When I was a little girl, there were lots of things I wanted to be when I grew up–mainly a writer, but also a detective, a librarian, a professional dancer, a singer/guitarist in a rock band… Well, you can see my interests were many and varied. I had teachers who encouraged my writing as a skill, but no one really ever took any of my dreams too seriously. No one told me that back then, all you had to have to be a librarian was a high school diploma. By the time I decided to go for it, I had to have college and certification to be eligible for the job. No one Ever told me the steps I might take to become a detective. And by the time I got to high school, the constraints and social tiers of public school had me just letting go of most of those dream balloons and watching them float away into the sky.
Not writing, of course. I can’t Not write. Don’t have that in me.
Anyway, when Middle approached me about 6 months ago and said he wants to be a video game designer when he grows up, I realized I had an opportunity to make his life different. So I found a wonderful unit study from The Old Schoolhouse called “I Wanna Be a Video Game Designer” from the WannaBe Series. I printed it out, hole-punched it, put it in a binder (you know my love of binders!) with some school paper, and told him to read the unit and start writing down his ideas.
I swear, that kid never goes Anywhere without that binder. He has come up with ideas for 3 video games, and has notes on everything from levels to characters to skill trees to settings. He talks about designing constantly. He reads magazines and e-articles about designing. We’ve researched the best degree to aim for in order to be a designer. He has started to learn coding, though it has been a bit of trial and error, since the little I know about coding comes from writing this blog.
But here’s the thing. Today, my favorite thing about homeschooling is that whatever my Littles decide they’re interested in, they can learn about it. Even if I don’t know much about it, I can find resources and peers who can point me in the right direction. Even if I’m not remotely interested in it, I can act enthusiastic and encourage them to follow that dream to fruition or till it dies of its own accord. I can set them up to learn extracurricular-ly or I can make it part of our curriculum like I did with chemistry. They have the time to put real effort into it and as long as they have Mama being their constant cheerleader, they truly can do Anything they put their minds to.
I can’t wait to play Middle’s first video game, even though I don’t even like video games. I believe he will design one. ( If you saw his borderline obsessive behavior, you would too. haha)
Sometimes, as homeschool parents, it is our job to sit back and listen. Find out what our littles want out of life, even if they are only 10 and 12, or 6, or 3. Let Them lead us. The absurd fact that we’re grown-ups does not always make us right. It doesn’t even make us smarter. If we listen, we can encourage, and if we encourage, we blow our littles’ lives wide open. The possibilities are truly endless. And they don’t have let go of those strings and let their dreams float away. They cried when they lost balloons when they were small. Do you think it feels any different to them now?