Are You Smarter Than A...

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I happened across a post today which asked if I were smarter than a fourth-grader.

I took the short linked math test and did just fine.


But the title got me thinking, 'What's with our obsession with being as smart as someone who should be less educated than us? What's the fascination with discovering that you've forgotten a lot of facts and figures? And what difference does it really make if we no longer recall these details?'

See, even if I couldn't answer most of the geography questions on a fourth-grade test--and that is highly likely--would that mean that I'm not as smart as a fourth-grader? Is that the definition of smart: To be able to regurgitate information on demand?


And perhaps this is one reason so many people are afraid to homeschool. "I could never do that," they tell themselves. "I don't remember half of what I learned in school." And so they dismiss homeschooling simply because they couldn't locate Tanzania if given a blank globe.

While general knowledge and an accumulation of facts and figures could certainly aid you as you learn together with your students, that is not what makes one smart. In fact, given internet access, a computer could find every single one of those facts and figures and do the calculations too. No, intelligence has much more to with your ability to use what you have been given, grasp what is presented, and then move beyond that. And you... you can do that.

And you know what?

"What, Luke?"

Even if you've forgotten everything, homeschooling lets you learn it all again. And that is a beautiful thing. People tell us over and over again:

I was a _insert_subject_here_ major in college, and I was shocked at how much I learned this year!

And I'm personally looking forward to re-reading all those great books we read as a family while using Sonlight.

But homeschooling with Sonlight is much more than just reading great books. Homeschooling with Sonlight is about sparking (or rekindling) the love of learning that sticks with you for life.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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