When Will Kgirl Graduate?

Twice now in the last couple months, I’ve been asked when Kgirl will graduate, and I’ve stumbled badly in answering it.  It’s an innocent enough question, after all the majority of the world thinks in terms of graduation as a transition point to adult hood. But it doesn’t apply here.

A traditional graduation is a rite of passage, a benchmark saying that the student has finished a prescribed course of study and is ready to move on to college or life.

A few years ago, Kgirl had a plan to “graduate” by the time she was 16, in 2013 or 2014. But she ditched that plan as her thinking about education and learning, and how it applies to her life, evolved. So that no longer applies.

If she wanted to attend public or private high school, she could have entered as a freshman last year or this year, which would have had her “graduating” in 2014 or 2015.

But Kgirl started this “high school” journey a few years ago, so the traditional plan doesn’t apply either.

You see, Kgirl and I have come to the point where she is creating her own path, her own timeline.

I am a facilitator, a guide, a sounding board, an advisor. But she is creating her path, based on what she is interested in and where she wants to go.

When will she be ready to move on to the next point in her life? I’m not sure. Neither is she.

She has plans. She is enroute for college. But the route she is taking is not the conventional path.

She knows her options for college. She knows her options, period. Maybe that’s the key. She knows she has options. Choices. And she chooses to consider them carefully.

In her world, she continues living, exploring her interests, learning, but not according to a prescribed course of study where there’s a finite ending point and a finite starting point for the next step. So the idea of “graduation” gets murky.

She wrote something to encourage another homeschool mom recently that I think really expresses who she is and where she is going.

“My entire life shall be an never ending series of perusing interests and hobbies and major discoveries I fully expect to die just like Leonardo Da Vinci halfway through a million projects.”   - Kate Stoltz, age 15

And as far as I’m concerned, if this continues to be her attitude. I hope she never “graduates” but just keeps on learning and exploring.

When she’s ready to move on, she will. But for now, she is having fun reading, listening, writing, exploring, studying, and living life. Will she graduate? Probably, maybe. Does it matter if she’s growing, learning, exploring, and living life?

I just don’t know how to answer this graduation question cleanly. She’ll “graduate”, whatever that means for her, when she’s ready. That may be next year, maybe in three years, who knows. For now we’re enjoying the journey she’s currently on.

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8 Responses to When Will Kgirl Graduate?

  1. Mandy says:

    What a wonderful way to respond to respond to a question that society continues to nag at our unschooled children.

  2. Shannon says:

    Thank you Mandy! Sometimes off-the-beaten path is hard to explain in conventional terms. :)

  3. Donna says:

    How totally refreshing! May your Kate follow just the path the Lord has designed for her, and may her journey be lovely!

  4. Shannon says:

    thank you Donna! that’s a wonderful thought, for He knows His plans for her. :)

  5. She is just awesome! Way to go, Mom!! :)

  6. Shannon says:

    Awww, thanks Lisa! I’m pretty biased :)

  7. Susan Hammack says:

    You are so inspiring – hitting at the heart of my own natural learning bent; yet piercing, equally my ‘mother hennish’, fearful, and controlling, perhaps God ordained desire to create a patterned, ordered, planned, and sequential curricula for my son’s learning journey. With double the need planned, and an opportunity to explore downtown 3 days a week, I tremble at the thought of another battle of the wills this school year. I know what you say is true, but wonder if it’s possible to do both, planned and ‘natural’ learning, or if just being in ‘teacher mode’ ruins the child’s creative impulse.

  8. Shannon says:

    Oh Susan, I know your heart and your training, and the quandary. I hope we get to talk IRL more. Here’s an article from Pam Sorooshiant hat may be a balm for the question “can you do both”. http://learninghappens.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/unschooling-is-not-child-led-learning/

    I love Pam’s perspective as a university professor and a homeschool mom. She sees both the end result of traditional education in her university classes and the end result of natural learning and unschooling.

    My answer is of course to look at your goals, pray, trust God, and have faith. The right path for you and your son come. If there’s a battle, it’s time to pray and adjust. Relationship is so very important, especially during the teen years.

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