I was browsing through Amazon this morning and a few books that my older two are reading caught my eye and I thought to myself: It is true – learning doesn’t stop just because my kids have graduated from highschool.
Josh and Jess have both ‘finished’ homeschooling but when your philosophy on education is life long learning, and that you desire to create a love of learning one wonders what that actually means. It does mean a change in season of life, a change in focus, a change in priorities but it doesn’t mean a change in having a desire to learn.
Not long after Joshua had started full time university studies he told me he wanted to learn Shorthand and had ordered a book so he could teach himself. I was a bit frustrated with him – “Why didn’t you talk to me about that! There are different types of Shorthand! How do you know you’ve chosen the right one?” (read this with a rant/rave tone!!) He calmly replied – “yeah, I know Mum. I checked it all out, and I chose this one for this and that reason” (Insert his reasons which I can’t remember right now). Suddenly I was confronted with the idea that I had taught him to research, think before he buys etc and he had just done the very thing I had taught him to do. He didn’t need me to make that decision for him – besides with his research he actually knew more about Shorthand than I did!
He has gone on and taught himself Shorthand. He practices it during sermons on Sunday, comes home and tries to translate his notes a few days later. He has been self motivated and self disciplined to learn this new skill. I would never ever have taught him shorthand during our homeschool years. For one, who does! And for two, who would have guessed he would have been interested or felt the skill was needed! But when he saw a need in his life, he pursued it and learnt.
Joshua told me the other day that he had ordered another book. I thought it a bit of a weird title but Pete immediately saw why Josh would read it and thought it was a good choice. (Josh has since told me the book is full of heresies though he is enjoying reading it so he can formulate his answers to those issues.) At the beginning of the year I set a reading list for Josh with the purpose of him continuing to read books that will stimulate his mind from a Christian perspective while he was studying from a secular perspective. Over the year he has been reading some of those but he has certainly added his own selection as well. I have come to a place that this is good – my goal was to teach him to think and to seek Biblical wisdom while he studies the topics that interests him. As he digs deeper into his subjects he is the one who has the questions and he needs to find books that answer them. I have to trust him, and his desire for Godly input now.
Before Jessica finished homeschooling she wanted to improve her writing but every effort I supplied for her caused stress in her and tension in our relationship. I dropped it and we decided she had come to a time where she needed to change focus and move into a different season of life – graduate. This gave her an opportunity to spend time reading a book that she had her eyes on for a while but until this stage hadn’t purchased. The book is all about improving your writing. She is delighting in the book – reading it slowly, taking time to put into practice each tip. No stress – just delight. I don’t understand the workings of this as we could have used this book in our homeschooling years – all I can see is that it is a timing thing. The thing that encourages my heart is that she still wants to learn and is finding resources herself that helps her meet her goals, her way.
One of the questions that so often comes up on homeschool mum discussions and forums is the idea of gaps – mums are afraid that there will be gaps in their children’s learning. And there will be. The things is, we need to deal with the fear – not the gaps. There will be plenty of things that my kids need to learn now that they have finished homeschooling – for example, Josh has had to learn essay writing, time management and how to keep his desk tidy (still working on this one!). I am still learning things and I stopped schooling 40 years ago!! We need to get this into perspective – there will always be things that we need to learn, the question is not “do we have gaps” but “do I have the skills to keep learning”?
Over to you:
Do your kids love learning? What have they pursued once their highschool years were over?
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