Posted by: fatherof11 | January 13, 2006

Educational background

This is a continuation of the prior discussion on why homeschooling is the best educational choice for older foreign adopted children.

A significant issue that most of these children have is their prior educational back ground. It is very typical that children living in orphanages will not have had an ideal educational experience up to the point they are adopted. In their home country they were typically in the public schools, if they were in school at all. Often these schools are inadequate because of the economic conditions in the country, or the fact that orphans usually do not have access to the better schools. Likewise, orphans are pretty much on their own when it comes to navigating the educational process. Without parents to guide them, tutor them, and otherwise fill in the blanks in the system, they have little hope for academic success.

In those less common cases where these children do thrive in schools, there education does not always agree with what they would have learned in our schools. For instance, the subject of history is very tied to the local culture. For instance our daughter who comes from China knows quite a bit about Chairman Mao, but very little about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. She also was taught that the U.S. was NOT in World War II. Clearly she would have problems in an eight grade American History class. Things that here peers are assumed to know she does not. Likewise, facts that she considers true are consider false by her new teachers.

The solution to these problems are not easy, particular when combined with the language difficulty and cultural difficulties mentioned in my prior posts. Clearly, such a child needs an individualized curriculum and time spent with a teacher who will help them identify and fill in the blanks while correcting the “wrong” teachings from their prior environment.

Obviously, a classroom with twenty other kids is not the ideal situation for such a child. Teachers simply do not have the time to spend so much effort on an individual child. Also, most teachers in traditional schools do not have much experience with children coming from such a background.

Clearly the better solution is one where the teacher knows a great deal about the child’s background, strengths and limitations. A solution where the curriculum can be changed to meet the needs of the child. Where learning can occur at a pace that the child can handle, and it can be adapted to all the other issues these children are dealing with in there early stages in a new culture.

Clearly, homeschooling is that better solution.

In the next post, I intend to deal more with the difficulty that traditional schools have recognizing and accounting for the unique challenges the children face. Also, why care needs to be taken with regard to any testing that may be done to determine possible learning problems.

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