Mastery Learning: Why Your Child Should Make A's
Here at AliYah Academy we are always reassuring parents that it's OK, if not typical, for our children to make all A's while homeschooling. For some reason we feel guilty like maybe we aren't hard enough on them or maybe we are showing favoritism, after all, most children in traditional schools aren't making all A's.
There is a very good reason for this, apart from the fact that your child IS a genius and you ARE an awesome teacher (one of the best,) you are teaching to mastery. This is something that would be quite challenging, if not impossible, in a traditional school setting. Your child gets A's simply because your child has you. For example, if your child takes a math test and misses a question you do not simply mark it wrong, give him or her an arbitrary grade A-F, and move on to the next chapter of the book. No, you stop everything and help your child understand and correct the problems they did wrong and then you pay attention and celebrate with your child when you see that they figured it out on their own and now understand the concept. Whether it happens that day or weeks down the road, you, with out thinking, teach to mastery because it doesn't make sense to skip over or rush through something your child doesn't understand. We naturally want our children to understand, to learn. If they don't understand a concept we don't give a grade of failure, we just simply aren't finished with that concept yet. This holds true for all subjects and skills. We want our children to do their personal best and be their personal best.
I have been explaining this to parents for years now. Mastery Learning is something we instinctively do with our children, but is not (maybe can not) be practiced in a classroom of 30 plus students, who have just met a teacher for the first time that year, and may not see said teacher again after the year ends, to move on to the next unknown teacher, and so on. This is the traditional system, but you have made a different choice, to teach to Mastery. To enjoy the process, not just check off required boxes, but to teach your child to master each task set before them and teach them to love learning.
I recently came across this video from Khan Academy that explains Mastery Learning pretty well. I am thrilled that others are realizing the need for change in the current system and I hope it continues. You can find a link to Khan Academy on the resource links page, They have a free, good math program. Enjoy. Happy Homeschooling!