Lessons I’m Learning
The last year has been an odyssey for me. If some of you recall, Noah decided not to have a graduation or party or anything resembling the end of high school. It was like our homeschool era together just petered out. I was devastated.
It was hard.
Harder still was facing the real facts: this kid is not going to college.
I stalled that fact by enrolling him in my New Testament Greek class at Xavier. Noah showed interest in learning Greek (loves dead languages) and had to do the enrolling himself (college rules) so I knew he was up for it. We had a marvelous time each week listening to lectures and discussing on the way home. We had a less marvelous time with my ambivalence about how fully he participated. I tried so hard to stay out of his homework etc. but I didn’t always succeed.
I’ve had lots of conversations online about education, college, and unschooling with lots of chances to re-evaluate what we’ve chosen to do with our kids. There have been many voices saying that we must require our kids to prepare for college because they won’t make it without college.
I bought into those voices for years because I believed so completely in the importance of college to one’s future success… which is why I was often hard on Noah.
But something happened in the last few months that has altered how I see. Noah, on the day of the final for Greek said, “I woke up this morning realizing Greek was ending today and I thought, ‘Phew, now I can learn Greek.'”
This is a kid for whom learning is everything… not someone else’s schedule, not someone else’s idea. He loves to learn, at his pace, with his interests leading him. And learn he does! Just last night he went to Barnes and Noble for three hours to work on Klingon. Why? For fun.
He spends his money on books like Liddell Scott’s Greek lexicon, Semantics and constructed languages. He moderates an email list where the list members are creating a language from scratch, voting on things like word order structure and alphabets.
Two weeks ago, he began researching linguistics programs in colleges. He discovered that one of the best ones in the country is right here in Cincinnati. He’s contemplating whether he is ready to go to college, but is now sincerely interested according to his time table, not mine.
I’ve had to learn (along with the rest of you) that my child is not a product to be created but a life to be respected.
It’s been such an amazing year of revelation – to see my oldest know enough about who he is that he resisted being conformed to my vision for his life. Instead, he keeps chipping away at what he loves and has become more and more clear about what he’d like to do about it.
I feel so lucky to be in on that journey.
Just thought I’d share in case it might help some of you with younger teens so you don’t wring your hands as much as I did.
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