Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Graduate

(Thanks for letting me steal a photo, Amy!)

No, we are not graduating a chess piece, but the lovely girl in the background.  So far this is as good as I can get for a graduation photo.  Our daughter has left the school of academics but she is continuing in the schools of wisdom, character, and domesticity. Many homeschooling families do not separate these from the academics.  One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is that life IS school.  If you have been reading my blog for several years, you know that my own teaching philosophy, at least in practice, has wavered between radical unschooling and the commonly accepted, safe ideas of what "school" means.  We do the academics.  We have textbooks.  But we don't take all that too seriously.  Once a child can read and write and figure, she can learn to do anything she puts her mind to.

Talents and interests and God-given gifts are important. They tell us that the intelligence of our children can and should be measured by something much broader than a SAT test. You've heard the old saying of Albert Einstein, "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."  I've just wanted to encourage my fish to be the best swimmers or splashers or divers that they could be, for the glory of God, and never mind the trees.  Trees are for monkeys and squirrels and birds, all of whom have their own gifts.

Since we have not followed the state-mandated requirements for a high school diploma, I decided that any home-made diploma that I would issue really would hold no weight in a situation that required something official. Such as admission to the junior college, so that Alison could play in the orchestra. So after she satisfied my requirements for graduation we went the route of the GED. She neatly jumped through all the required hoops for underage test-takers (age 19 in Minnesota), including an online test prep class.  Her teacher was impressed with Alison's scores and said that she was scoring higher than any of her other students.  I do hope so. The other students are adults who dropped out of school years ago. Alie was very worried about the essay portion of the test, but I showed her an entry from her own blog, and I assured her that she could write a good essay.  If this is a typical sample of freshman college students' writing  (below, from The American Thinker), and these kids are getting into college, she would have no trouble. (Read that carefully -- this is NOT a sample of my daughter's writing!)
Why don't I agree with their reason well yes they are in debit and therefore there is a need in saving money but there is other ways.  For insists in this solar panel really saving money or it just bring down the coast of utilities bills? Well in the reading "In order to start this solar panel system we need land and not just feet but acres according to California's law that was now mandated 78,490 acres was needed" Now think about it is it free? What was on the land before?  Will this really save us from the economical crisis or will it just cause a economical downfall?
[The author] asserts that the places where the solar panel generators were being put on not just in empty space but are being put on "farms, parks and etc".  So indeed it is not only bringing our bills lower but bringing up a cost for these generators.  Why should we destroy agriculture and farms were most of our veggies and fruits grow just because the state mandates.  Isn't it still bringing the economy to spend money because of the acres being bought?
Sure enough, Alison passed with flying colors and all is well.  So... now what?  Do we have a graduation party?  An open house?  (I never heard of having a grad open house until I came to college here in 1981!) What if we don't know enough people to have a big hooplah?  How about dessert with just family?  What if Alison doesn't even want to be recognized in that way?  I bought the ingredients for her favorite cake, chocolate with raspberries, and I'm waiting to decide what to do with them.

Now that I have a graduate living here, I also have a domestic helper. Of late I have been a lady of leisure, reading and eating bonbons while my daughter does all the housework. This was not my idea, but hers.  Alison follows several worthwhile blogs about homemaking and being a good wife. She is preparing herself to be a blessed helpmeet to Mark Right -- Mark the perfect man, the Bible says.  He will be Mr. Right.  All of our girls will be marrying a Mark Right.   :)

One of the things I love about this child is that when she sees shortcomings in her character, she makes efforts to improve it.  Alison is much like her dad in that way.  Her own introspection has made her a more patient, gentle, and responsible young person. She has also taken her fears by the ears, so to speak, in some practical areas. In the past few months, as a result of being a mother's helper to a mom of six, Alie has learned to cook by the seat of her proverbial pants, wipe counters, mop floors, organize huge grocery expeditions, and scrutinize young children for dirty faces.  She has learned to encourage reluctant workers in their school work and chores, surprise a tired mother with a spotlessly clean house, and cheerfully handle snot, poop, and vomit, and some of it simultaneously. She can fold cloth diapers, navigate Sam's Club, Aldi, and Wal*Mart all on the same day peacefully with six small children... come to think of it, she's doing better than a lot of wives and mothers. :)  I love her new found confidence in all matters domestic!

