Friday, August 11, 2017

No One Can Say He's Not Ambitious!

I hesitate to use the word "behind" to describe either how we're doing in homeschooling or how I'm doing in life.  Why?  Because in homeschooling, my basic philosophy of education is that learning is something fun that should be happening all the time (and is, in a natural state of things), not something that needs to be artificially prescribed to happen at a set time, or else.  (Who gets to make the call about what math must be studied in fourth grade and when world history should be learned, anyway??)  And in life, if I get started on the "I'm behind" track, I will never, ever, ever get off it...because I will never, ever, ever be able to catch up.

With that in mind, I rarely let myself apply the "behind" label.

But if I ever did, it might be used to describe Josiah's school situation here in the late summer of 2017.  ;-)

You see, his 9th grade year was more challenging than ever before; and the two subjects that took the vast majority of his time during the traditional school year were biology (that he took from a wonderful teacher at a local homeschool high school group) and NCFCA (the speech and debate group he's part of).  Between keeping up with assignments for biology, and preparing speeches for NCFCA, and being gone at tournaments, and being involved in the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir, and volunteering at the library, and all the other things that are part of life, Josiah got a little behind (oh no! I said that word!) in his math, American history, and American literature--the math being delayed in part by some computer troubles that prevented him from using his Teaching Textbooks (oh how I love Teaching Textbooks, so I don't have to teach math!!!) CDs to move along as he had intended.

As the school year went by and we watched this predicament develop, Josiah and I talked it over and realized that, especially because of the time demands of NCFCA, he would need to end up using this summer to complete his 9th grade work.  He understood the situation and wasn't bothered by it.  It's just how it was.  No biggie.

The summer began, and he did some of his school work, but then July hit, most of which was taken up by Josiah's week away at Speech Camp and then the busiest fortnight of our summer.  When August began, there was still a pile of week remaining that Josiah wanted to accomplish before we officially start school again.  Let's finish 9th grade before 10th grade, shall we?  ;-)

And so, Josiah came up with a plan.  To accomplish the completion of his math and history and literature for last year, all he needed to achieve was doing three math lessons and reading two books every day.  Piece o' cake, right??  ;-)

I knew he could do it--after all, math comes pretty naturally to Josiah, and reading is almost as easy as breathing for him--but I wasn't sure he would do it.  I didn't know how tough it would be for him to stick to that pace, and I wondered if he would falter.

He hasn't.  :)

Every night, after the younger kids are in bed and the house is quiet, he sits down at the computer and cranks out three algebra lessons (unless he's feeling particularly motivated, and then he does four).  And every day, he reads.
And reads.
And reads.  :)
It's not as if the books are War and Peace or Anna Karenina; but even still, to read two a day is quite a feat.  The only one that he discovered that he just couldn't plow through was Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so he set that aside for now and will pick it up again when he finishes the rest of his (diminishing-every-day!) pile.
I love to see him reading, and I love it even more when he shares tidbits from the books with me.  If I had all the time in the world, I would sit right down with him and read all of these books, too; but since I can't do that, hearing him read aloud to me or tell me in his own words what especially captured his attention is a lot of fun.  :)
Josiah's plan, ambitious though it may be, has been working out splendidly for him; and I'm so proud of the focus and determination he has shown!

While I'm at it, let me share two other examples of his ambitious nature.  :)  First, we have kept a reading record for him since he read his first book long, long ago; and earlier today, when he was writing down the latest books he had read, he added up the total number of books he has read in his lifetime and discovered that it totaled 1,500!!  Actually, to be precise, when he first calculated it, he had read 1,499; but he had another book to read today, so when he finished that, it was exactly 1,500!  I'm pretty sure he's actually read more than that--Kindle books especially are hard to remember to write down--but to be 15 years old and have read 1,500 books is amazing, in my opinion.

Second, Josiah is on a quest to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded.  When he gets tired of reading these days and wants to take a short break, he grabs a cube and practices it, and I hear him muttering strange things as he reviews the combinations and the memory tricks he uses.  He hasn't mastered it yet, but I have no doubt that if he keeps working on it, he'll be able to solve the cube with his eyes closed.  I can't even come close to solving it with both my eyes wide open!!  ;-)

When God was mixing up the unique combination of characteristics that would make Josiah who he is, I think He might have shaken a little extra on the saltshaker labeled "Ambition!"  ;-)

A final note about Josiah: he had a mishap on a water slide yesterday (someone collided with him), and is in a significant amount of pain in his right hip.  If any of my readers think about it, we sure would be grateful for some extra prayer for him--that the pain would diminish and healing would come and that we would have wisdom to know how best to help Josiah.  Thanks so much!


Emily said...

He is an amazing young many on so many levels! You must be so proud of him! I will be praying for swift healing for him

Valerie said...

I love this. Way back, when our teens were just little. When our blogs were taken up with Tiny Talk Tuesday. When we walked in the monotony of babies and preschoolers... Never could we have imagined what our kids would be like as teens. (and to clarify, there is nothing wrong with babies or preschoolers! We both still have them in the house. I love them to pieces too.) Reading about Josiah though... what an amazing young man he is becoming! My Joseph is pretty awesome to, if I do say so myself. For all the days that I've felt "It's been a good day, I kept them alive", to see a thriving teen brings such joy to my heart. Way to go Josiah. And way to go Davene. You're doing it right.

Carol Slater said...

This young man should be molded and poured into so many young people these days. Isn't it amazing how much more ambitious home schooled children seem than those that attend public school? I am thrilled to see a young man make a plan and stick with it.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

Really and truly, Davene, that is a remarkable young man you have there! One-and-a-half-thousand books!!!

Wow. Just wow.

And yet, his determination and his stickability and his sense of duty - these traits are amazing traits to have. I look forward to seeing this young man grow through his teen years an onwards, all being well.
A x