Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lizzi and School

Several months ago I did a series of posts (see April archives) about Lizzi and her entry into public school. As you'll recall, she went to public school kindergarten and was then homeschooled in grades 1-7 before returning to public school at the end of her 7th grade year. We deliberately timed her returned in order to prepare for entry into a public high school in another year.

Although I dearly loved homeschooling her (and continue to homeschool Anakin), I haven't regretted Lizzi's decision to return to public school. She is thriving. One thing in particular is worth noting...

After having the same teacher for seven years, Lizzi LOVES having other people teach her. And the best thing? She cares a LOT about working hard for these people and showing them her absolute best. From the beginning, her language arts teacher took notice of Lizzi's writing abilities and worked hard to point out her strengths and challenge her weaknesses. Lizzi is interested in working for this teacher in a way that I haven't experienced. It's not that I, as her former teacher, did anything wrong. It's not that Lizzi, as a homeschooler, was in any way inadequate; to the contrary, she was a very, very good student. But there is something about working for a stranger (or shall we say, a non-Mom) that has inspired her to new heights. For that, I am thankful.

But this also leads me to another reflection...

Lizzi loves her classes and works very, very hard for her teachers. BUT she quickly noticed that her peers do not have nearly the interest in school that she does. In general, she does not perceive them as being passionate about learning in the same way that she is. She believes the difference is homeschooling.

Over the years, the greatest thing I hoped to instill in my children (educationally-speaking) was a desire for knowledge and the tools to gain new understandings. I wanted them to "learn how to learn." You know the doctor adage, "first do no harm?" The greatest harm I figured I could do as a teacher-parent was to extinguish my children's natural love for learning. Thankfully, Lizzi's love for learning seems to have entered public school with her. With any luck, it will continue for the rest of her life.

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