Raise Children With a Wild Streak

by Mark Pruett

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the importance of childhood playtime. It reinforces my own belief that many young adults have been cheated by years of excessive schoolwork and teamwork, too many extracurricular activities, and a straitjacketed “just say no to anything risky” upbringing. I am convinced that modern childhood generally does not build enough independence and thirst for knowledge.

For the past few years I helped interview high school seniors seeking scholarships to come to Appalachian State University. These applicants come from all over the state. They play instruments and sports, participate in church and charity, and work in diverse jobs.

They also display remarkably similar accomplishments. They are at the top of their high school classes and possess generically good manners. They lead teams, groups and clubs. They are smart, solid and hardworking.

They might be surprised to learn that I, like many college professors, yearn for rarer traits — curiosity, passion, a wild streak. [Read more…]

Gabrielle’s Journey

by Kim Blum-Hyclak

My daughter, Gabrielle, graduated several years ago. She had been homeschooled from the beginning, not conforming to the boundaries of a typical education. As a family, we started our homeschooling adventure under the philosophy of John Holt, a pioneer in the homeschool movement. We agreed that children have a natural curiosity. Given the right tools, environment, and encouragement, children can learn what they need to know without much “help” from us. We allowed Gabrielle, as well as her siblings, to follow their interests and have not been disappointed in their academic endeavors. Sometimes frustrated, but never disappointed!

While not following a typical “college preparatory” curriculum, Gabrielle still managed to earn all the necessary credits for graduation, and more. She had always known that college was an option, but not the only one. Her interests and her heart had always been in ministry, and that’s the path her high school studies prepared her for. [Read more…]

My House is a Mess!

by Kim Blum-Hyclak

My house is a mess. I want to get down to the business of schoolwork with my children, but the clutter is getting in the way. Colorful Legos dot the floor like land mines ready to be stepped on. Books have escaped the prison of the shelves and lie open, hiding in freedom in the stairway alcove. The box of craft supplies exploded and the debris lies in creative concentric circles. The two dishes I left in the sink last night mated. Their offspring now enjoy the run of the table and the counter top. The piles of laundry I lovingly folded now lean like a famous monument, inching their way to the edges of the washer and dryer.

I survey the damage and feel overwhelmed. I yearn for the day when I can sit at the table with my kids and their lessons and open their minds to all the wonderful “stuff” the world has to offer, without the distractions that our daily living heaps upon us.

But after years of homeschooling, I know this is not the dream I want realized. I am living my dream. [Read more…]