High Standards

by Idaho Dad on November 3, 2012

I have very high standards for my kids.

I expect them to be clean, polite, well-fed, friendly, and respectful, among other things.

But nowhere do my standards rise to such lofty heights as they do with the education of my children.

Because we school at home, I have the luxury of expecting so much more from my son and daughter than I would if they were still working under the low bar set by the public school system.

Sometimes my kids get a little frustrated that I make them do assignments two or three times.

Like I said, my standards are high. But are they too high?

I make them write neatly. I demand that their sentences be complete. I ask them to stay within the margins of their paper. I require that their thoughts be coherent.

Best of all, I actually expect them to have correct spelling and grammar!

High standards don’t have to be impossible standards.

I also expect my kids to read at or above grade level, to memorize the times table, to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, to be aware of the geography of our planet, and to have a general understanding of the foundations of Western Civilization.

I tell them to learn something new each and every day.

Is that so much to ask?

Kids today lack the basics for one simple reason. Nobody is setting high standards for them. Not the schools, not their parents, not society. In fact, it seems to be just the opposite as children all too frequently hear, “You don’t need to know that for the test.”

While everyone else is dumbing things down, I’m trying to smarten things up.

My kids know they’re expected to do their best, on every lesson and assignment. If they don’t, they do it over. And they keep working on it until they get it right.

If they do these things, I believe they’ll find success in life, in whatever form they choose.

Those are my standards, and I’m sticking to them.

What are yours?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam November 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Your standards sound very fair and very appropriate. I wish more parents held their children to standards of this type.

I can’t help but picture the scene from the film A River Runs Through It – Tom Skerritts character makes young Norman write a paper over and over until he gets it right. Constantly making it shorter and more precise.

I will be a father in February and I am already filling my head with questions of education and parenting. Public vs home vs unschooling. Programs like the Sudbury Valley School – even starting my own school.

I enjoy your posts – keep them coming!

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2 Tamara Cosby November 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I too have very high standards…for both my own children and my students in the public school. Please know not all of us have set the bar low!! Promise!!!

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3 Sandra Chase November 6, 2012 at 7:46 am

I used to expect my kids (in public school) to get all A’s. In our district A = 93 and above. Then I realized that it meant they had to be perfect all the time. And I realized that when I was a kid in NY – an A was 90-100. I looked back on my own report cards (which I saved in my scrapbooks). Lots of 91′s and 92′s and I was so proud of myself. So I re-scaled the bar to accept 90′s and above. In other words, I don’t expect perfection but I think 90 is reasonable as an average.
As a side note, I live in a metropolitan Virginia city and the public schools in our area are SUPER competitive. Almost sickening!

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4 Chris Tillley (@hhtales) November 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

Checking out the Nominees for Best Homeschool Dad Blog. I knew I couldn’t be the only one.

I agree with the high standards. The dumbing down is one of the reason that I pulled my son out of the public system.

On another note we live up in BC. Every couple of summers we do a camping road trip that eventually finds us a Silverwood Theme Park.

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5 Jason November 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

It’s not that your standards are high. It’s that you actually have them! We just went though the worst public school experience. I used to laugh at those who home-schooled. Now, I think you people are geniuses!!!

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6 The Id November 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I enjoy popping over and reading your posts. I was a terrible student, so I am extra tough on my child. Luckily we found a great private school to avoid sending her to public school.

Great work…I enjoy the read.

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