by Victoria Kindle Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis
Dear Learning-Success Coaches,
I am really afraid that homeschooling isn’t going to prepare my children for college. They are only 8, 11, and 13-years old, so I know college is quite a long way down the road, but I need some input from you on this subject. Our children are very bright, and their dad and I have hopes that they will go to college and have opportunities we didn’t have because we didn’t go.
Thank you, Angela
This is a common concern. Thank you for bringing it to our attention to discuss here. It is quite natural to want our children to have opportunities that weren’t available to us, however, we want to caution you about thinking that college is the only route for providing life-enriching opportunities.
In the United States we have a completely unexamined, knee-jerk belief that college is the most desirable path for all young people after high school graduation. In actual fact, this is not true. A recent article in the Los Angles Times points out although six out of ten high school students get into a college and attend college, more than 50% of them drop out. So, only two students who start high school actually graduate from college!
As a nation we are unreasonably invested in the idea that college is for everyone.
Dear Learning-Success Coaches,
I have a nine-year-old child with sensory integration problems. She has an Inventing-Thinking/Relating learning disposition. She’s adding and subtracting two-digit numbers and memorizing her multi-plication facts. Do you have some ideas about how to improve her skills? -- Thanks, Jeanette
It sounds as if your daughter is progressing well with her math skills. Sometimes it is tempting to think that our kids "should" be exactly on the same schedule of learning with the public schools. When you’re homeschooling you can adjust the learning to correspond with your child’s developmental needs, which includes the pace of learning. It won’t make any difference in the future whether your child learned the multiplication tables at age eight or age eleven or even age 14.
In addition, because of you daughter’s Inventing and Thinking/Creating Dispositions she may take longer to learn her math facts. In general, these students want time to explore, discover, and figure things out for themselves. They are usually very hands-on and enjoy manipulating things to find answers, which will increase sensory integration if they are allowed to do so.
What can be frustrating about these learners is that instead of doing their math assignments, they see their own relationships between numbers, and they want and need to play with them in their own way. Their own discoveries are much more important than memorizing facts and finishing pages of math problems.
The quick notations and repetitive routines for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, that we all learned aren’t as important in learning math as we take for granted. When children have a chance to explore the underlying patterns and relationships, they are more likely not to need much instruction about how to do the "operations," and they will be able to remember them, because in a sense they invented them for themselves.
Whole body activities—playing catch with a large ball while saying the times tables or jumping on a rebounder might be a fun and helpful way for your daughter to learn math facts.
Victoria Kindle-Hodson and Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis between them have nearly 50 years of experi-ence in education and working with homeschooling families using their unique Learning Styles Assessment approach. They are the authors of the excellent book Discovering Your Child’s Learning Style and have a private consultation practice in Ventura, California. Please see their website, www.redp.com or send them an e-mail at
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