Diana's Homeschool Blog

Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Our children engaging their own education—a true story!

Writing might not be your child's passion, it might be mechanics or science or swimming. . . But whatever it is, if they engage it, they will work harder than you can imagine—and find rewards far beyond an "A" on some test.

In January, 1999, my thirteen year old daughter, Melody, entered an essay competition for the V.F.W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars). She loves to write, and, when I think about it, it seems like she always has—she began writing stories when she was just five years old! So, whenever the opportunity arose to write during her homeschool years, she jumped at the chance. 

The topic for that year's competition was "What Freedom Means to Me." Students in the U.S.A., in grades 7-9 from public, private and homeschool were invited to compete. Melody worked, reworked, and re-reworked her essay until she was satisfied. We were astounded by her words but wondered whether anyone else would be. It touched our hearts deeply and we felt that it was her very best.

One day the phone rang to tell Melody, "You've won the local competition!" That was exciting to her... but the tension began to mount. You see, she had won the local competition the previous year but had not won the district level.

Some time later the phone rang again. "You've won the district level!" Wow! That was a real victory for her... but the tension continued to mount. Would it be possible to win the state competition? No one from our town had ever won state.

"Melody? You won state!!" Shouts of joy, jigs danced in the hallway, brothers jumping up and down, deliriously proud parents... but the tension mounted to fever pitch. Would her essay be able to compete on a national level? Since we were going to be out of the country the next year (visiting New Zealand), this was Melody's last chance to place at national.

And then, the phone rang. I had had a headache and was lying down. Isaac was recovering from the flu and was reading a book. Bill was finishing lunch while Michael was out helping someone move. So, Melody answered the phone. We all heard, "Yes, uh huh, umm...." And then, suddenly, "You mean, I WON NATIONAL?????"

I vaulted off the bed, Isaac dropped his book, Bill turned in disbelief as we heard Melody jump for joy! The person on the other end of the line had just heard the news and was calling to congratulate Melody.

Never have I seen my daughter so radiant, so excited. It was a dream come true for her... and an amazing victory in our family. Immediately the thoughts came of the obstacles we had faced from well-meaning family when we decided to homeschool: "You'll ruin your children! How will they ever learn enough to get along in the world? What about computers? What about socialization? What about job skills?"

For years we fielded this kind of concerned comment, and had only our vision of what was possible in homeschooling our children to strengthen our commitment. In the past decade, there has been much more acceptance among family, friends, and community, but, nonetheless, for us there had been those remaining little doubts about the possibility of real success for someone who has never "gone to school." With that last phone call, all of those doubts were laid to rest. I know, and you know, that homeschoolers can do MARVELOUS things. . .but it's so encouraging when it happens right before your very eyes.

One more phone call came from the head of the national essay contest. Melody had stepped out for a moment, so I was on the receiving end.

"Mrs. Waring? Congratulations on your daughter's wonderful accomplishment. You are aware, of course, that Melody has won a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond?"

I dropped my teeth!

"And, we would really like to have Melody read her essay at the National Convention in August for all of our assembled members... about 15,000 people."

Gulp. Breathe. I picked up my teeth... and began to cry.

So, dear friends, wild things can happen when our kids actually engage with their education. . .when they work hard on the things that interest them most.

I thought, perhaps you might enjoy reading the essay, written by one of your very own homeschoolers, that won the 1999 National Essay Competition (now called the Patriot's Pen) for the V.F.W. Here 'tis:

What Freedom Means to Me

by Melody Waring

The year is 1942. A chill is in the air. A twelve-foot wall of powerful electrical fencing surrounds the camp. A sneering voice is calling out the roll. Suddenly an emaciated young man falls to the ground in a paralytic fit of coughing. The Nazi official laughs and kicks the man until he lies still, never to get up again. Perhaps somewhere people are happy. Perhaps somewhere people are free. Not in this German concentration camp.

The year is 1936. Behind a locked door, a woman clutches her small son desperately. From outside comes the even tread of marching. With a final, terrified glance at the bolt on the door, the woman hides in a dark corner of the room. She knows it is futile. No one escapes the secret police. No one has any freedom. Not in the Great Purge of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The year is 1955. A few miles away an orchard smolders in it's ruin. A leader of the Algerian revolt shakes his turbaned head sadly as he is led away by French army officials. He is to be thrown into a concentration camp and tortured, along with millions of other native Algerians. He and his people had struggled and revolted for freedom to no avail; all is hopeless here in sun-baked Algeria.

The year is this year. It is a Sunday morning in America and people nationwide stroll through the doors of churches. It is a Saturday evening and people nationwide are printing deluxe editions of their newspapers, voicing freely their opinions and feelings on everything from dieting to politics. It is a Tuesday afternoon and children nationwide are pouring out of their school buildings where they are taught without prejudice towards race or sex. It is because of our freedom that we do not live in the shadow of a concentration camp; it is because of our freedom that we need not cower behind locked doors afraid of secret police; it is because of our American freedom that we are not in a revolt against an overpowering authority.

Freedom: to worship unshackled, to speak uninhibited, to attend schools without being shunned, to vote for the the leaders of our nation, to stand against what is wrong, and to fight for what is right. This is what freedom means to me.

How God Made You—and Your Kids—Smart: Musical
Actively Engage Learning. . .
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image