~ Self-learning College Students? ~

September 26, 2008

I thought you may be interested to hear what happens when self-learners go to college!

Well, two at least. I recently interviewed/grilled Nick and Lauren (our two oldest kids) about their respective college experiences thus far because I get asked frequently how they are doing. I have some really encouraging news for those who are wondering if self-learning works, if mastery learning works in the big picture.

Nick is a sophomore this year. He survived year number one in the honors college at Belmont University. He ended last year with a GPA just a hair under a 4.0.

Last year Nick’s biggest shock was probably how much busy work he had to do – how much work there was which was not related to anything he thought he was interested in learning, which is so different than homeschool where you can choose your areas of study pretty much once you have covered the basics. But the stretch has been good for him, and I know he would agree. We still tease him about the paper he had to write on Ancient Mesopotamian Pottery.  Logic meets culture.

Nick says, “If I hadn’t been in the honors program, I wouldn’t have been challenged much at all. My non-honors classes were extremely easy for me.”

In essence, he worked hard for his grades in the honors classes, and interestingly enough, those were the classes he found the most “irrelevant” such as “Ancient World History,” and a couple others I can not remember at the moment but were equally related to the Humanities. His major is Music Business Law, a brand new major that he has been allowed to create there at Belmont. (site of the final presidential debate in October, btw.)

To summarize his first year in college as well as his transition from homeschool grad to college student, Nick says it was “amazing, exciting, interesting and boring.” So much for the details.

Just a funny little footnote to Nick’s classes this year: he is taking Elementary Statistics, a required course, and he says that they literally are doing stuff he did in the 6th grade. Just to make it interesting he has decided NOT to use a calculator for the duration of the class and spends in-class time challenging himself in this way just to stay awake. The professor knows he is doing this. (and is watching him in amusement, I am sure. LOL)

Lauren is a freshman, and has been on campus for about 7 weeks now. Initially I think she was a little overwhelmed at the change in environment. Her laptop got injured the first week, and she was without it for about 3 weeks which would be less than pleasant for any of us, right?

Due to her scholarship requirements, she has to maintain a 3.75 GPA, so college algebra seemed frightening until she actually took her first test. She got an A, and soon classmates were asking her for tutoring assistance. A girl on her floor also has asked Lauren to read through her English papers for her before she turns them in. Just as I tried to tell her, she is doing just fine. Funny how moms can seem so unbelievable at times simply because we are moms.

Lauren says she has been shocked at how much her fellow students don’t seem to care about their classes. This week less than half the class showed up for algebra, so the prof gave a pop quiz to benefit those who attended. The quiz was this, and yes, I am serious: 2+2 = ?

Lauren reports that in all of her classes she is one of very few who pay attention and contribute to the discussion. This apathy does not surprise me one bit, however, as that attitude is so prevalent in high schools that it is bound to carry over to the college scene. That is a topic for another post at another time.

If you have young children, middle school children, or even high school children, you can confidently introduce them to self-learning and watch them move more and more towards educational freedom – freedom from being told how much of what to do every day, and freedom to learn at a more rapid pace because mom’s schedule isn’t holding them back. Kids are so much more motivated when they are in as much control as possible over their daily school work.

I am kinda encouraged by the results we have had here in the Calderwood Laboratory so far. I share them to encourage you as well!




~ Luann ~

September 19, 2008

If you are a Luann Fann, you can visit this link for more laughs:


~ What’s on your Top Ten list? ~

September 19, 2008

I usually stick to matters of education, but as you will read below, I have been moved by some things recently which I just feel the need to put into words here.


I have visited two funeral homes in the past several days. Both funerals were for women who were almost 100 years old, one the mother and one the grandmother of people I love. These women lived long lives, and they were very much loved by their families. Both services were a tribute to the women and to the God that they served and with whom they now reside. I could blog a few pages on that thought alone.

I have been thinking more deeply than I normally do. (Uh-oh)

You and I may have a whole lot of differences in our backgrounds and viewpoints on this and that, but the one thing we have in common is that we are human. We have a beginning, and our life as we currently know it will have an end. While we tend to think and definitely hope that we will live long, fulfilling lives, there daily exists the possibility that today will be my day or your day to leave this planet. Them’s the facts.

