For twelve years now, we have homeschooled. Most of it has been delight directed because I believe with all that I am that God created each of us with certain aptitudes and passions to be used for His glory. My oldest girl is one year away from graduating from this journey and moving onto the next phase. Of course it is not one day this and the next day that. It’s really a gradual process that has been happening for a while now. Several years ago, it was on my heart that I wanted her senior year to be a year of independent study. A year when she could dig deeply into her passions. That dream of mine slowly led me to more and more relaxed schooling with her and essentially allowing much of her junior and senior years to be independent study. It has been scary on one hand, but thrilling on the other.
We have talked regularly about what she wants to do with this next part of her life and then catered to what is necessary for those dreams. She could have spent the past year vegging out on Netflix or the internet, but she hasn’t. She knows she is working for her own goals. They matter to her a lot.
She spends countless hours researching types of fabric, methods for making various types of clothing, creating her own patterns, and making several dresses and costumes. She works jobs that she had to learn how to do in order to make the money she needs for her materials for those projects. She has even been able to make a few party appearances in one of her costumes.
She is taking several dance classes and works at home on her own to improve her skills. She is interning at her studio for some younger student classes and learning much about relating to the kids, keeping a balance between business and fun times, being consistently responsible in a job setting. Life skills.
She watches classical ballets. She draws using online tutorials. She takes photographs of nature all the time. She goes online to learn about color and shape and other art concepts. She reads a couple of large books a week. She writes fiction when she gets good ideas. She keeps a little blog. She watches documentaries about life in different parts of the world. She tinkers with foreign languages on the DuoLingo app. She studies math on Khan Academy in preparation for the ACT. She sings and plays guitar. She listens to lots of music. She looks up anatomy pictures and descriptions to understand her sore muscles and other ailments. She watches movies and analyzes every little part of them. She shops for groceries and babysits her sisters for me. She reads her Bible and thinks about the big questions in life. She helps her friends.
What will next year look like? A lot of the same with more independence. She will start driving herself places and will get a part time job. She has a few subjects of school work to finish. Most are of her own choosing. She doesn’t quite know what she will do with her life. Not many of us do at 17. But she is following her passions, gradually learning to be a young woman with good character and life skills.
There are two ways to measure high school success in this world in which we live. One is with a neatly organized transcript recording all of the courses she has taken, and the other is with a student who loves life, lives fully, and has worked me out of a job. As we approach our final year and the finish line is in sight, this is where I stand. Her transcript is partly normal and partly unique. It is full, but more full with her aptitudes than with extra math and science courses. She has scored well on her practice ACT, and we believe she will do the same on the real one next month. She has learned life skills that will bring her into the next stage of her life. She has passion and drive for good things.
And still, it is really scary. It has been a step of faith from the beginning to step off of the traditional route. This is where my faith has to stand strong. I’ve prayed over our methods and for God’s direction often. This has always been the heart that God has given to me, and I trust that in being obedient to His call, He will bring success. I can see the light. I am so glad I have followed my heart and my girl’s passions. She is so much more than another student. I cannot wait to see what this last year brings and where she goes from there.