Julie,My name is Helen Hansen. I am a member of the Georgics class and I have been very impressed with Andrew. I have a 12 year old son and I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on what you as a mother did (I know there was something) that helped or inspired Andrew to become the marvelous young man that he is. I have only homeschooled for a little over a year but I am struggling with how to inspire my son. I also have a 12 year old daughter who has just taken off but because they are the same age it is difficult to watch him remain behind. It is also difficult because my daughter is very much like me in personality and learning styles and so it is easier for me to inspire her because I can relate. Anyway, Andrew has just been very impressive. I would like to ask him what motivated him to become what he is as well.Thank you so much,
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The Joy Comes
Sometimes Mothers feel inadequate to the task of homeschooling and I have not been one to escape that feeling. At times I wonder if my children will grow up to be responsible citizens, devoted followers of Jesus Christ and full of charity, intelligence, truth and light. It is in those times that Heavenly Father blesses me through other people who see and admire something in my children.
Today I attended the Parent/Teacher conference of my one daughter who is still in Public School. She is an eighth-grader. While walking down the hall towards her teachers we stopped to talk to the counselor, Mrs. Ramsey. She was full of emotion as she told me how much she loved our Elissa. She said that she had told her returned-missionary-son about Elissa and how wonderful she is (that someday she would make a tremendous wife) and that he should finish his bacchelors degree, go on to get a masters and by then she should be old enough to marry. Of course, that made my heart soar (not that we had made a match for her, but that she is growing to be that young person I was describing in the first paragraph).
During the conferences many of the people told how helpful and good she is, but one in particular, Bonnie Fronk, told me of her love for Elissa. Today I felt Elissa's goodness and knew that she was developing into a beautiful young lady.
Later while visiting with Emily and Andrew's Seminary teachers I was showered with more good comments about their characters. Andrew's said that he is always anxious to participate and Emily's said she is growing to be an outstanding young woman. I walked away from that building with joy in my heart.
In the evening, after the Online Georgics Class that Andrew and I are taking we got an email from one of the other participants (a mother) who wrote us this email. (Her name has been changed.)
On Mar 12, 2009, at 7:22 PM, Helen Hansen wrote:
Here is my answer to her:
You are very kind. We have only been homeschooling for a little over a year also. Andrew and I have just been discussing what inspired him and we came up with this list below. If there is any one of these that you would like me to expound upon, just let me know. We have Skype capabilities and could video conference if you would like.
1. Work, work and work. (whenever there was lazyness, defiance or contention, I had him and any other sibling do work) Inspiration only comes when we are working.
2. I would lay out some good reads and ask him if he had read any of them, if not, I would ask him if he would like me to summarize them and then let him choose one to read. Sometimes I even read the first few chapters to get him hooked (Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and The Lonesome Gods were some of them that I did this with)
3. Schedule, I made sure that we kept a schedule of math time, reading time and writing time (scheduling time, not content)
4. Andrew liked it when I would kidnap him and take him to a restaurant where we would have an interview and discussion of what I could do better and what he could do better.
5. Parent/youth interviews every Sunday
6. More work
7. Lots of prayer and pondering
8. After lots of prayer we kind of fell into a reading/study group with a few peers. They met each week and discussed an assigned book in a colloquium format. This was very motivating for him and a Godsend. After the study group and after the summer, our group became a Commonwealth School that offers the LEMI classes called Key of Liberty and Shakespeare. Also a Godsend. It is a once a week class with reading and writing assignments.
9. More prayer.
10. Helping to mentor David (Andrew's dad and my sweet husband) to see and understand the idea of homeschooling. Dave has just begun to see some good with this… and… as he has progressed in this understanding so has Andrew begun to be self-directed.
11. Also, and I am not sure how much of a difference this one makes, but we are adamant about having family meals together, family scripture study, family home evening, very limited computer and video time, no video games or hand-held devices and no TV ever (we don't have them-except for a TV for occasional videos).
I hope this helps a little. Andrew has come a long way in such a short time, but I would never had believed it could happen last January 2008 when we began. I truly think it has been a combination of the above. I am also known around my house as a perpetual repeater of teachings. We have frequent discussions of the phases in a Thomas Jefferson Education (Core, Love of Learning, Scholar and Depth) and I ask my children where they think they are on any given day. I also discuss things that I am reading (I am a distance student of George Wythe University) and inspire them with the ideas that are running through my mind at the time.
He has impressed me too, come to think of it. I just told him that it has been God who has molded him into what he is now and I have just been here to help facilitate it. Thank you so much for your compliments and have a nice night.