Homeschooling Your Spirited Child




Summary:  Do you have a strong willed child?  Sharing how we homeschooled our daughter, following her interests.  Hope for moms who are in the trenches of raising their own.   #homeschooling #twiceexceptional 


This week my husband and I got to go watch our daughter do her Capstone speech in college. 

We had no idea how things would turn out when she was young:

SO strong willed and FULL of tons of energy!  

Always knowing everything, before she got a chance to learn it, of course.

But now, our challenging daughter who had also been a bit shy, was rocking it in her leadership program in college!  


My daughter presenting her capstone project to students and her professors.

She was in front of a large crowd, speaking with confidence.  

How did this happen?  

I had no idea that my 2e daughter would want to do that, when she was young.....

Today, I'd like to share, and look back, on how my very string willed daughter learned to channel those traits, starting with her early explorations, when she was little.

And following her interests was key to that.

Through the years, my husband and I worked to support her interests, in whatever way that we could, following her lead as far as her learning and activities.  

While learning how to nurture and guide our intense, strong willed daughter.  We found that homeschooling was the way to go for her.

Homeschooling allowed us to go at her pace, re socializing, learning, when she needed more challenge, etc, so that she could take things at her own pace.  

We could meet her needs for quiet times in ways that public school just couldn't.

And we could take wild active breaks, with gymnastics done across the living room floor most every day!  

At the same time, she could step her toe in, re social/group interactions and take her time as needed, re her shyness and her anxiety issues, too.  That was our goal.

And we didn’t know that we were growing a leader, even…that was a nice surprise…

Well, it all really started with lots of cardboard and tape.


EARLY YEARS


We worked to support her in her efforts, in making things, doing things, and exploring things.....

First it was all about art.  

There were tons of art projects to be made.  Painting, finger painting with pudding, and coloring were her go to favorites.  

I found a ballet class for little ones nearby.  Do you know that she convinced me to let her start ballet at age 2 and 1/2 years?  She always knew what she wanted!

None of the kids really knew the routine, but their efforts were glorious and that was all that mattered.


What better way for a preschooler to discover and develop, than through following their interests?  
ELEMENTARY




Amid many art projects at home, we soon found a wonderful contest, called Creative Kids (Many other states have these, too) 

It was sponsored by our annual Spring Fair, which included competitions in animal care, cooking, art, writing, photography, and even knitting.  

My daughter entered it starting in 3rd grade, and ended up continuing all the way through 10th grade.  

It became a very supportive environment for her to try out her new skills, and get feedback from more adults than just mom.

Of course, she told me that my feedback didn't count.  She had to have it from other adults.  It gave her chance to get feedback on her projects, a big step in getting out in the world, for a young child.  


MIDDLE SCHOOL 

Science was popular in our house, especially in middle school.

She went on to enter many projects in the Creative Kids contestincluding essays, photography, knitting projects, and then one year she to entered a knitting contest.  hey competed as to how fast they could knit!  (how funny!)  

To do this, she was up in front of an audience...

This was held at our local spring fair, and included a lot of 4H activities.  Does your area off one of these contests for kids?

Later, she entered a poem, and when they asked the kids to share their poetry aloud, she decided to participate. 

This was her first experience in public speaking.  Little did I know that she would come to want more.  

Then she got interested in science...

Then, in middle school, her interest in science centered around aviation.  There were lots of trips to the Museum of Flight, which became a long standing favorite.  

At home, most of her essays that year were geared toward aviation, the history of it. Her Oak Meadow curricula asked for a biography of a famous American, but we adjusted that to let her do one on her strong interest in aviation instead.  


It was still a report on history, just the history of aviation!  (Note - Oak Meadow is a creative, hands-on, strong-in-academics curriculum that we loved using for English and Social Studies from 4th grade on.)

And many of her reports were written on the different types of airplanes.  This was easy to accommodate in our homeschooling, as I just geared her English assignments to her interest!


HIGH SCHOOL 

Leading a science lesson.

Volunteering can be a great way to build confidence and leadership skills, as we all know.  We just geared our volunteering to my daughter's interests.  

Sometimes as a whole family, other times, with a group of homeschooled teens, at a food bank, humane society, or making holiday boxes, etc.

In 9th grade, my daughter had a chance to help out in an elementary science class.  

A great opportunity.

After a few years of assisting, she had gained so much in confidence...but decided that teaching was not her calling.  

She told me that she hated working with kids!

She knew, however, that she wanted to become a leader somehow.  And when she needed a college reference, she had a great one, from this volunteer experience.  (And that helped her get into college.)


DISCOVERING LEADERSHIP


At a Youth and Government teen activity.

Then, in high school, we heard about the Youth and Government program. (This link is to their WA program, but most states also have one, through their YMCA.) This gave her a lot of chances to develop her leadership skills in another setting.  

This program teaches about state government, where the teens actually enact the work of the legislature, each choosing a role to play, such as Page, Legislator, or Senator, etc.  They even write their own Bills!  



Our Governor stopped by to great the teens.

She found her niche here, realizing that she liked leading groups of her peers, such as committees, or serving as VP to her delegation.  And she couldn't wait for the state meeting in May, where she got to be a mock youth court justice!  


Such a great program for her.  The teens gather each year at their state's capital, to put on their own Youth Mock Legislature.

A FOOTNOTE - My daughter just started what will soon become her summer job (as a campaign manager for a local city councilperson, who is running for re-election.)  

Sharing to give you all moms with strong willed kids HOPE!

This was at a community event, with the city councilperson she is working for.

Learning at home gave my daughter a supportive anchor, that allowed her to step out and explore the world, one day at a time. 

And then, returning home for quiet time with family, and for my daughter that always included our pet cat!


What are your children exploring these days?  It is such a pleasure to hear from you.  If you like this post, you will also probably like my pinterest board on high school.

Do you have a teen in your house?

For those of you who are considering homeschooling your teen or already doing that, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the idea of dealing with high school.  

Transcripts, GPA, assigning high school credit, etc, it can feel daunting.  And that is why many families are leery of taking on high school at home.

After homeschooling my dear daughter through high school, I put together a guide, full of all those important details for high school.

I want to encourage families to homeschool their teens, and get the benefits that we got doing that, for my daughter and for our family.

My book makes your planning easy.

With that in hand, you can concentrate on making the high school years at home nurturing and rich.

And can keep your own homeschooling style all along the way.  And be able to follow your teen's interests.

My guide includes over 100 high school electives and activities for your teen to explore.

It also has guidance for helping your teen get into college.

But this book is not just for those who are aiming towards college.  It is for any teen who is learning at home.  We all want to help our teens grow and give them the important guidance and encouragement as they grow into young adulthood.

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with Downloadable High School Planning Printables


For more info: please click here Homeschooling High School with College in Mind - 2nd Edition




Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy



Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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