In a previous post, I talked about the importance of being aware of grade level standards in order to better plan for the homeschool year. I don’t necessarily feel it is vital for us to strictly follow them, but an awareness of what others are expected to learn and master can help us better plan an appropriate homeschool program.
Another reason why I think it is important for us to be aware of certain milestones is because knowing those suggested milestones can help us identify delays in our own children. Early intervention is vital to the success of struggling students. The sooner we recognize deficiencies in our students, the earlier we can help close educational gaps. If it is suggested that all kindergarten-aged kids be able to identify their letters and letter sounds by the end of the kindergarten year and our kids have not mastered them by the age of 9, there is most likely an underlying issue at hand. This is a case where grade levels and milestones/standards are beneficial. If your child is ready to learn something new, go for it! Throw all of the educational goodies you can his or her way! If it takes your child an extra year or so to master those phonetic rules, that’s okay! But a two year or more gap is a very difficult gap to close, especially the older a student gets.
Are there some standards that seem frivolous? Of course. But when we are talking about the foundations of education and basic skills kids need to master in order to advance educationally, we need to keep our eyes on the end goal - life after homeschool. Knowing what is generally required of their peers can help us ensure our kids will have what it takes to chase their dreams once they’ve graduated from high school. Knowing these milestones and standards can also help us identify gaps and deficiencies in our own kids as we adjust and individualize our home program to meet their needs.
If your child struggles a great deal, don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can refer you to agencies that can help.