Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bare Minimum

I have decided to rename our homeschool. It will now be called "The Bare Minimum". I wonder how this will strike relatives, friends and the school board! I did not arrive at this name lightly.
Yesterday, I was reading an article about Christopher Paolini, one of my 12 year old's favorite authors. Homeschooled himself, Paolini began writing the book Eragon at age 15, and at 21, has just published the sequel, Eldest. The article states: "Now, Paolini doubts he'll ever attend college. "To be honest about it, I make my living right now writing down my daydreams, which is a wonderful job. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best job in the world," he said."

As I discussed with my dh my frustrations with getting the "bare minimum" of schooling done, because my daughters' passions for piano playing, horses, reading and writing were taking up so much of the day's time. Then, I thought of Paolini. At 21, he has a job he loves, income, fame, and a future. I wondered if he is good at Algebra? Does he know the difference betweeen eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells? Maybe, but no one really cares. They care only that he writes another book.

I remember discussing high school curricula with a mom who had two homeschooled college age girls, one of which now attends college. I asked her advice, seeing that she'd used both correspondence schools, text curricula, and junior college. She told me that were she to do over again, she'd give her daughters just the bare minimum of what was required for high school. Thus, our school name.

Many days, I reflect on what we are not accomplishing. These feelings I know stem from what other people expect of us. Worrying about the standards, I generate negative feelings of being "behind". Yet, I have a daughter that can play piano at a high school, maybe college level and is self-motivated to practice for hours. I have a daughter that writes for fun for hours and is really gifted. Both love to read enough that I have to confiscate and hide their books in order to get them to do their chores. Both ride horses very well. Both know their way around a computer. I want them to be grounded in the basics, but maybe the bare minimum is enough. Perhaps life should have more time in it for our passions.

Still thinking.

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