“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…”
I 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 weaknesses. But, 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?