Friday, May 19, 2017

Big milestone, a proud mom, and a note on homeschooling




From the UNCA website:

Cromer graduated first in scholarship as the university’s 2017 Manly E. Wright Award winner and is headed next to Cornell University where he has earned a full scholarship. He will pursue a doctorate in theoretical astronomy, having had the goal to be a research scientist since arriving at UNC Asheville. “I had in mind becoming a research scientist so that I could spend my time studying a subject I love,” said Cromer speaking to his fellow graduates. “But at UNC Asheville, through all the people around me and the experiences I’ve had, I learned that this isn’t all I want to do. I want to have a meaningful social impact on the world.”

My note:

We homeschooled both our children their entire lives, and by homeschooling, I mean we provided resources, spent time exploring the world, and gave them the freedom to explore their interests and develop passions. My mantra was First Do No Harm; children have a natural curiosity and love of discovery and learning that begins at birth and gradually develops. Having worked as a research assistant in child development studies, and later with many children who were not successful in school when I was a psychotherapist in the public sector, I developed my own theories about what might keep this love of learning intact. Again, it was mostly choosing NOT TO DO THINGS TO THWART IT. 

I am so very proud of my son for all his hard work and achievement as an undergraduate. And I'm glad I trusted my own instincts and did not cave in when it was hinted at and sometimes bluntly stated that I was "ruining" my children by homeschooling them. I didn't do a perfect job and there were times I failed miserably, but I managed to avoid the very deep pit of making learning dull. 



14 comments:

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What a brilliant way to celebrate Mother's Day!
Congratulations billie :D

billie said...

Thank you! My mom traveled with us to the commencement ceremony and that was wonderful too. And we found a farm sitter - someone we have known for a long time, whose mom actually taught both my kids how to ride, and who has years of equine vet tech experience. It was pretty spectacular to be able to leave the November Hill crew in such capable, caring hands. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Wow! You should be proud of your sons accomplishments. He couldn't have done it without your and your husbands excellent tutoring and great philosophy on learning. Congratulations! It was great you all got to be there at his graduation.

P.S. if you decide to visit us when you're at Cornell,we'd love to see you.

Matthew said...

Such an amazing accomplishment! What I liked most about his speech was the discussion about the need to balance academic excellence with excellence in how we treat one another as human beings.

billie said...

It was a very good speech. :)

billie said...

A, he found his apartment on Thursday and we'll be sorting out when the big move will take place. I will be in touch!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great!

billie said...

:)

nuri said...

Since this blog post, and how I enjoyed reading it, has been on my mind, on and off, for several days, I feel I should share my comment after all that I had written on the spur of the moment (but then deleted, a habit of mine):

"Ah, to have been "ruined" in this way, what a privilege for your children! It is evident that you opened the door to the world - the universe! - for them, and to a meaningful and successful career and personal/social life. No one raising a child could possibly have a better, bigger dream, and you made it happen! It doesn't concern me, but I'm elated!!"

So - fast radio bursts, eh? Aha! ;-)

billie said...

Thank you, nuri - I so so appreciate your comment. I hope that what we did as they grew and developed did in fact open the door for them - that is, in a nutshell, what I hoped to do, and tried hard not to mess up. I have a photo of my son in what were favorite pajamas when he was just barely walking and they were printed with stars and moons and planets. :) Perhaps a foreshadowing that neither of us even realized at the time!

The funny thing is that now both my children are in a way homeschooling ME. Because of them I read physics and biology and neurobiology and while I can't do the math of any of it, I am fascinated with all of it.

And happy that you shared your comment, as I always am when you do!

nuri said...

Now get this, the neatest coincidence:
Every once in a while I skim a science magazine, Spektrum, and last night one headline immediately caught my attention. In my inadequate translation, it read, "Mysterious radiation burst repeats itself". Hm, could it be...? Naturally, I dove into the article and, sure enough, it was about FRBs!! It was a translation of the original article published in Quanta magazine (4/18/17, in case you haven't read it yet), "A Cosmic Burst Repeats, Deepening a Mystery". So I read the original as well - and would like to think that I now have a scintilla of a vague idea... of a fascinating subject I had never heard of prior to your post. Isn't that the most splendid coincidence?!

billie said...

Wow!! I love it! I do get Quanta via my email and have them stacked up awaiting perusal. I have fallen off my habit of reading nonfiction/science every morning and I think I'm going to use that time to catch up on the articles. I'll look for that one first. :)

I have found that when reading some of what my kids send me, their recommendations, I sometimes get lost in things I don't understand, but if I just let that go and read with intention, I get a lot more that I expect to out of the words. I should get my son to write a guest post for me with a "beginner's guide to FRBs" - he does an amazing job at explaining things, as does my daughter. I think we should all read things that push us to struggle a bit with the material - keeps the brain sharp. :)

nuri said...

"...stacked up awaiting perusal" - sounds familiar! So many adventures, so little time... And I agree about the reward of just reading on with intention; I'm rather used to my poor little brain capitulating, but then I can happily make do with simple wonder and awe...

A beginner's guide to FRBs?! I love the idea, and I would definitely read it (definitely more than once:))! The ability to explain even highly complex things in an understandable way is a wonderful gift. Like Feynman - oh here's a thought, maybe your son will be on PBS one day and talk about his research and discoveries and upbringing, just like Richard Feynman did so wonderfully!! (I happened to be in the US at the right time to catch his talk, loong time ago; had never heard of RF but "fell in love" right away, even wrote in for a transcript. He said his dad always encouraged him to ask questions... - full circle!)

OK, I'm sorry I'm getting carried away here. Luckily for you, I'm an utter idiot when it comes to numbers, and I've been "traumatized" by calculus... so I probably will not badger you with endless remarks about how I'm in awe of your daughter's brain power... Thank you for bearing with me so far!

billie said...

Oh, no, I love it! Feynman is a revered person in our household. His lectures are in my "to read" pile thanks to both son AND daughter. :)

Daughter's interests are neurobiology and biophysics - she is very interested in Robert Sapolsky's work and I suspect once she gets rolling with research (her neurobiology professor this semester wrote on her final paper: GET IN A LAB!!!) you might be completely smitten as I am already. :)

When son visited Caltech last summer he met with Sean Carroll - whose books he has given me for Christmas and I loved reading them - and thanks to son, I was able to meet Sean briefly. It was a total fan girl moment. I don't have the math but Sean Carroll brings physics alive for those of us who don't, in a very clear and elegant writing style. Totally recommend him if you haven't read his work! And Robert Sapolsky's too - to get a sense of where my future mom pride posts might go.

I am so envious of your hearing Feynman speak!!! Would love to hear more about that.