Tip of the Week: Don’t Forget the Overriding Principle

In the last three Tip of the Week articles, I suggested an at-home reading test you could use to help you choose the most appropriate reading level for your child. This test measured three factors: the number of words read per minute, reading accuracy, and comprehension, all with passing standards. I also said there was an overall principle governing these factors.  That principle is, Think Probably, not Certainty. In fact, I’d say this principle governs all that we do as homeschoolers.

Here’s what I mean.

Home schoolers are often led to believe there is a direct link between how and what we teach and the results we get.  In other words, we buy this curriculum, use this approach, follow this instructional sequence, and we’re guaranteed results.  This thinking, if not directly stated, is implied by other homeschoolers we know as well as homeschool book sellers. The fact is, it’s not that simple. If it were, life would be so much more predictable. We’d be in control.

When you’re interpreting and applying test results, you’re also dealing with probability, not certainty.  Based on test results, health professionals prescribe to increase the probability of recovery or improved health.  After considering fitness testing, coaches work with athletes to improve their performance.  The results of your child’s reading test does not, with absolute certainly, point you to the correct reader. But hopefully it will confirm what you’re already thinking and help you with the decision.

Use your best judgement and think probability, not certainty.

That’s the tip of the week!

Curt Bumcrot, MRE

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