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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Grade Is Your Child In?

Tim Hawkins admits he doesn't know. In one of his routines, he says, "The kid knows Greek, but he still eats bugs. What grade is that?"

Hat Tip
Henry Cate

Ignore the health benefits of eating bugs for the moment.

Children develop skills at a variety of rates. This fact is far more important to their education than student's "date of manufacture." The practice of grouping students into "grades" is about crowd control, organization and labeling. Saying that a student is in Fifth Grade tells us nothing more than an age span.

This past Sunday, one of the teachers was away. We were given another grade level to teach in our class. Not a problem. A few more children weren't able to read yet, but that wasn't a big deal. We pressed on anyway. I teach Sunday School in such a way that the age of the kids doesn't matter much.

Literature-based curriculum has a similar benefit. Good books don't have a specific age attached to them. In fact, I personally enjoy books in every single one of Sonlight's homeschool curriculum programs. And we get comments every year from well educated parents who tell us that they learned a ton from the year of Sonlight.

Your child isn't best served by focusing on the grade he or she is "in." Far better to choose an appropriate program that covers the topics you want your student to study next. That's why we recommend several of Sonlight's Core programs for a particular age or grade.

What's more, without a specific grade, you can teach students of multiple ages with the same homeschooling curriculum. That saves you time and money. Both of which are good things.

So next time you're asked what grade your child is in, consider quoting Tim Hawkins: "The kid knows Greek, but he still eats bugs. What grade is that?"

If that does not satisfy your interrogator, you could always add: I use a Sonlight program. It's fantastic.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester


Mia said...

Usually when people ask about grade level, they really are asking about age, not academic proficiency. We answer with the grade the children would be in. However, it took a while before we quit worrying about what it meant academically. Nobody in "real" school says "I'm in 4th grade but I'm in the slow reading group and the accelerated math group."

Robin E. said...

I love that quote by Tim Hawkins! I can't really use it, however, since none of know Greek even though some of us still eat bugs (watching Bizarre Foods has encouraged certain old-enough-to-know-better people to take up bug and grub eating again).

Great post today.

Unknown said...

When I first saw your question my first thought was, "Oh please, not that question again!" Truthfully, I have to stop and figure it out, if that's possible. I've just recently decided on the best answer, "Well, here are their ages, you figure it out!" But even still, we all know how little that matters.

Yara said...

I've said "2nd and a half, if you must know"
Now... to find a Greek teacher ; )

Jamie Jo said...

Thanks, Luke. For some reason I needed this reminder today. Mia's comment particularly struck home. So true, so true about "real school."

Luke Holzmann said...

Great point, Mia!

So, how were the grubs, Robin? <smile>

Mommyx12, I'm glad my post wasn't as much of a downer as the title <smile>.

I don't speak Greek, either, Yara. But perhaps I should picture it up just to be able to use the quote <laughing>.

Glad to hear it, Jamie!



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