Quality vs Quantity in education has been on my mind the past couple weeks. I am excited to be able to dump all of my thoughts here in hopes that it may help you in your homeschooling journey.
I am going to be bold and just say that when it comes to educating our children, quantity and not quality is what we need to focus on when our kids are young. Sound crazy?? Keep reading and hear me out.
Why is it so hard for so many of us to let go of the lists and the to do’s? Why do we struggle trusting ourselves to educate our children? We feel that in order for our kids to get a “quality” education, we need someone with that standard of “quality” to teach them.
The answer to this is because this is how most of use are or were educated. We were told how to do assignments, we were told what to study and were given a time limit to do it in.
While I respect teachers and educators that do so much for our children, I am going to suggest maybe a different way of looking at our children’s education. Instead of searching for the perfect “high quality” curriculum, or buying all of the latest and greatest educational tools – what if…
What if all your children needed was something so much simpler?? What if all they needed was YOU to introduce them to stories, countries, cultures, people, goodness and everything in between.
Here is a visual for you that I found very profound.
I read this in the book Atomic Habits that is SOOO good!
A photography professor at the University of Florida wanted to try an experiment. On the first day, the professor split the class right down the middle. He pointed to the left side of the class and announced that they were to be graded on the quantity of their pictures. Simply put, they would be graded on the amount of pictures they would turn in. For example, if you turned in 100 photos you received an A, 90 photos received a B and so forth.
He then pointed to the right side of the class and announced that they would be graded differently. They were to focus on the quality of their pictures. They could turn in just one photo, but to get an A, this photo would need to be near perfect.
At the end of the semester, the professor went through each students photos and discovered something remarkable. He discovered that the side of the class that was graded on quantity, produced the best photos.
Here is why:
The quantity group didn’t worry about getting the perfect photo. Rather, they simply jumped in and took photo after photo. They spent a lot of time experimenting, testing different methods in the darkroom, making and learning from their mistakes. The quality group spent a lot of time planning and trying to create that one perfect photo.
In the end, the quantity group created the better pictures because they were able to experience and experiment a lot more.
I have found that this same concept rings true for our homeschool.
Our children do not need to become experts….yet. There will be plenty of time for that. Imagine what this would look like in your home if you focused on quantity rather than quality. You may be in for a surprise! As you focus on quantity, just like the photos in the above story, you will in fact create a higher quality education.
Let me give you a couple of examples quality vs quantity in education.
Example #1 Quality vs Quantity in Education – Writing
- Quantity– Introduce the power of notebooking to your kids. Using a blank page or notebook, have your children write whatever they want to write about. It doesn’t matter if they spell the words correctly or if the punctuation is perfect.
They can write about what they are learning about, people they admire, poems they love, or song lyrics they love to sing to. The sky is the limit. Encourage the use of the 3 languages: pictures, letters and numbers. Encourage them to draw pictures or simply print them out and glue them on their page. Numbers, measurements etc can also be added to their notebook of thoughts. There is no wrong or right way to do it. Simply just write, write and write and have fun!
- Quality – Assign a specific topic on something you want your children to learn. Have them write a rough draft, edit it and produce a paper with correct spelling and punctuation. In preparation to this, or along side, assign worksheets and flashcards so your child learns spelling and grammar rules so they can be a better writer. Diagram sentences so that you can learn to write descriptive sentences in your assigned paper.
Do you see the difference between the two in this scenario? Who do you think would write more? Did you know that there is a spelling rule for the reason why super and supper are spelled differently and sound differently? I didn’t until I started homeschooling the QUALITY approach. Guess what though? I always spelled those words right without knowing that there was a rule attached.
Example #2 Quality vs Quantity in Education – Reading
- Quantity – Have your children read a wide variety of good books from children books, chapter books, fiction, historical fiction, cultural, biographies etc. Let them choose what they want to read, but read everyday. Read aloud to your kids, have your child read aloud to you, listen to audio books and have great discussions about these books.
Follow rabbit trails as you come upon them in your books. If you read something in a book that you don’t know about, stop and look it up. Feed your child’s curiosity to help make these books come to life.
- Quality – Assign worksheets and flashcards that teach grammar and phonetics. Work at learning those rules and phonetics to help you be a better reader. Read lists of sight words until you master them along with predetermined sentences that go over specific phonics you are currently working on.
See the difference?
Your children are exposed to more words, ideas, writings and great people when you focus on the quantity. They start to form their own views and opinions which then begin to shape their character. In the end, what appeared as a less than quality education turns out to be a rich high quality education.
Having said all of that, there is a time when the quality of an education will become important, just not in the beginning. The quantity approach will open their hearts that will lead them to the quality approach naturally. By exposing your children to a lot of great literature they will learn grammar, spelling, reading and writing skills merely by reading from the greats!
When I first started homeschooling I began using a a fantastic high quality curriculum. Seriously! It was beautiful and taught us a lot. However, something was missing. That something was inspiration, and was the missing link. We were not inspiring our hearts. Gordan Neufield said, “You can’t parent a child who’s heart you don’t have”. Let’s change that to, “You can’t teach a child who’s heart you don’t have”.
Try changing your mindset from a quality education, to a quantity education. Start with what is familiar to all of us: stories, music, poems, art and lots of nature! To learn more about this educational philosophy check this post out.