Growth, Not Grades

Open and Grow

Learning, at its best, isn’t about getting a job or finding a career. Learning is for its own sake:

  • personal development,
  • skill acquisition,
  • a wider lens into history and other populations,
  • community participation,
  • global awareness,
  • moral development,
  • and an appreciation for scientific advancement, including today’s technologies.

Taken together, the fruit will likely be a career path today’s student will eventually enjoy. Yet if career is the goal, sometimes we undermine learning with pressure to perform.

We learn because learning grows us. Growth, not grades—that’s the objective.

When I spent the weekend with octogenarians, what stood out to me were two items:

1) Their education had focused on reading widely, auditing classes in college for the sheer pleasure of it on top of coursework, and a continued appetite for history, literature, the arts and sciences, even beyond career. Many of the priests who taught them made these subjects come to life for their students.

2) The second item was more troubling. The school methods for securing learning in the 1950s (particularly Catholic schools) were often harsh and punitive. Tongue-lashings, boxing a boy around the ears, cracking a textbook over a boy’s head, rapping the knuckles with a ruler, ridiculing one boy against another, using the threat of low grades as coercion… One lovely gentleman told me he was deeply soured and scarred by his experience. Others laughed off the abuse, saying it toughened them for adulthood.

To me: I’d call that education gone wrong—where behaving like a good student was prioritized over learning.

As homeschool parents, we may not crack kids over the head with a math book for not paying attention, but the undue pressure to like a subject or our expectation of a particular outcome can create a similar antagonism to learning. Learning thrives best when it’s an unfolding process of discovery—shared with a trusted partner. YOU!

It means a loss of control (at some level) but it’s so worth it when you see the lights go on!

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

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