Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Success, Lies & Statistics

I am busy trying to get all organized for the homeschool process-- gathering curricula and resources, thinking about how we will cover certain subjects and record keeping.  I began to think that it might be a good idea to keep some sort of a log of successful days.  That would be nice.  It would allow me  to look back and see actual progress when we hit the inevitable snags and plateaus during our homeschooling.  [INSERT "harumph" and snort here.]

How would I even begin to define a "successful day?"  Being a lawyer, I am quite familiar with the concept of "defining one's terms."  Lawyers and politicians alike are experts at splitting hairs while defining a topic so that they can bring about the desired result rather than any actual truth or fact.  I am sure that everyone is familiar with the old quote, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."  I guess I will need to be very careful about my tracking of "success."

To define my term: "Success will occur during those golden moments when my child's eyes light up, he or she turns to me and says, "I get it now Mommy.  I get it!  I love you!  I am so glad you are homeschooling me. (Hug ensues.) May I go clean my room now?"  If I am dreaming, why not dream big?  The scene of a "successful day" will also encompass a clean house, a gourmet meal ready for dinner, I am thin and in shape (with no wrinkles nor gray hair) and the dog does not shed.  And oh yeah... we just won the lottery too!

Hmm, perhaps I should come up with a few alternative definitions of "success" which are a might more realistic...  "Worked on schoolwork for 4 1/2 hours today."  The lawyer in me can already see the problem with that definition.  It does not take into account whether or not any actual learning took place.  "Did not yell, scream, cry or roll eyes while homeschooling today." Problems with that definition should be pretty self-explanatory.  How about just looking at the kids' point of view?  "The kids did not yell, scream, cry or roll eyes at me while homeschooling today." Ditto again on the problem with that definition.  "Kids completed all assigned work."  That looks promising.  Wonder if complete drudgery and misery could still count as a successful day?  Maybe that one is not so good either.

Let's just hope that in reality, I don't define "success" as: "No one dead, maimed or bleeding."  You know, now that I think about it... I really am going to be so busy homeschooling with the kids, maybe I don't really need to add the extra task of keeping track of our "successful days."  Yes, I am quite certain I will be too busy to chart out our successes.  That's it!  That's the ticket!  "Denial," it's not just a river in Egypt.

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