Monday, January 20, 2014

Race To The Finish Line

I can't believe I haven't blogged on this since October 2012! What have I been doing? Oh yeah, surviving, learning, teaching, being, growing, backsliding, experimenting. Yeah, surviving. DD Phee is half way through 9th grade. Her interests and talents are emerging. This means once again I question all that we're learning or trying to shove in her brain that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Each day I question the validity of impending college requirements and if we should even 'require' or push her in that direction. Each day I think God is saying 'slow down, one day at a time'. I'm not good with one day at a time.

Last night I was having some pains. I googled them to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. I wasn't of course but it sure felt like it. Most likely gas, right?! lol But while trying to go to sleep, I was planning in my head what needed to happen if I did have a heart attack. I'd need to make sure someone grabbed my bra and socks. I tried to remember the meds or vitamins I take regularly so I could tell the nurse. It's not that I'm a paranoid. I'm just a 'here's a problem, what needs to be done about it in sometimes great detail' planner. Okay, this sounds funny typing this since I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person as well. Is that possible? This is probably why I overthink Phee's schooling or lack there of and worry about her schooling future. I'm conflicted.

On the one hand I'm thinking, it's already January and we haven't gotten anywhere in American History this year! I need to throw together a curriculum plan to finish it up in 14 weeks! Race to the finish of 9th grade! On the other hippy mama hand I counter with 'what does she even need American history for? She loves art and music and writing. She's learning guitar, piano and drums. She's writing a book about Doctor Who as a kid. She loves words, looks up definitions and plays word games all the time. She's teaching herself how to write music. Last night she was in the art studio inventing and spray painting and drawing. Why muck all that ambition up with learning by rote?'

I read this interesting article by Matt Walsh today that someone posted on Facebook. He talks about not being college material. I so agree with this line of thinking! Not that my 2nd child has struggles with schooling. It's more an application problem with her, attention to drudgery; unlike my older daughter who worked extremely hard but felt like she would never get anywhere. I understand there are kids whose choice of career warrants a college education and beyond: lawyer, doctor, microbiologist, engineer, architect. But what about the musicians, the writers, the artists, the inventors, the chefs? Can't these skills be just as easily learned and earned through books and classes (but not necessarily a degree), experimentation and apprenticeship? What harm are we causing in placing an expectation of 'you have to get a degree or you'll never amount to anything?' This thinking will not work for everyone, in fact it might backfire on us. Quashing creativity has only gotten us more drones in the workforce. Those who go against the grain are the inventors, the dreamers, the impossibles. I'm using a computer, a phone and an Ipad invented by the company started by a man who never finished college, Steve Jobs. This is not to say I don't have high hopes and goals for my child. Slacking will not get you anywhere, unless your goal is McDonald's fry cook. And even then slacking can get you burnt or fired. But creativity is monumentally important. Have you listened to this TED talk by Ken Robinson? It's a must!

I think my goal as a parent is to equip her to be able to go to college if that is her desire; make sure she has a basic to advanced understanding of english, math, reading comprehensively (even if we never learned additional information over these subjects, which we will, she will have a leg up on many a public school child.) However, I will not require it of her. As long as she is always learning, has a plan to move forward and not a plan to live on my couch in front of a TV for the rest of her life, I'm good with that.

Linking to Monday's Homestead Barn Hop, Homeschool Link Up & Hip Homeschool Hop.



Lucinda @ said...

Well said! I completely agree. I love the pic of your daughter playing guitar. I have an artistic guitar player too. Isn't it great how homeschooling gives them time to fully explore their creativity?

I'm sure if my 10 year old was in school she'd be well down the path towards college even now (!) but as a former lawyer I'll be equally delighted if she chooses another path!

Tonia L said...

Great post! My daughter has a very artistic nature as well so who knows what the future brings.

I think the college trend of today is very overrated and, with the expenses, it's only a matter of time before that bubble bursts.

I'd rather my daughter pursue her interests.

Anyway, I loved your post!

Lisa Nelson said...

Welp. You gotta do what you think is right.

You know, I have thought and thought about this very question. I attended a very good New England College and then went on to an ivy for graduate school - and where has it gotten me? Taking care of my kids and blogging.

However, I must say that even though I'm not working in the field, college has helped me to see the world through a different set of eyes. I think it's the experiences and friendships that are made that are important.

And yes, it help to have a degree from a good college or university. The way our world is going, a high school diploma is not enough. It really isn't.

This is very personal - but I believe that you give your children every single opportunity - and then they can decide what to do with the opportunities that are given. It's their life, they should be the ones who make the choice.

The more reading of homeschool blogs and the more I interact with homeschoolers, the more i see that people are not seeing college as important. Maybe it's the way i have been brought up - or how hard my mother worked to put me through a very expensive and good school - but it really is essential. Sorry. I just can't lie to you about how I feel.

Hope you are not mad.

Of course there are all kind of colleges. RISD (The Rhode Island School of Design) is very good. If your kids are design minded, what a good choice for them. Or maybe Hampshire. It's a hippy school in Amherst Massachusetts. They have no requirements. The kids - do you say it? Are very creative.

Of course there is Julliard.

There are a lot of options. Don't limit yourself to Harvard or your small town podunk Community College. There are so many wonderful options and opportunities out there.

Lisa Nelson said...

Now that I have totally offended you and made an outcast of myself, I wanted to thank you so much for linking up with us at the #homeschoollinkup

I really do hope you come back and linkup next week.

Contessa Kris said...

Lisa, in no way did you offend me! That's the beauty of homeschooling. We each can have different ideas. I'm a traditional learner. I've always maintained that college is necessary. It's only recently that I've started to shift my thinking, tailoring it more towards how my children learn. It's so hard to know what's best. But we will continue to cover the subjects so she can go into college if that is her plan. Next year she plans to take a drawing course at the local college. I also plan to have her take more classes there over the coming years, so who knows what will become of that. Thanks for sharing your opinions. I loved the chance to learn something new.

sara said...

Highschool is such a balancing act! It tough making certain the kids have enough credits to go on to college if they choose but also have enough time to focus on their loves and hobbies. One of my highschooler designed his own social studies course so he could devote time to a passion yet earn a credit at the same time. Have you considered allowing your dd to design her own social studies course?

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