Way Beyond the Cul-de-sac

Several years ago (wow, I can hardly believe it has been that long) I wrote the following statements in our family charter:

We are actively putting less emphasis on being good at everything (preparing for the standardized tests) and are allowing our children to explore the activities and subjects that they are passionate about. We want to encourage them to find their passion and go broader and deeper. We feel strongly that this will provide our children with a sense of achievement and fulfillment, something that is rarely provided by simply graduating on the regular 4×4 plan. (Four years of high school and four years of college.)

We want to encourage our children to take advantage of opportunities that will enhance their knowledge of their current course of study (or passion.) This will include travel (of course), classes, internships and entrepreneurial adventures, etc.

Our oldest children are now at the age where they are truly exploring their passions and going deeper and broader!  They are working hard every single day to achieve personal goals.  And today, one of our children also took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself when we moved to China!

That child is Bella!

Bella (age 15) took a huge step today toward adulthood and registered for her first University class!  She will be attending Nanjing University’s Long-term Chinese Language Training along with Eric.  (We have known for a couple of weeks that her application was accepted, but she did not want to tell anyone until registration!)

Tomorrow Eric and Bella sit for their first placement exam, and according to administration, Xuxu “has better Chinese than her father,”  but we already knew that!  (Eric pointed out that she will probably outshine him during the entire program, and they also agreed! ROFLOL!)  The plan is to put her in the same language class with Eric this year so that they can attend class, study together and acclimate her to the university life.  Then, next year, while Eric goes off and takes boring classes like, business Chinese, we will let her widen her horizons with classes like Chinese poetry, philosophy, calligraphy, history and art.

We are also in the process of finding her a viola teacher.  For now, her life will revolve around Chinese language, viola, seminary and math. After this two year program, she will continue her studies through BYU concurrent enrollment and Independent Study until she leaves on her mission.

I don’t need to tell you that our girl is OVER THE MOON with excitement.

Update: Bella scored level 3 out of 8 on the placement test and we have started viola lessons with the principle violist of the Jiangsu Provincial Symphony Orchestra.   Additional update: She continues to stay at the top of her class after two semesters!

P.S.  In addition to our family charter, Bella was heavily influenced by a book called Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.  If you want to motivate and empower your children, I highly recommend this book.  One caution though, do not read this book before bed time.  It sets a mind to work with dreams and plans, and the ability to sleep will escape even the most exhausted child!

Diclosure:  I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com and may receive a commission on referrals or sales generated by this message.  This is one of the many ways that we are paying for this adventure.

5 Responses

  1. Ginger says:

    It is so fun to watch children blossom.

  2. Val in MD says:

    Proud of you, Bella!

  3. Joanel says:

    I am so happy for Bella and Eric. I know you both work really hard and that lots of joy comes from your hard work. Enjoy!

  4. How exciting! What a wonderful opportunity…and in a different country and language too.

  5. Heidi says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how much you all inspire me! Way to go Bella!! I needed to read this today as we were at the library and a mom of a former classmate of Viv’s started grilling her on why she was no longer in public school…the child is not yet 6!! Then she pulled out some Brainquest cards and started asking my kids questions that hers were answering more quickly. She had a smirk on her face and I wanted to say, “So your kids can beat mine at Jeopardy.. woop de doo. But mine today studied the Book of Mormon and why the Jaredite society was destroyed and then we studied the components of blood and made a model showing plasma, white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets and the function of each. And then as part of Black History Month we finished up what a godly man George Washington Carver was, and studied Rosa Parks. And did copy work with a quote from an apostle of the Lord.” Of course she would not have cared, but I really did want to say something. I was proud of myself for just walking away. Why people think they have to grill homeschooled kids on things like math facts just ANNOYS me. And the question she asked Viv and her daughter from the Brainquest card that her daughter answered faster? “Who huffed and puffed and blew the house down in the story of the 3 Little Pigs?” Thanks, but I’ll take my daughter’s learning gospel principles and the Civil RIghts movement today FAR over the Big Bad Wolf. ROFL! I am SOLD on kids finding their passion and following it rather than receiving a conveyor belt education.