Are we under-achievers? If so, I guess I’m really happy with it.
As I’m reading about colleges and scholarships, I’m struck by how stellar other people’s children are! It seems just about “everyone’s” children feed the hungry on Monday, give advice to NASA on Tuesday, swim in the Olympic trials on Wednesday (but only if it doesn’t compete with church, where they teach 4 classes and sign interpretively for the pastor!), contribute as a guest columnist for the city paper on Thursday, and perform off-Broadway on Fridays. All that, of course, is only after all of their school work is done by 10am, including the “extra” college courses they are taking and the scale model of ancient Cairo they built out of all organic materials, just for fun. Now…let’s talk about the weekends!
Maybe this isn’t funny to you if you’re not a homeschooler… although, come to think of it, I guess it could just as easily apply to very motivated regular-schoolers.
It was written by a mom on a homeschooling forum I sporadically visit. The topic was actually about prep for college, or at least, life after school, if one’s child isn’t a SuperHomeschooler who will likely get tons of academic scholarships. (I’d post the link here, but it’s a private forum.)
That particular subject isn’t one that I’m highly concerned with, at this point, but what she describes has made me roll my eyes (and shy from homeschooling groups) on many an occasion. We have some things in which we’re involved, but for the most part, we just spend our time, uh, learning and being a family. We’re not super-achievers, we don’t even try to keep up with the Joneses, let alone best them.
Our neighbors across the street are way-super-mega high energy high achievers, yet manage to do it without that stinky whiff of better-than-thou-ness that so often accompanies that sort of folk. So, I know that it is possible to be extremely active and involved, travelling the world, collecting accolades, and marrying doctors whilst keeping your head straight on your shoulders… but most of the families I have met like the ones described in the above quote are ones that I’d really rather not spend any of my time with. I’m not sure why that is. I guess I just don’t relate with the drive required for, and the motivation behind, that which produces such stellar results.
I guess, now that I think about it, for me, it’s the same reasoning behind why I don’t get a job. Too many women who work do so to support a nice wardrobe, a new car, pricey furniture, and a pool in the backyard. Now, I’d like all those things, I must admit. But, I’m not so motivated to have them that I’ll leave my kids 40+ hours a week to get them. I’ll keep my clearance-rack clothes, 8yo vehicle, couches from Craigslist, and a Slip’N’Slide. Know what I mean? Some things — to me — just aren’t worth the loss of an intimate family life: playing catch in the (poolless) backyard, flying kites at the park, homecooked dinners, and events like tonight, where the three boys (and Daddy) sat around our family room coffee table, sharing colored pencils, excitedly planning their vision of what our family’s gingerbread house will look like.
Those aren’t the sort of “extracurricular activities” that can fill a scholarship application, but it makes the years at home rich.