First Grade Wisdom

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“Mama, I think sometimes … sometimes when a king or queen doesn’t think they’re ready to be king or queen … Well, I think that makes them better.” My blonde, blue-eyed six-year-old leaned forward as I turned to look at him in the back seat. “Is that right, Mama?”

That moment makes every difficult day I’ve spent with this child so worth it. It also makes me thankful that my husband and I have chosen a path many people see as wrong in order to give him the freedom to learn.

He didn’t know to use the word “humble” in trying to describe this important character trait, but he’s grasped something far more important than any vocabulary test could measure.

In her amazing book “Consider This” Karen Glass makes a compelling argument that our kids really need to only develop three things: 1) a humble spirit (knowing that they don’t know everything), 2) a good character, and 3) a love for learning.

Those three concepts are core standards for my homeschool. 

Of course, my kids study all the subjects they need to function in life. But my children’s education isn’t measured by the number of worksheet pages they complete. Or the score they get on a test. Or the length of papers they can write at a certain age. Those things are all tools for learning and communicating (some more or less useful).

But filling in the blanks in a workbook perfectly is not big, bold, or beautiful enough to be considered the primary accomplishment for the precious years we share with our children. 

Instead, let’s learn alongside them as we explore beautiful books that show all the depth and richness of life– and illustrate how the characters of men and women shape history. Let’s allow them opportunities to discover a world so complex they know there are no simple answers. Let’s give them the time to ponder what it all means.

What our children need most is wisdom. And that can’t be discovered on a standardized test. But you might hear evidence of it coming from the back seat.  


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