How does mastery-based learning work for my child’s benefit at Christiana?
Keeping up with material in mastery-based subjects does many things for your child:
- Helps them to be able to follow along with instruction in class that assumes prior knowledge, rather than feeling “lost”
- Prevents students from having to spend a lot of time reviewing past material, making it more likely that they will be able to complete their work within the amount of time listed in the Homework Scheduling Chart
- Makes it possible for CHA classes to provide a thorough education for all students, rather than always reviewing the same introductory-level material
- Allows tutors of each subjects to assume knowledge from other subjects, so that the student comes to see how all Truth is interrelated
At Christiana, we provide structure and curriculum for parents homeschooling their children in the classical tradition. We as parents have the benefit of the tremendous amount of support that Christiana provides. However, in order to provide that support without charging the high hourly rate needed to provide a private tutor, CHA must group students into classes. This keeps your tuition low, and also provides a strong community setting where learning can occur collaboratively while students build relationships and close friendships.
But students don’t all learn at the same rate. How can I make the group setting at CHA work for us, while still ensuring that my child can be met at his or her own level?
While CHA’s structure doesn’t allow for classes to tailor the pace to every individual student’s needs, this is impossible in any group instructional setting. However, parents know their children best. CHA’s flexible 2-day schedule allows parents to take advantage of the longer periods of time they have to dedicate to homeschooling, building strong relationships while providing the type of individualized instruction that is essential to a classical education. Parents are in the best position to take the role of private tutors at home, meeting their children exactly where they are while also making sure that they are building the knowledge and skills needed to continue to benefit from the curriculum at CHA. Additionally, for many of our subjects, different levels are available to help ensure a good fit for each student.
Do all CHA classes require mastery?
While all CHA classes require participation and effort, and all students are expected to show growth, not every CHA subject is structured in the same way. While standards are important, there are higher goals. First and foremost, we seek to structure our classes in such a way that an education at Christiana will train the affections to love what is Good, True, and Beautiful- and thus to love God. Within some subjects, this is impossible to do without mastery-based learning; a student who can’t engage in the subject at the level it is being taught can hardly learn to love what is Good in it.
However, many subjects at CHA are structured so as to allow a student to “jump in” at any point, without needing to have mastered prior knowledge or information to follow along. We use minimum academic standards only in areas where the subject matter truly can’t be taught in a group setting without them.
This is Part 2 of 3- stay tuned for next week’s Board Bit: “We are going over the time recommended in the Homework Scheduling Chart. What can I do?” and “My child says that the work is difficult. Does this mean that we’re not a good fit at CHA?”