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The Joy of Childhood and the Joy of Learning

Melissa posted this on Facebook today and I wanted to post it here as a reminder that when we homeschool, we have to keep the big picture in mind. What do you want your kids to say when they look back? My guiding principle was to maintain the joy childhood and the joy of learning. She's 20 years old now:

A lot of Facebook posts are about how being a grown-up sucks, or how we all rushed to grow up and now regret it, etc. I feel very fortunate to say that I don't regret the pace at which I grew up, or feel like I missed out on anything. Quick shout out to my mom for homeschooling me, because I was able to explore the world and be a kid while everyone else was stuck in a classroom. So thanks ma, because of you I will forever be a kid and have an INSANE love of learning. — with Jena Borah.

I just found this TED Talk from a 13 year old student who has been freed from public school to follow his interests and his learning style. Love it! Also, check out Sir Ken Robinson for more reasons why interest-led learning makes so much sense.

What the Kids Think About All This
I've been writing at Simple Homeschool for a few years, but today is my last post. I asked Peter, Meg and Missa to give their reflections and advice for homeschooling parents. It's pretty fun to hear what they think after living it!

Here's the article: Homeschooling advice from graduates who have been there

And if you want to read all my posts on Simple Homeschool, you can find them here.

Peter in Corporate America

Peter and Missa last summer
My previous posts have been about my two girls, so now it's Peter's turn.

Now that my kids are adults, I don't want to write too much about their lives because, well, it's their lives and privacy matters. But Peter is cool with me talking about his homeschooling experience and how it has influenced his life out in the "real world."

He graduated from college in 2012 and spent his first year working at a job that paid the bills but was not what he wanted long-term. During that year, he taught himself computer programming, volunteered evenings at a small company to gain experience, and started interviewing for software development jobs. As it turns out, in this tech hungry world, you don't need a degree in computer science to land a job in the field, you just need to show you have what it takes.

After a few interviews last summer, one company offered him an incredible opportunity in downtown Chicago and he has been working there ever since. All I can say is WOW. Wow, Peter, wow.

He says being an unschooler has been his advantage. He learned how to learn, how to go after something from nothing and build it. He was tired of college telling him what to read and what to study. When he was free, he set his sights on a new career, researched what he needed to do and did it.

He has met one other unschooler at his new job, and this guy is not so positive about his experiences at home. Peter thinks it's because he didn't have as many chances to get out and explore like we did. I thought that was interesting. It is true, successful unschooling needs opportunities.

Imagine a child sitting in an empty room. There isn't much to explore or learn there, even though he is innately curious and intelligent. He needs a library and the whole outside world to explore and find what he loves. Then he needs experts to advise and teach what else he needs to know to build on the knowledge he has to keep growing and creating.

So, as moms at home, still in the middle of homeschooling, let me encourage you to relax as you watch and listen to your children. Take them to new places and see how they respond. Ask them what they wish they could do. Help them become their best selves. Let them become experts at what they love and to enter adulthood with a love for the process. This will increase everyone's joy (believe me!) and carry your children into the future with the confidence and skills they need to succeed.

For you moms with techie kids, Peter started here in learning programming: (Peter did the free version)

He says, "They work well together, so I recommend starting both of them and switching back and forth whenever you start to get frustrated/bored/confused." Spoken like a true unschooler.

Meg in Art School

Meg went to India the year she would have been a junior in college. When she came back, she realized she wanted to be an art student, and perhaps, eventually an art therapist. She had been in Family and Consumer Sciences, so that, along with psychology, are her minors.

She just loves art classes. It's a dream come true.

She drew this man from a picture. You can see a bit of the original taped to the side. Her skills have taken off with just a little bit of training. Drawing is relaxing and invigorating for her. She is happier than I have seen her in a long time.

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At 8:55am on May 29, 2008, Jena said…

I went to Ravelry and found 48 people doing this sock. They've posted pictures and comments. I can see that the top few rows curl. And I can see that a rib is not exactly what you want. How about a seed stitch? or even a garter stitch. Those two would blend more with the overall effect and they would lay flat.
At 8:05am on May 29, 2008, Vicki said…
Thanks for the advice on that sock cuff I asked you about. It is a Knit Picks pattern that I downloaded. The cuff is not rib at all; but, it has very nice diamond pattern lace to make it a little more dressy. The sock is actually started with 4 rows of knit (I'm using 5 dpn's). I could email you the pattern in an attachment so that you could figure this one out.
At 5:36pm on May 28, 2008, Vicki said…
It's always amazing to know that the world is really a small place! Sounds like your family has a rich history in this area. Fritz's drug store is still in Staunton! As a matter of fact, I was just there yesterday to pick up a prescription for my husband.

This was my first year teaching in Staunton. I'm employed there are a Title 1 language arts teacher for kindergarten and first grades. Prior to that point, I had been a classroom teacher in North County, St. Louis. Staunton is such a nice place to work and this year has truly been a blessing. It's much closer to home, also.

Thanks for explaining where your town is located. I'm still learning Illinois geography!

I have a knitting question for you. I'm making a pair of socks right now from the Knit Pick pattern "Girl's Best Friend Socks". It is a cuff down sock. The cuff begins with 4 rows of knitting before beginning the diamond pattern on the band. My question is how to keep those initial rows from rolling up. I know that blocking it would help; but, I'm afraid of possibly stretching the band while trying to get those rows to lay flat. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

I am not familiar with "ravelry". What is it?

At 2:04pm on May 28, 2008, Vicki said…
Hi Jena,

I've lived in Mt. Olive for the past 3 years. My husband is originally from Staunton and that is where I teach. I'm originally from the East Coast and have been out here for 16 years now. I'm not familiar with Charleston, IL. Is that near Chicago?

What do you enjoy knitting? My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 7 years old. I also have a knitting machine and have mostly been knitting on that off and on for the past 18 years. It's only been in the past year that I've been drawn back into hand knitting. My quest last summer was to find a good mitten pattern. Then, I started knitting socks and truly love making them.

Thanks for saying "hi".


Profile Information

Central Illinois
About Me:
I've lived in Central Illinois most of my life, met my husband in college and have been happily married ever since.

I learned to knit in college from a philosophy professor. She loved Elizabeth Zimmermann, so I learned her methods and bought her books. That kept me knitting for about 20 years until I discovered knitting on the Internet. One day I decided to search for affordable wool yarn, and that's how I met Knit Picks and started Chapter 2 of my knitting adventure. Chapter 3 started when I discovered Ravelry. Now I'm in Chapter 4, on the road to becoming a Master Knitter through The Knitting Guild of America. I'm blogging my journey, so if you want to know more, click on my blog below.

When I'm not knitting, I'm helping my husband with our non-profit organization and raising three teenagers. One will head off to college in the fall, another is home schooled, and the third will start full time public high school next fall. Times they are a changin'.
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