Without being ghoulish, I just wish to remind myself and anyone else who may be reading these symbols we call words that time is short. What do you want most to accomplish in your time on earth?  What might be included in your “Top Ten List of Things to Accomplish in My Lifetime”?

I doubt that “Keep my house spotless” would make my list. Neither would “Make sure the lawn looks nice.” With that said, why do I still stress about my messy house today? Probably because I have been conditioned to think from this perspective. This needs to change.

Many of us homeschooling parents would probably say that one of our major goals in life is to raise up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Many parents, homeschooling or not, would say that is their goal, and this would be in my top ten list as well.

What makes your short list? Grab a pen and paper and give this some serious thought.

“See all my kids get into college.” “Prepare my children for a lifetime of service to ___________.” “Live to see my grandchildren.” “Become independently wealthy.” “Be the best at ________.”Just a few random ideas to get you started. What is it you wish to accomplish while you are on this side of eternity?

I ask you,  what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Mark 8:36) This is where my thoughts have been this week. This very verse.

I have a student who took the ACT this past Saturday. He diligently prepared, hoping to do his very best work in the time allotted. He told me he felt prepared academically; however, his problem, in his words, is that he often needs more time to finish the sections than he is actually given. That is a big problem on an ACT now, isn’t it? The time factor changes the game enormously!

I know I lose sight of the fact that I am not here forever. I am living a timed exam. So are you. This daily existence we call life is ultimately a test, and fortunately for us, it is open book. It does, however, have a ticking clock.

While studying and working diligently are commendable things to be teaching our kids, are we emphasizing being an excellent learner more than following Jesus with whole heart, mind, and soul?

Am I teaching my children what it means to follow Jesus through my own actions? Am I living what I want MOST for my children: to know that Jesus is the answer for every question they will ever have about life, love, and relationships?

Am I so focused on getting through a day’s school work that I miss the opportunities to incorporate worthy values, manners, and/ or attitudes in my children? Yes, I am guilty of running through the day, giving little heed or thought to the Big Picture. Some days I am just busy getting through the day, getting through until I can finally put my head down on the pillow, close my eyes, and breathe in quiet.

I am so thankful that I can start fresh every morning. I may have been off track for a while, but this day I can start fresh. I can begin anew to concentrate on those things that are most important and let go of those things that threaten the true goals of my very existence.

What is perhaps hindering you today from running your own race with discipline and effectiveness? Do you even know why you are on the course you are on? Do you need to change the course? Or maybe you are running full speed ahead, doing just the thing you know you are called to do. If so, don’t forget to offer out a hand to those who can use your help and who will be blessed by your focus along the way.

What will it profit our children to achieve academically but lose their souls?

I urge you this day to examine your heart, your motives, and your very reason for being. Tomorrow may be too late.

Kenny Chesney has a popular song out right now called “Everybody Want to go to Heaven (Nobody Wanna go Now)” Leave it to country music to say what folks really are thinking. It is a crummy message of a song, but the point is that we get so focused on the temporal that we lose sight of the real stuff going on in the realm of the everlasting.

As for me and my house, we will slow down and do the essential, not necessarily the urgent.

Enjoy your day today! Tick…tick…tick…tick…

~ Freebie Alert ~

September 2, 2008

I love to surf the Web and visit other people’s blogs. It is so cool to be able to see into other worlds and glean ideas and inspiration.

Here is a link to a blog that will inspire you. Take some time to look around on Jana’s site, and I know you will find some postings to encourage you wherever you are on your homeschooling journey.


The second freebie is a link sent to me from Jonathan Lewis, editor of Homeschool Enrichment magazine. If you click the link, you will be magically transported to a page where you can enter your e-mail address for a free 8-page report on self-teaching which will then be e-mailed to you. It is actually a compilation of a series of articles I wrote about a year ago for the magazine. One of the articles is by my daughter, Lauren, and is here on my blog, but the other two will be new to you.

Here’s the link for you:


I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day!I have promised to go outside and play volleyball with the troops. It looked so easy at the Olympics…

Thank you for stopping by.

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