Monday, May 10, 2010

A Lesson in Life

Welcome to another edition of "Before the Invention of the Wheel."  I graduated from a "traditional school" -- a very good traditional school.  In all my years of junior high and high school, however, I never clearly remember covering the same information twice; too much going on, cram for the test and forget it just as quickly.  So, I guess it's a good thing when Christine says to me, "We just did this!"  She must remember something from year to year.  Unfortunately, most academic plans repeat the same information every other year or so, reinforcing important concepts and adding new ones as students' abilities mature.  It's great for assuring strong foundations, but can present a challenge when reviewing "dry" material.  I keep a close eye on homeschooling sites and email chains to find new and creative ways to present some of this material.  When Civics became part of our schedule this year, I cringed.  I knew Christine had to review it; she was capable of a more in depth investigation of government and statesmanship.  But, frankly, after the 2008 election, which we dissected and ransacked at length, I'd had enough government.  Enter: Teen Pact.

Teen Pact is an organization that offers leadership training from a Christian standpoint; their goal is to encourage and train youth to make an impact on their country through statesmanship and Christ-directed leadership.  They host many different events and camps.  Christine reluctantly attended their PA State Capital Class last week.

Christine has never been away from home for more than a weekend.  She is not a politico or a prodigy.  She'd probably wear last year's Uggs at clearance prices before she wore a dress.  She likes being homeschooled, but refuses to call herself a "homeschooler," likening homeschoolers to aliens or veal.  And the last time she voluntarily opened her Bible was when she slept with her "Beginner's Bible" under her pillow, and would look at the cartoons before drifting off to sleep.  Teen Pact was not exactly something she was happily anticipating.

Shopping together for her new wardrobe surprised Scott and I; attending the class, passing the class, and really liking it surprised her.  From the first outfit she tried on without complaint, until we dragged her from the capital on Thursday, Christine seemed to mature right before our eyes.  She enthusiastically spoke of new friendships, proudly and confidently showed us around the capital, and blushed with happiness when she showed us her test scores.  At some point, I wish I'd gotten it in writing, she spoke of going back next year!  She had stepped outside her comfort zone, tried something completely foreign to her and learned not only could she surpass her own expectations, but others can as well.  The stereotypes she clung to on Monday were memories by the end of the class.  As parents, Scott and I look for opportunities to teach and challenge our children; we both know how good accomplishment, independence and maturity can feel, and this was no different -- we knew she could make it, maybe even like it.  Turns out, at least for now, she knows it too.  

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