Have you ever crammed for a test - or maybe binge-watched some videos to learn a needed skill quickly?  For most subject areas, there are ways to learn the essentials quickly if you missed some points and need a quick review.

But there's one lesson that just can't be crammed. This is what we need to recognize when we plan our homeschool. If we recognize that this can't be crammed, then we can make sure that we set the right priorities in our in our school day.

You can download the audio on Soundcloud or listen here:

Here is the transcript:

Have you ever been to a high school graduation ceremony and really paid attention to the advice the graduates usually receive?

It's usually not something about math or grammar is it?
They might get a little history. But the point of the speech is usually not to teach academics. It's usually to prepare the graduates for life. So the topic of the speech usually has something to do with character, sometimes with faith, with courage, generosity, how to face challenges, things to make sure that they make time for.

Those are all great things. But sometimes I wonder why we wait until the end of the child's journey to really put a focus on this. I think it's a little bit backwards, don't you?

Our children spend most of their days throughout their school journey being drilled and drilled on academics being the most important thing, taking up the biggest part of their day and of their week. It is the priority. It is the priority that's given to teachers. That's how their job is evaluated.

And so the important things, the things that have to do with character and faith and facing challenges, those things tend to get squeezed out or become part of smaller lessons that happened after the important work of math and grammar are done.

I'm not so sure that that has served us well. If you look at what is happening in our society, I think you will find we have a lot of young adults out there who have not been given much advice along the way in their journey about life. Life skills, character, faith, what things are going to guide them - what the most important things in their life should be.

They spend most of their days most of their year, being drilled and drilled on academics being most important. Those character lessons, they tend to be smaller. They tend to be the things that happen after the important lessons.
And this is what kids truly learn about their place. We as parents, as homeschoolers, have an opportunity to reverse this program. Instead of character being what's crammed in at graduation, it can be something that is learned day by day.

You see, here's why that's important. Math can be learned in a short period of time. Grammar can be learned in a short period of time. The essentials of history and science can be learned in a short period of time. There are programs to fill in gaps and help you make sure the essentials are learned.If a child is having trouble with that, they can cram that at the end. There are courses to help kids prepare for the most important information on the ACT and the SAT.

But character training, spiritual training, biblical discipleship? That can't be crammed in at the end. They can't learn that from a Facebook video. They can't learn that from a hit song on the radio that tells them everything that the adult wishes for them.

A child learns what's important by what is presented to them as most important every day, and as a homeschooler you have the opportunity to decide what is most important and put that first in every day and every week.

That's the way kids learn character. That's the way they learn what values should be guiding them. That's the way they learn what is most important.

This is something that I teach in my course. We spend a good bit of time over several lessons, identifying what our beliefs are identifying what is most important, identifying what we want to make sure gets taught by the end of the homeschool journey, and then picking out the most important things from that list to make sure that those things go first into the day.

This is part of building the foundation for your homeschool. And this is something that you really should take the time to do before you get into choosing curriculum, and planning other academic adventures. You need to make sure that you are making what you want your child to learn as most important as the first thing, as the most important thing in the day. So my advice is no matter where you are in the journey, to take some time to step back and look at how you're using your day or how you plan to use your day.

Have you identified what's important? Have you identified what you want to make sure, if you could pick just one thing? If you could pick just one thing for your child to learn, if they only had time to learn one thing, what is it that you would want them to walk away with? It doesn't mean the other things aren't aren't important. It doesn't mean that they won't have a rigorous academic education. But what it does mean is you are choosing what the most important values are.

So take the time to do that. Step back. Choose the most important values for your child and make sure those go first into your homeschool day.