When she's not helping moms (I being one of them), my graduate is growing her violin teaching business, practicing the piano and violin, managing the special music at church, and sweetly teaching her little sister, Emily, how to be a responsible resident of this house. She is still learning conversational Hebrew via Milingua.com, listening to Israeli talk radio, and filling her family in on Middle East relations while we enjoy the supper that she cooked for us.

You didn't ask, but these are the answers to the question that is looming, now that Alison is finished with high school:  If you aren't going to college, what are you doing? Recently an older woman asked her this question. Alison briefly told this stranger that she wants to be a stay-at-home mom and have lots of children and keep a happy home. The woman, in her 80's, felt Alison is making a big mistake by not going to college.  "What if you get divorced? I am divorced, and so are three of my five daughters," she said. "You really need something to fall back on."  Alison graciously told her she feels she can achieve her goals without college. After giving more pointed advice, the woman walked away.  A older man who had been standing by and listening to this exchange placed his hand on my daughter's shoulder, and he told her, "Don't let anyone discourage you. You just do what you dream of doing."  :)  How I appreciated that man's encouragement.

When we decided against college I was concerned that my girls would feel like their time between high school and marriage (Lord willing) would be a time of treading water, thumb-twiddling, painful waiting and boredom.  Au contraire.  It is proving to be a time of self-improvement, of learning life skills, and of service to others, all wonderful preparation for a life given to loving and serving a family.

Alison, we are very proud of you (if pride can ever be a good thing!) and we love you so much.  You are a joy and crown to your parents.  God bless you!!


...but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30



8 comments:

  1. Hi Sally,
    I just stumbled upon your blog and love it - so much so that I am now a faithful follower. :) And I look forward to reading future posts and getting to know you better. This post is wonderful - I love Alison's response to the older lady. My oldest daughter went through the same thing before she got married. Some people just couldn't understand why she didn't need to - or want to - go to college. Any way, I'd love for you to stop by sometime and visit me. :)
    Many blessings!

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  2. Congratulations to Alison!

    I think she has noble, beautiful, and smart goals (very much like herself.)

    I imagine two of my girls following very similar paths. (One has stated that she thinks she just might prefer single-hood so she could focus on missions work - and if that is her calling I will support it...While I would love for her to give me some grandbabies, I know that may not be God's plan for her life.) ;-)

    It sounds like Alison's off to a great start on the road to adulthood. You should be very proud Mom & Dad...you have raised a mighty arrow.

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  3. Congrats to Alison and to you as well. Sounds like you have a thoughtful plan- one beliving that God will stay in the picture and suply all her needs. Well done mom!!

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  4. Congratulations (again) to Alison and to you mom for all your hard work and sacrifices throughout the years. And good for Alison in following a Biblical path! Wow, that sample essay was painful to read.

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  5. Congratulations from me as well. I struggle with how to help my daughter make this choice as well. Academically, she may have the choice made for her! She wants most of all to be a wife and mother, however, that may not be the Lord's plan. Since she is only 12, we don't have to worry too much, but it is there in the back of my mind.

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  6. Congratulations Alison...along with Mom & Dad!
    And praise God for bringing you (Alison) to this point in your life. Looks to me like you're right in His will for you!
    Alison, keep focusing on Him who loves you most and He will guide you faithfully.
    Blessings, Julie Snider

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  7. Congratulations Alison and congratulations mama for guiding her to success! I LOVE this entry!!! We are training our girls for God's highest calling (and indeed instruction - Titus 2:3-5) for them to be godly wives, mommies and keepers at home! It's not popular but it's still right. What an articulate daughter you have raised to respond to that lady so fearlessly :) thank you for the encouragement that this post provided me!

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  8. Congratulation to Alison, and to you, too, Mom!!! What a lovely post you wrote. We have a graduate here, as well, and one who would love to go the no-college route. Alas, when you're preparing "Mr. Right" to care for a precious wife and children, college is somewhat of a necessity. We've put our collective foot down, hubby and I, and insisted he get a trade before any other degree, and oldest ds has maturely, thoughtfully, and prayerfully accepted our guidance. Thank the good Lord for His never-ending grace in these wonderful young adults that we have.

    Oh, and Sal? Tell Dad good job, too. I didn't have a protector and champion in my own dad, and I feel the loss to this day because of it. He's still alive, just not that kind of dad.

    Have a lovely rest-of-week,
    Shani xxx

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