Any homeschooling parent would easily recognize the tone of voice when they read, “You homeschool him?!? . . .” After which, they usually end their statement with, ”I could never do that!” Bev finds their judging tone of voice to be annoying. I actually find it to be amusing. Why? Because the truth is, they don’t know what they’re missing. But that’s like most things in life, I suppose. For example, we’re living aboard a sailboat. I won’t lie. It has its challenges, no doubt. But, . . so does parenthood. My wife and I feel blessed to have our son, especially since the medication Bev takes for her arthritis limits our ability to have anymore children. Yet, perhaps having an only child may have also been a blessing.
Our son, Kaimen is highly intelligent, but he is also as stubborn as Bev and I combined. We knew early on that public school might not be a good fit for him.
Like me, he gets bored easily and I remembered how all my classes seemed to only keep up with the slowest kid. I actually slept through most of my chemistry classes and still passed with an A+. In fact there were a few times, my teacher slapped my desk to have me work a chemistry problem on the board. I would get up, work the problem correctly, then return to my seat to rest my head. I mean, duh! Matter is never destroyed, only rearranged. It’s like tearing a Lego creation apart and rebuilding another creation using all the same parts. For me, it’s not that difficult to understand respiration, photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. Still, we couldn’t move on to the next lesson until every last child finally got it. And it was that logic, that made high school and college classes so boring. Kaimen displayed the same attitude when learning his alphabet. He was always ready to just move on if he didn’t see the practical application. So, we had to adjust our teaching style for him.
We wanted to make sure Kaimen’s mind was always challenged with what he was learning. So, mainstream public school was not an option. Instead, we used an online curriculum through a private school. And that worked for the first six or seven years. Unfortunately, by the time he was twelve, he was already getting bored with basic schooling. We had to raise the bar. So we played around with his creative side to see what would keep his attention. Videography and computer animation is where he started leaning. Which makes sense, since the first twelve years of his life revolved around videos for teaching and communication. Loud English speaking crowds proved to be an overload of stimuli for Kaimen, and often times myself to be honest. My wife and I joined a Sign Language congregation when he was a baby. His eyes were always studying every face he saw. And, things like cameras and a video software were just commonplace for him.
When it appeared that he needed more challenging lessons. We started with the basic free programs like iMovie and Blender for filmography and animation. After that, the definition of the word ‘vertices’ went way beyond basic geometry. In less than a year he was maxing out our computer’s processor and reached the limits of those programs. So then we purchased Final Cut Pro and upgraded our computer for his animation programs. But, we knew that wasn’t going to be enough. His homeschool curriculum already introduced him to economics and ecology. And as any child should be, he was concerned about the economy’s impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, school texts are written with the bias of the authors. You rarely see the other side of the proverbial coin. So, children grow up thinking they have all the answers. Enter the need to teach with life lessons and practical applications. It’s all too easy to be judge and jury from the comfort of your couch at home. We wanted Kaimen to see all sides of the environmental issues, because then, and only then, could he try to understand that there are no simple solutions to the world’s problems. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe that God has the solution at Revelation 11:18. We also know that it is reckless and irresponsible to wait for his time before we start living according to his standards. It’s kind of like children waiting to clean the house until after their parents get home, instead of cleaning their mess before and without being told what to do. Children from my generation can only imagine “the look’’ and the lectures we got if we did clean the house before mom got home. Today, my wife and I set the same high standards for Kaimen. (After all, he’s usually the one that makes the mess. 😁 Kids can be like little hurricanes in the house.) Bit teaching them to clean up after themselves really pays off.
Higher standards also teach your kids to carry themselves more confidently. How so? Old sailors love to tell stories to those who will listen. They also like to test others to see what their made of. Kaimen loves their stories and takes they’re playful teasing well. The old salty men all are often so impressed with Kaimen that they often forget that he’s only 13 years old. And if you were to ask Kaimen if he misses his old, larger room, or prefers talking to kids his age, he’d tell you, “not even a little!” So what’s my point? Homeschooling and sailing life is not for the faint of heart. It will take foresight and planning. Adjustments (many adjustments) will be needed. But, you should just say that you “could never do that.” At least just try it. Because, the rewards are priceless! I truly believe that parents are the most suited to teach their children. You know your child best. And their strongest qualities come from you. So, If you want to give your kids the best possible future. Stop saving up for their future and start teaching them how to have a future. Taylor their education to match their learning style. Show them how to reduce their carbon footprint by teaching them to think beyond their four walls. Teach them the importance of proper stewardship. You won’t regret it and your kids will thank you.