It’s been four years since I rescued my daughter from the public school system. In those four years, we’ve come to understand how she learns, how she studies, how she struggles and how she excels. We’ve accomplished so much in these four years that a craving for more has filled us. I say ‘us’ because watching her learn this way has increased my desire to learn, to research, to find new evidence rather than rely on old assertions. A wonderful by-product of homeschooling is the ability for children to think for themselves and to form their own opinions based on a multitude of information from a wide variety of sources.
Daughter and I agree on some basic principles of life. However, there are areas in which we heartily disagree. I am forever floored by her ability to debate her view without resorting to the kind of mudslinging and finger pointing we so often see these days. I chalk that up to a well-read mind. One of confidence and poise. While she’s always shown this kind of silent confidence, I feel homeschooling has permitted her to nurture it. We’ve given her a safe environment in which to express her views – one where she will not be mocked, bullied or ignored but encouraged to share and expand on her thoughts.
As you can see, I am proud of my little girl – who is no longer so little. But now, I must start to let go, let her soar without me. Let her venture into a new experience where, hopefully, she will remain as poised and confident as she is now.
I’m speaking of her college years.
She is not quite 16, yet she is one subject away from completing her high school education. She is eager to begin college in the fall and we have been gathering information about that from all sides. One wonderful source of information for us has been from Kweller Prep. If this sounds like a plug for this learning center, then so be it. Point is, we knew very little about the process of preparing and applying to college before speaking with the people there. If you are in the New York City area, I highly recommend a consultation with them as they offer a range of assistance from tutoring to tests prep to finding scholarships to completing college applications and more.
Naturally, when it comes to homeschooling, there is a huge amount of information out there. Much of it is contradictory – with one side saying quality SAT scores are the be-all, end-all of college acceptance while the other side declares testing of any sort is of no consequence. Of course, the truth lies somewhere in between, and even then, morphs depending on the college of choice.
We are unsure where to go from here. Still looking into our options, my daughter feels confident that taking the SAT’s can’t hurt, while emphasizing her homeschool experience will enhance her appeal.
I will admit I was quite concerned about her entire education being reduced to a single test score. I am still uncomfortable with the idea. A child’s learning should not be boiled down to something so subjective – and test scores are subjective in that they do not show an entire understanding but rather an ability or inability to perform on command.
So the adventure continues. Research, sift, research sift, then form your own plan. That’s been our way for the past four years and will be our way for the rest of our lives. It’s an exciting existence, always filled with new discoveries. New desires. New interest in that which comes next.
We’re not anti-establishment, nor are we the follow-in-line type. We’ve created our own rhythm and believe it to be in harmony with others. If Daughter takes the SAT’s she’ll study properly, with help from a learning center like Kweller Prep. When she applies to college, she will stress her independence, her ability to motivate herself to learn and her interest in what others have to say.
If I sound proud of her, it’s because I am. And I am more than a little teary-eyed to have had the opportunity to watch her bloom while living fully in classroom that is this world.