11 December 2009

How Do You Expose Homeschooling Children to the Competitive World?

Years ago when we just started homeschooling, one of the questions asked to this ‘unqualified teacher/mother’ who every one thought was insane in the challenge she was taking up, was: “How will your children learn about the competitive world, while they are in an isolated, home environment, with no peers to compete with, especially your boy (only CJ at that stage)?”

It was a very challenging question and at that stage a question I had no idea how to answer. The only thing I was certain of, was that God appointed me to homeschool my children (a posting for another day) and I was certain that God knew the big picture and never makes mistakes. He would sort out the details; He would give me answers to my questions as we proceeded on the road He was leading, if He thought it to be necessary. I knew there would be questions He didn’t need to answer and I only had to trust him in this, daunting journey. Thus, when I was asked about competing, I usually just gave a short, but certain, answer: “They will still be able to compete with peers in extramural activities.” I had no idea, how God would do it, though.

And that was exactly what we did over the past ten years. We let them participate in extramural activities, as much as was possible for us, not nearly as much as their peers in the public school system, but we did expose them to competitive activities.

CJ took tennis lessons, for about three years, which he enjoyed a lot. But he was still very young and didn’t have the opportunity to take part in championships.

He also took trumpet lessons for almost three years.

He had a brilliant trumpet teacher, a man who had a passion for the trumpet and the gifting to instill a love for the trumpet in his students. During CJ’s third year, the trumpet teacher moved to the other side of the peninsula, I was pregnant with baby #6 and I was just not up to driving him once a week to his lessons any more. During his final year he took part in the Eistedford, received an hounourable mention and passed his Grade 1 UNISA exam with cum laude.

When CJ was eleven years old we did a unit study on horses

he was hooked on horses and started riding lessons.

Heidi-Mari started off with modelling classes when she was only 4years old, but when she was five years old, she changed to ballet classes. From the first day she did ballet classes, we could see dancing is her passion, her dream.

She also tried gymnastic classes for a year, but when the year was over asked us if she could take an extra ballet class a week instead of gymnastics.

We also strive to expose Josua to the competitive world. From the age of five he received ball skill lessons (Playball) for two years, but then decided it is boring and stopped.

At this stage CJ received horse riding lessons for a year and Josua wanted to start too.

This past year CJ excelled exceptionality in his horse riding, taking part in various jumping- and cross country shows, bringing home several red rosettes. Josua also took part in his first show jumping event and received two rosettes.

At the beginning of this year CJ also started answering the Apologia Science Question of the week competition. He won two (international) rounds!

Heidi-Mari has just started her own card making blog. From this week she started participating in a Friday Sketch challenge on one of her favorite card making blogs. She doesn’t have any fear about participating in a challenge with hundreds of other expert card making ladies from around the world. She has the confidence to do her best and see what happens. We always encourage our children to do their best, and leave the rest up to God.

It is very comforting to look back over the past year and to see how the Lord had ‘crafted’ my children’s talents, gifts and character through home schooling and that there is no lack of opportunities to excel in the competitive world, although they are in “an isolated, home situation, with no peers to compete with”. God is faithful, like always. He knows the future of my children, He knows what challenges to expose them to, to become the person He wants them to be, to accomplish the calling He has put on their lives. Home schooling has by no means inhibited my children’s opportunity to become used to the competitive world. On the contrary, since they are home schooled they have more opportunity to focus on their passions, to give their best and excel above their peers. In most of the competitions that my children took part they competed against older children, even against adults!

On Saturday CJ and Josua both received trophies at Camelot’s Prize Giving Event.

Josua received the trophy for Most Enthusiastic Rider in the age group above 8 years up to adults (he is only 9 years old) and CJ received the trophy for Most Competitive Rider in the age group above 8 years up to adults.

This has nothing to do with ‘bright’ children, it has all to do with walking the road God shows, trusting Him with your child’s best interest, sitting back and enjoy the ride, with God in the driver’s seat!

Ps 37 is one of my favorite Psalms. In those first years of home schooling, the Lord has comforted me many times through the solid truths found in Ps 37.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
Ps 37:2.


Nikki said...

That was very encouraging to read Linnie! The sport question comes up often-especially from dad's I find. I totally agree: The Lord knows the plans He has for our children's lives, so surely He will guide them and us to choose what they would excel at! My daughter will be starting ballet next year-she is so excited! I'm looking forward to seeing my children's interests develop. My biggest challenge is trusting for provision for those interests-but yes, the Lord is our Provider too, so surely he'll make a way!

Linnie said...

Hi Nikki
I'm so glad this encouraged you! A few years ago I read an article by Nancy Campbell (from Above Rubies) on how the Lord provided for her six children's interests and talents. It encouraged me so much, to know I just need to trust my Heavenly Father.
May you have a blessed week!

AutumnVine said...

Dankie Linnie, dis bemoedigend om te weet dat God so vir julle voorsien het. Nou kan julle terug kyk en sien die pad is reg. Dit bemoedig my waar ons nog net maar begin.
Geluk aan julle seuns wat deur harde werk en God sulke lof kry.

Linnie said...

Dankie vir die inloer AV!
Jy is reg, dit is ook bemoedigend vir ons geloof van vandag, om te sien hoe God voorsien het in die verlede en te weet wat is Sy beloftes vir die toekoms. Elke dag is daar maar nuwe uitdagings en skille op ons oë wat wil maak dat ons benoud word...
Ek is bly dit het jou bemoedig.

Sonja said...

Dit is mos die goed wat n mens opgewonde maak! Om ons kinders se vordering en geluk te sien maak alles die moeite werd!

Petra said...

Yes God surely provides all those opportunities for participation. It is amazing to see how well home-educated children handle themselves in these circumstances and around people of ALL ages. That is one thing that a school cannot resemble when children are put among their peer group only. Very encouraging when one can look back and share on God's faithfulness. (Well done to all the children as well!)

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