Methods Above Madness

national-report-card

According to the Department of Education’s National Report Card, an average of 75% of all 12th graders are below proficient in civics, geography, mathematics, science, and U.S. history. Two-thirds of all 12th graders are below proficient in reading and writing.

The institution of public school appears caught in a horror-go-round, throwing more and more programs at under performing students in an effort to achieve some modicum of educational success. Unfortunately for American citizens, there is no winning ring on this particular ride. The only solution is to get off the ride.


Children are successfully educated when tutored with individualized methodology, rather than programmed, socialized, systems.


The public school horror-go-round promises measurable results through the systematic observance of prescriptive rules attempting to program students with specific skill sets. As Charlotte Mason puts it, “A ‘system of education’ is an alluring fancy.” Systems work great with machine programming, but they are recipes for perversion, suicide, depression, and anxiety in the realm of education. Faced with such serious obstacles to their sanity, it is no small wonder students are infinitely inventive with ways to exploit, break, or circumvent the rules imposed by scholastic institutions.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4, KJV

Stepping out of the insanity of systems requires right motives (as I previously wrote about), and the utilization of methodology over programs. Escape necessitates a rejection of one-size-fits-all curricula where the student is forced to focus on a singular action, skill, behavior, or checkbox.

In place of systems, “Method implies two things, a way to an end, and a step by step progress in that way…[it] implies an idea, a mental image, of the end object to be arrived at.” (Home Education, Vol 1, Pg. 8) Utilizing methods, an educator is able to crystallize the goal in the mind of a student, then enable that student to overcome any obstacle or barrier standing between the student and achievement of that goal.

The key here is the power that methods provide to students in identifying and diagnosing those barriers and obstacles. Where a typical student might be struggling with multiplication tables, a system might demand hours of flash cards or exhaustive testing as a solution. Method, however, gives the student and tutor freedom to discover the link between slow recall, and any number of other issues both inside and outside the educational setting. Perhaps a lack of sleep, poor diet, or particularly difficult preceding lesson is the cause of such troubles?

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5, KJV

“Method…presses the most unlikely matters into service to bring about that end.” (Home Education, Vol 1, Pg. 8) With the end in sight, the student’s steps fall into place. A student becomes self-correcting as long as the end is maintained, no matter the obstacle or setback; the student becomes naturally adaptive, imaginative, and inspired to achieve the end.

How do you help your student maintain their focus? What obstacles have you helped them overcome?

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6, KJV

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