Stunt actor, criminal justice student, and flutist – what do they all have in common? They’re my kids, and they are all K-12 graduates of our home school. Homeschooling those children was a privilege and a joy, especially as I learned to relax and let them be who they are rather than let my fears and anxiety about my turning out three little academic wonders take over our goal of preparing our children for their futures.
We are an adoptive family, with three children each two years apart, none related genetically to each other. So I was already well aware that surprises were in store as we grew together in our family, seeing each others personalities emerge. But that’s no different from any other family, biologically related or not, as every mom knows. The trick for me was getting the knowledge from my head to my heart that these kids were not so much a reflection of me and my homeschooling efforts as they were unique individuals needing to have their passions and strengths supported and affirmed, and their weaknesses accepted and helped.
My oldest, an action man, loved to listen to, make up, act out, even write and illustrate - stories. Like many boys, he wasn’t “reading by the time he was three” as so many of my friends bragged of their girls. He was doing just fine in his schoolwork, and I had heard much in the home school community about letting boys be boys, allowing them to progress at their own pace. Thankfully for me, he was my first student. All was cool. He was easy.
My middle child was not easy. As the years went on, we realized that my daughter had perceptual problems that were interfering with her ability to retain what she had previously learned – auditory processing disorder, they call it. It’s often very difficult to diagnose, much less to correct, as these children are usually very bright “picture-thinkers,” who can score ridiculously high on standardized tests, but have problems ranging from dyslexia to carrying out simple instructions. I learned that this wasn’t about me, but about helping her to succeed.
I was spending so much effort and time focusing on helping this child, that I had to remind myself to give time to my youngest, who quietly did her work, hesitating to call on busy Mom, whether she needed my help with her lessons or not. Academics came easily to her: she worked hard, wrote beautifully, tested well – but her gifts and passion were music. Learning to support both her academic and musical gifts became the focus for this child
They each are now pursuing their passions. My son left his film studies in an exclusive arts college after his first year in order to pursue stunt acting. Peek into the wild life of a stuntman on his website. Scary for Mom and Dad? Yes, but his reasons were based on his understanding of the field. Is he struggling? Yes, and we pray for him every day. Does he love what he is doing? Yes. Will he succeed? Time will tell.
My second is pursuing criminal justice studies in forensics at the local community college. She takes a somewhat lighter load than the typical 5-course load, works hard, and made the Dean’s List this past fall, her first semester in college. How do I feel about her pursuing this area? Nervous that my tiny, sweet daughter is going into such a field, and yet, admiration for her hard work and dedication.
My youngest is studying flute performance at the school of her choice after being offered scholarships from four very fine conservatories. Making music with others is her passion and her joy. Will she be able to make a living doing this? I hope so, and I am very proud of her.
As these kids were going through their high school years, my homeschool mentor, Lee Binz, helped me realize that seeing their individuality and capitalizing on this as well as their strengths and passions was the ticket to helping each of them gain entry into their next chapter of life. I am so thankful for the instruction, solid support, and mentorship that the HomeScholar provided to me as I went through the process of ensuring that their high school years were college preparatory for each of them, as well as preparing unique and beautiful homeschool records for each as they sought college entry. Lee made a potentially overwhelming task totally do-able. I will never regret the last twenty or so years of watching three precious ones become adults. The next twenty should be interesting.
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I love this! So encouraging. It's fascinating too looking back at my own childhood, even though I was not homeschooled. I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. Well, guess what. Haha! Guiding my children, seeing their strengths and teaching to those unique abilities is such a privilege.
I'm with you! I'm thankful for the privilege of homeschooling! I love the individuals that my children are growing into.
Assistant to The HomeScholar
Mary, I would love to know more about how you helped your middle daughter. My oldest was diagnosed with auditory processing with off the chart visual spatial relation and she too consumes most of my time.