With a bounce of curls, bright eyes, and a confident smile, she presented the worksheet to her teacher. “Did I do good?” questioned the eager face. To the capable eye, the error was clear, yet not wanting to cloud the happiness, hesitation wondered, “Must I mark that wrong?”
Over the years, we’ve witnessed multitudes of tactics in regards to grading. Some avoid the use of RED ink, thinking that perhaps a different color will soften the truth. Shockingly, many simply return the work to be corrected, even if for evaluation purposes, to bring forth a better outcome. A few avoid grades altogether shrinking from the affects of success or failure. In public education, since the onslaught of Dewey’s progressivism, the constructivists have insisted upon the right of every innately good child to self-direct their own learning, create their own knowledge since it is simply a means of coping, and construct your own meanings. To the modern educator, the value of an activity far exceeds correct answers; therefore wrong answers are simply discrepancies (or as Hillary would state – “short-circuits”) meant to be solved between student and teacher. The selfie explosion continues:
“Realize that one creates one’s own reality. You are the center of the world. You are a free, immensely powerful source of life and goodness. Affirm it. Spread it. Radiate it. Think day and night about it. And you will see a miracle happen: the greatness of your own life” [Taken from an instruction manual for teachers by Greig, Pike, and Selby, 1989].
Have you ever met someone who thinks they “are the center of the world”? No doubt, AbiNoelle, at four-years-old wants to be the center of the world and she is pretty special to us; however, God, the Creator, has set the precedent for order and absolutes. In homeschooling we have determined to know and apply a biblical philosophy to daily teaching and to steer clear of any progressivist/constructivist influence. The bottom line being: AbiNoelle must be taught that God created the world and HE ALONE is the center of ALL things! One author wisely stated, “If we are not aware of the basic thinking behind different orientations, we tend to be eclectic in our approach. That is, we use every new idea that seems attractive without recognizing that it may not fit our own beliefs about the nature, purpose, and practice of education.” Surely, this is the major pitfall in education today. With publishers moving at lightning speed to issue the latest and greatest to help a child learn, the options seems endless, and, now, unlike just a few short years ago, “Christian” education material is in abundance. We, personally, were amazed just recently as we perused the offerings at a homeschool convention. Nevertheless, upon further examination, most did not meet our biblical philosophy criteria.
For this school year, we are so thankful to continue again with the A Beka Academy DVD program for K5. AbiNoelle entered her third week and diligently completed her evaluation papers. She was so proud to present her papers to Daddy when he arrived home. With great detail, she explained each paper to him, while Daddy beamed his approval. The RED ink indicated success and a few areas to improve on in the days ahead. These evaluation papers were simply another lesson in doing your best, enjoying your achievements with others, and learning from what was incorrect.
In the beginning, life was created with one rule and the opportunity to do right or wrong. That first wrong was not just a discrepancy but was a red stain upon mankind. We surely have come a long way since those garden days, but thank God for the Cross and reward of Heaven to those that believe. Any attempt to disregard absolutes established at the foundation is simply an effort to deny the Creator. Because of our love for the Creator, we say, “Bring on the RED ink but be sure to have a surplus of stickers to reward the best efforts.”