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A Case for Individualized Education

If you’re a parent of school-age children, I know WHAT YOU REALLY WANT for your kids.

You want your children to be their best, unique selves. You want them to have learning experiences that are exactly at their level and in their learning style because you know that that’s how your children learn best.

What you may not know is that your children will not have the opportunity to be their best selves as long as you continue to compare your kids to all the others. This includes the kids in school.

In your mind, you want your kids to be special and unique, but you’ve got this crazy habit that works against that desire. If you worry about your children succeeding in school, you are stuck trying to make your kids like all the rest.

I want to try to help you create a shift in your thinking. A shift that can make a long-term difference for your kids.

Maya Angelou said, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

When you TRY to make your child like all the others you are limiting their prospects. As a matter of fact, the ONLY place where it’s important for your child to be like all the rest is in school. In the real world – out of school – it’s important to stand out. To have outstanding resumes and applications. But your kids don’t have the chance to be their best selves when your main objective is to keep them from falling behind or even when your objective is to get your child ahead of all the rest. There should be no comparisons to peers or other “standard” school requirements.

I know this is a hard concept for most parents to completely wrap your head around. Most people believe in their hearts that they want their children to be EXTRAordinary (outside or beyond ordinary), but they have a hard time taking the big step to let go of old beliefs and habits. In reality, it is a select small group of people that will actually take the leap.

The truth is, state standards are not a magic formula for your kid. They simply represent the things that the majority of students are capable of doing at each age. Parents often fear that if their child doesn't learn a skill at the same time as all the other kids do that they will forever be behind. It's just not true. Unless your child has serious learning disabilities, your child can learn reading, writing, and math at any time. As a matter of fact, many kids that wait until they are ready to learn have been known to master these important skills in a matter of months or even weeks. The kids find it fun and exciting to learn many things at once.

Louis L'Amour said, "Acquiring an education has many aspects, of which school is only one, and the present approach is, I believe the wrong one…. our methods of instruction do much to hamper learning. Our approach is pedestrian. We teach a child to creep when he should be running."

The truth is, kids like to learn. It’s school they don’t like. They like spending time with friends, but more and more kids actually need to get away from a toxic social environment as well. They need the ability to choose their friends and to avoid bullies.

You can leave your kids in a normal school, or you can give them so much more. There is a whole world of possibly outside of a classroom. There is no reason to continue to hold them back. You can choose to make a difference for your kids today.

What’s super cool about non-classroom-based learning is that it’s not new at all. Dynamic and personalized learning is actually a natural and normal way to learn, if school doesn’t get in the way. It’s how people have learned for thousands of years.

It’s how Learnardo da Vinci taught himself. It’s how Thomas Edison taught himself. It’s how Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Claude Monet, Florence Nightingale, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, Phyllis Wheatley, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Susan B. Anthony, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Dickens, Albert Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin, and soooo many more people taught themselves.

Each of these people did things that nobody had ever done before. They were able to do these things because they were not required to go to school and to be like all the other kids. All of these people gained their educations through non-traditional means, giving them the opportunities to do more than they would be allowed to do in school.

Because you don’t get something new by doing the same thing that everyone else does.

Heather Martinson


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