Nutty Homeschool Parents?

After this year’s National Spelling Bee, someone asked me, “What kind of a crazy parent has their child spell nutty words all day?” The great kind of parent! The kind of parent that allows their child to follow their interests, EVEN when it involves spelling nutty words all day!


I have had the privilege of speaking to some parents of magnificently gifted teens. Geography Bee winners, Spelling Bee winners, nationally recognized students with outstanding accomplishments. Each parent told me the same thing. There are people "out there" who think they can force their child into excellence. I suppose it's possible to force a child into excellence. I actually think it's far more common for parents to ALLOW their child to excel, and then get accused of forcing them.

My friend the National Geography Bee Champion studied geography for fun all the time. She would rather do that than almost anything else,  although she is a very well-rounded kid. She could play a musical instrument, did great in art and science and writing. I have to say that her overwhelming characteristic had nothing to do with academics - she was one of the most charming and well-liked kids I've met. Perhaps some people presumed that Mom and Dad were force-feeding her facts, and that led to the unsavory feedback. The people who expressed their objections did not know the child, the family, or the situation.

Not everyone has a child with a burning interest in something. But please understand, some children DO have a deeply rooted longing for....  something nutty. For me, I suffered through a child who studied chess all day. I had another child who studied economics all day. Not every child is like that, I'm sure. But when a child IS like that, then it's the parent's job to fan the flames, and encourage them and support them in their interests.

Encouraging the unique pursuits of a child is one of the best parts about homeschooling. It can help them to learn academics, but more importantly it can help them learn about themselves. Do they want to study that in college? Can they make a career out of it? Do they feel "done" with that endeavor, and don't want to continue? These are great things that kids are learning. It's one reason why homeschooling can provide the best college and career preparation. As students get these unique and passionate interests, even in things like nutty spelling words, they can better learn about what they  want to do with their life.

And to those of you who DO have a child with a strange or alien interest, take heart! I suffered through it, and I have talked to others who have trudged through it as well. You can do it!



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Comments 4

Guest - Happy Elf Mom (website) on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 04:35

Hi! Followed Luke's link here. So happens I have a nutty chess kid myself. We're doing the tournament thing etc. and WOW there ARE some pushy parents. There are also quite a few kids who just love chess because it is a great way to meet others and play together.

Hi! Followed Luke's link here. So happens I have a nutty chess kid myself. We're doing the tournament thing etc. and WOW there ARE some pushy parents. There are also quite a few kids who just love chess because it is a great way to meet others and play together. :)
Guest - J W on Saturday, 30 July 2011 21:13

One of my children is very accomplished at crocheting (in some areas surpassing the great-grandmother who taught her) and has ribbons from the state fair to prove it. This child also is gifted in poetry, short story, and essay writing, and has state fair ribbons to prove it. These ribbons include a sprinkling of "Best in Category" and one "Grand Champion." She's been entering these competitions for six years.

At least one person thinks I'm nutty because this child is "not doing anything." As in music or sports.

My other child - a "challenged" student - has for several years shown every sign of being completely suited for a career as an animator and/or storyboard artist. Because of this child's many challenges, many people make snap judgments, but I happen to think this child does have a hope for a career in spite of, well, everything.

What it boils down to is do you believe in your child, or do you follow the crowd?

One of my children is very accomplished at crocheting (in some areas surpassing the great-grandmother who taught her) and has ribbons from the state fair to prove it. This child also is gifted in poetry, short story, and essay writing, and has state fair ribbons to prove it. These ribbons include a sprinkling of "Best in Category" and one "Grand Champion." She's been entering these competitions for six years. At least one person thinks I'm nutty because this child is "not doing anything." As in music or sports. My other child - a "challenged" student - has for several years shown every sign of being completely suited for a career as an animator and/or storyboard artist. Because of this child's many challenges, many people make snap judgments, but I happen to think this child does have a hope for a career in spite of, well, everything. What it boils down to is do you believe in your child, or do you follow the crowd?
Guest - Alice Kate (website) on Friday, 29 July 2011 14:27

One of my favorite things about being homeschooled is being able to learn more about what I want to learn. I really love writing and want to be a newspaper reporter. For school, I wrote my own newspaper and even interviewed one of my favorite reporters. That turned out a whole lot different than I thought it would!

One of my favorite things about being homeschooled is being able to learn more about what I want to learn. I really love writing and want to be a newspaper reporter. For school, I wrote my own newspaper and even interviewed one of my favorite reporters. That turned out a whole lot different than I thought it would!
Guest - Laura Stein on Friday, 29 July 2011 08:16

This is funny to me. Why would a parent make their child spell nutty words all day? Why would a child want to sit and read the dictionary for fun in her free time? Got me! But I have a child who did it. She loved it! She's since moved on to other things. But when you have a determined, bright child, it's best to get out of her way and let her do her thing. Mine is 17 and teaching violin and piano and preparing for a career as a violinist or violin teacher.......somewhere in the world.

This is funny to me. Why would a parent make their child spell nutty words all day? Why would a child want to sit and read the dictionary for fun in her free time? Got me! But I have a child who did it. She loved it! She's since moved on to other things. But when you have a determined, bright child, it's best to get out of her way and let her do her thing. Mine is 17 and teaching violin and piano and preparing for a career as a violinist or violin teacher.......somewhere in the world.
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