Trust The Children

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Rubber Meets the Road - Child #5

Memories and ideas are nice. Biography can be better. In this post, our #5 child, Jennifer shares how the home schooling choice impacted her life. Jennifer is currently attending Brigham Young University on Scholarship, teaches Mandarin Chinese, and serves as President of the Women's organization at church.

Personal Observations on Home Schooling by Jennifer Weiss - Age 23

The largest outcome of my homeschooling experience was my personal conviction of who I am, why I am here and what I can become or accomplish. Being at home, basic moral principles were easily taught and understood at a young age when challenging outside influences can often dissuade children to alternate beliefs. Mother's constant reminder of her love and confidence in me supplied great support to my growing self-esteem. When I did enter the public school system and begin to experience peer pressure and moral inquiry, my foundation of who I was and what I could accomplish provided a pillar to hold on to. I was not as affected by the common pressures found at school because of the foundation of self-esteem that was carefully built in my home.

As a homeschooler, I had no teacher dictating my time or assignments. Instead, childlike curiosity and desire to learn motivated me to read and understand the world I was a part of. While this style of learning was exhilarating, it also required a great deal of discipline. I had certain assignments and subjects that need to be studied each day, but I didn’t have a teacher looking over my shoulder and demanding a task be done. Most of the time I learned because I wanted to and the remaining part of the time because finishing my daily school subjects was a prerequisite to going outside and playing with siblings. I learned to manage my time and set goals for myself. My sister and I would decide to wake up at six in the morning to finish our school by nine and have the rest of the day to play. I started placing a great value on organization, setting goals and accomplishing them. It was exciting for me to achieve goals just because of the sheer pleasure one receives from overcoming natural tendencies to be lazy and waste time. I believe time is precious and not to be misused. At the end of each day I still strive to have the feeling that I used every minute to come closer to my dreams and goals. My current habits of discipline, planning, and goal setting stem from personal control fostered in a homeschooling environment at a very young age.

Our method of homeschooling is not what most people think of when they hear that word. My father believes that the work of children is play until they are about twelve years old. Children are naturally curious and when left to follow their own interests will learn many things at their own pace. I got very interested in math at one point and jumped ahead two math levels in one year. Another time I was interested in history and the social sciences and consequently spent most of my day pouring over history books and journals. The pattern goes on and on with astronomy, zoology, and engineering. I could do this because I was allowed the flexibility to follow my interests and excel at my own rate, which was usually pretty fast when motivated by my curiosity. Consequently I have continued to follow my interests over and over again in my scholastic career. I get interested and then I study and excel. I know I can understand and do well at any topic because I have done it over and over again in my life. My interests and talents continue to be broad and many as I continue to try new things. This ideology brought about my belief in dreams and any one person’s ability to accomplish that which they put their heart and might into.
Homeschooling left me always in the company of my mother and ten siblings. We were regularly on field trips and attending activities together. We developed strong bonds that did not leave me wanting. Socially I was confronted with multiple types of personalities just within my own family but also had many opportunities to interact with other children in homeschool support and field trip groups. I was naturally outgoing and interested in making friends but not so dependent on them for support because I had a strong support group within my family. I always knew my parents and siblings were there to help me and would always love me, an assurance not so easily found among fickle friendships outside the home. As a result, I greatly value my family relationships and continue to spend the time to deepen them. After all, it is with family that we are promised an opportunity to spend eternity. Eternal relationships are worth working hard for. When faced with increasing divorce statistics and broken families, it is easy to place trust is other relationships. I’ve learned however, that even when things are rough, they are worth working through. My home schooling family has given me the faith and experience to work through family problems and make my future family an eternal one.


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