- Léo’s Insights 2019-2020
- Léo’s Insights 2020-2021
- Léo’s Insights 2018-2019 Academic Year
There has been a seeming avalanche of studies, research and opinions of late, indicating children are suffering as a consequence of the pandemic from falling behind, accumulating gaps, experiencing learning losses and other disastrous effects. There is no doubt this is true, but it is important to put these findings in perspective in order to get an accurate picture of what is truly happening.
Personal perspectives are the lens or filter through which we process information, and they ultimately determine or predetermine the conclusions we come to when interpreting evidence. Most people are fixed regarding their perspectives on things. Others have a more open mind, that is, they are willing and even want to test their foundational beliefs with the objective of wanting to know the truth.
A person’s filters are largely determined by the foundational world view of the individual. World view is essentially based on one’s understanding of God. Everybody has one. Most people believe their world view is the only correct one which is why there always seems to be an opposing mindset. As a consequence, everybody advances and defends their world view, which takes us back to our filters for interpreting the latest COVID-19 related findings.
Without attempting to define or label the opposing perspectives I will present here, let’s just assume two filters: Let’s compare the Christian faith and the opposing secular world view perspectives. In an attempt to keep from getting sectarian, let’s label the two opposing positions unschooling vs schooling.
“Unschoolers” believe every child is created special and unique. Individual gifts, talents, interests, abilities, weaknesses and natural propensities for learning contribute to this uniqueness. An inherent human value is given top priority and the diversity of individuals is celebrated. Needless to say, one does not have to be a Christian to believe these things, even if it is rooted in a Christian understanding.
Alternatively, “school” is generally built on an atheistic premise so special creation is not supported. Instead, this secular perspective believes that chance created the child (this is not to insinuate a lack of understanding of the birds and the bees!) and even though lip service is paid to individual attributes, this worldview mandates a “child-is-an-empty-vessel” belief system.
The “unschooler” world view is opposed to the conformity demanded by the schools, whereas schools want to “develop” the “empty” vessels. “Unschoolers” believe children are unique in every way and therefore do not understand how children can be compared to a fictional average. Unschoolers cannot comprehend how a child can be behind, have learning gaps and be able to lose what s/he has learned. The losses mentioned as part of the COVID lockdowns are seen as memory losses rather than learning losses, the result of having to learn things of no interest or application to the child.
The secular “school” opinion systemizes learning and demands that all children be treated the same while using a singular approach to “fill” the children with what is deemed to be important. Usually this is advanced without really believing the child has an ultimate destiny. From this perspective, if a child does not learn to read when the system believes it should, s/he is learning challenged or behind. If the child is good at adding but not subtracting, s/he has gaps. If the child is made to learn something that does not interest him/her and s/he cannot repeat the information in a given time lapse, s/he is suffering from learning loss.
Home educators should pay special attention to these perspectives. One encourages diversity of expectations. The other insists on conformity, viewing anyone who does not conform as having gaps, learning losses or of being “behind”. Do you think this is the way God sees children?
Two different perspectives. Two different approaches. Two different outcomes. And, two different opinions regarding the consequences of school closures. Home educators should carefully observe all that is being said and done in the education industry during these “COVID times” as encouragement towards firmly establishing their own educational filters that are based on the uniqueness of each child rather than on a non-existent standard student.
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