Long, long ago when we were young and naive, my husband and I tried to plan our children’s lives. Specifically, we were considering how long we would homeschool. Elementary school was a given. We value childhood and the freedom, play, and individualized education that homeschool allows. Junior High is generally not the most fun social experience, and my husband wanted me to homeschool through that. By high school we thought maybe the children could be a part of the decision-making process.
As the little people grew and we watched them learn so naturally and wonderfully, we considered college. After study and research we decided they could go to a junior college, starting half way through their junior year. We could help them negotiate the transition to an actual classroom and they could earn enough credits between their junior and senior years to be a transfer student to a four year college. Junior college credits and ACT or SAT scores would provide the experience a college would want.
We’ve semi-confidently spouted this plan to those who asked. We’ve heard of other young people who have followed this plan and successfully gone on to graduate from college.
Then our children grew up.
Our first child decided not to go to high school because she wouldn’t have enough time to read. She set a goal her freshman year to read 100 books. She was done in 3 months. She has definitely read! She started junior college on our theoretical schedule, in the middle of her junior year. There wasn’t really this strenuous transition to an actual classroom. She then decided to continue at a community college, instead of going on to a four-year university right now, so she can save money for a mission.
Child number two looked quite seriously at high school, but decided she wouldn’t have enough time to write if she went. She has written four books. She has decided to NOT attend junior college at all. She will instead prepare for ACTs and is hoping to attend college starting the middle of what would be her senior year.
Child number three has decided to go to high school. He did a ton of research and preparation on his own to get there. We don’t take education decisions lightly. This is his plan for his education and he’s having a great time. I’m still adjusting.
Now I know from other parenting issues that all of the skills I gain from parenting one child are seldom applicable to another child. Their plans not only don’t correspond with the plan we initially made, they aren’t always what we would choose now that we’re here. I’ve made suggestions and encouraged. So far, my advice has been taken only rarely. It’s a side effect of raising children to think independently.
Having a child go to public school has been a curiosity to all of us. We’ve marveled at the paper work. We’ve all had to adjust to the schedule. I had assumptions. I assumed I would at least be making lunches. I forgot that this son has been trained to make his own lunches for other adventures and he had assumed that would apply to school as well. I may or may not slip in an occasional love note with the pile of food he requires to sustain him through the day. I assume you kiss your child goodbye before you send them to school for the first time, even, or perhaps precisely when that child is almost 6ft tall. He’s stronger than me, so we negotiated on the kiss. He asked his college-aged sister for advice on what he would need. I tried to be as nonchalant as possible through this process. I definitely do NOT have the emotional range of a teaspoon. I am excited, scared, nervous, and hopeful. I have felt like I failed him and also was amazingly successful at getting him here. I’ve remembered major educational milestones and pondered his birth. I’m going to miss him horribly around the house.
We chose homeschool partially so we could meet each child’s unique educational needs. We have enjoyed allowing them to learn on their own schedule. I just didn’t know how far that individuality would carry them.
It appears we will have ten different educational plans, one for each child. I’m interested in what they will be! I hope I like their plans!
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.