Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cookie off to College

I wrote this article for the September 2011 issue of the RIGHT newsletter. 
Cookie off to College

As you read this, I am probably taking my oldest child off to college.  The first one out of the gate, homeschooled all the way through successfully, as far as I can tell. 

This child fit the cookie-cutter for academic success.  College prep courses all the way through high school, a few AP and CCRI courses thrown in to demonstrate that her intelligence went beyond her mother’s evaluation, did well on SATs, and received some decent scholarship money.  With a little push from Dad, she finally decided what she wanted to do and off she goes into the world, well-prepared with worldview training and self-determined values. 

Well, if you are new to this whole homeschooling thing and are thinking, “oh, great!  What a relief! I have that cookie-cutter. I know that recipe.  No problem, I can make these cookies too.”    Think again. 
Different children, different ingredients.  You MIGHT have the same recipe and similar  ingredients, but no matter what recipe you follow, your cookies will not turn out the same. 

My other children have different ingredients.  Do I follow a different recipe?

As my cookie-cutter child entered her high school years and even before, I realized that she had her own ideas about what she wanted to do and in other ways she had no idea what she wanted to do.  It was a fine balance between steering and supporting her activities and studies.  Even now, as I look back at the recipe, I realize that the cookie isn’t exactly what I expected.  This girl is going to school to become a photographer - academic recipe : artistic cookie.  Who knew?  

Now I am looking very carefully at my “leftover” ingredients!  What will they make with what they have?  Christian + gifted artist + pianist = ?,  Christian + guitar-playing leader -type = ?,  Christian + helpful + faithful = ?  

In the end, we can only follow the recipe and as a true cook, allow the ingredients to add their own flavors that shine through. 

Practically, I will encourage my sons and younger daughter to follow a similar recipe, but I am learning that children are not cookie-cutters and I may need to adjust my recipe based on the gifts and talents they have.  I am learning from other homeschool parents a myriad of other recipes for still - successful cookies. 

I am also learning that, in the end, I can’t take much credit for the cookies.

1 comment:

  1. i am a recipe follower. but i learned early on that my kids don't fit the mold. :) congratulations on your daughter starting college! as my boys get older, it is even more apparent how different they are from me!