Today I wanted to write something encouraging for home-educating parents. You know, something that might lighten your load, put a spring in your step, or otherwise make your day a little brighter.
Then I had a thought: Why not ask one of my daughters to encourage you? I mean, sometimes hearing things from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, is the very best solution. Why not ask one of my self-educating students to share whatever is on her heart to share in the way of encouragement?
So I will now turn over authorship of this post to Adrienne, a 14 year old who has been raised in a culture of self-learning. And one who is preparing to head back to “formal” schooling a few days from now. I hope you will find her words to be encouraging to you as a parent at the start of a new year! Oh, and here is a pic of Adrienne on Lauren’s wedding day about a month ago.
Hi! 🙂 This is Adrienne Calderwood, child number six and daughter number three. I’m 14 years old, and I’ll be starting 9th grade this semester. Kudos to you if you’ve started your school year already, and if you haven’t, well…. Neither have I. 😉
I just wanted to take a few minutes and encourage you to keep on going with your home educating ventures. I’d like parents to know that it is absolutely OKAY to let your kids go free with their education. It really is!!
I’ve been doing my own work for years and it’s turned out very, very well. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to try and learn while my parents were hovering over me, not letting me do anything by myself. And this semester is going to be even more busy than last semester for me, because for one thing, I’m starting high school and my subjects are getting more challenging, and two, I’m continuing to take piano lessons and am starting cello this weekend.
So you can see how difficult it would be to get all my work done on time if my parents were hovering over me, making me go at their speed while they had three other students to teach.
I can do work at any time of day: I can start science right after I finish math. I don’t have to wait for my mom or dad to have the time to “teach” me, I can do it MY way, and I can do it better because I have the motivation, time, energy, and the expectations to get it done.
Of course, I’ve never been to public school, so I can’t fairly compare the two; I have, however, been a part of a homeschool co-op. It was fun to get up on Friday mornings and go to a building full of other homeschoolers and take classes and socialize, *ahem ;)* but I couldn’t stand the pace that was set. Doing everything together as a class drove me insane! I could have learned five times as much in half the time, and there were kids who needed to slow down and take more time to learn. The thing was, we were all forced to move at the same pace, and that is totally disregarding everyone’s learning abilities.
I believe that all kids are smart; that they all have potential. I believe that all kids have a spark inside them that, when ignited, can light up the world.
The thing is, when you’re forced to submit to someone else’s pace, or when you’re forced to be around kids who try to squander your self esteem and self image, and when you’re failing your classes because you can’t take the time you need to learn, that spark gets squashed.
By self educating, I have always been able to learn at my own speed because I’m not trying to catch up to anyone. I’m not in danger of being left behind by my peers. I love school because I know I can do it, and do it well. I have no fear of math, I understand science, I’m an avid reader and writer, and I’m firm in my faith in the Lord.
All this is because I’m motivated to learn. I WANT to learn. I WANT to be able to get an A in math.
I wouldn’t have the views I have now if my parents were helicopter-parents, so to speak. I’m given expectations and the trust needed to achieve them. I also have time for all things I love to do- I have time for music, I have time to read, and I have time to do anything I want.
I don’t know how hard it is to let go as a parent, but I do know how easy it is for the student. I promise that giving your students the right amount of trust in their lives will motivate them to do it on their own. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t dread heading off to college and not knowing where to look if I can’t figure something out. I’ve been given an amazing tool by my parents- the ability to learn. Without it we cannot hope to accomplish anything. I haven’t been taught what to learn, just how to learn, and that is invaluable. I’m incredibly grateful to my parents and to the Lord for blessing me so amazingly much, and I know that I have been freely given, so should I freely give.
I hope reading this has encouraged you to not give up; to give your children expectations and trust and watch them take off. I promise it’s worth the hardships that come with letting go.