a variety of ideas and methods of learning. S/he is taught to think about and reason through those ideas (as opposed to being told what and how to think about them). A well-rounded student is one who walks out of the learning environment having actually LEARNED something…and can’t wait to go back. Sadly, given the focus on high-stakes testing and the elimination of the arts, that last criterion has pretty much disappeared.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: What is a Well-Rounded Child? | footsteps through life

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