Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Willow Smith

She's homeschooled, she's an entertainer, she's been all over the world and country, and she's behind on her math. as per her self-report. There are bunch of parents voicing their pissiness about it, and I wonder if they have thought it all through. Willow probably knows more than the average 15 year old, and that is because she's been exposed to so much more than the average 15 year old in her 10 years on this Earth. When it's time to take the SAT, if she even bothers to take the SAT, she will probably do better than most because studies show that kids who are exposed to more do better. There is no evidence that math drills or knowing how to factor at age 10 has any impact on your future. Let's face it, both her parents skipped college, although they are very very intelligent, and are living a life many of us will only dream of. They are teaching her about how to build an empire, by taking her to fashion shows to learn fashion. They are teaching her how to present herself to the world in humble, confident, and gracious manner. Most 10 years I know aren't nearly as poised as she is.

As I walk this homeschooling journey, with my 9 year old, I find myself truly relating to Willow's parents. My nine-year old is into fashion, and she's a heck of a designer (her parents are too). She helped me design the two earrings pictured. This semester we did photography, and she is very skilled. She took the images in this post. She is also a heck of a model, actress, and she has a head for business.

I teach her the basics of education, and allow her to read, read, read, but I find that I am tasked with a much higher calling for her education. Like Willow, she is ready for her apprenticeship in design, fashion, modeling, and and life. I keep those lessons at the top of what she needs to learn, while skillfully striking a balance in math, science, history, etc. Teaching her has been a teachable moment for me. I can't be afraid to use videos, museum classes, computer projects, youtube, music, conversation, and sometimes I have to allow her to supervise me in order for her to reach the heights of where she is to go. When she brought up middle school the other day, I had explain to her that I believe that she is too big for school. She is an Eagle and school sometimes teaches us to be pigeons. She understood and agreed that middle might be a phase that she wants to skip.

What do you think? Do you have a child that doesn't fit the mold? Tell me about your creativity in education? Is being conventional best? Can a creative education get us to college? Is college important? Does exposure count as education? Tell me.


  1. First, your daughter and the jewelry is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

    I love that you have the ability to see your child as she truly is at this moment. I, like you, feel that this journey of homeschooling if full of opportunities to learn, explore and GROW. I'm all for teaching what your child is passionate about and running with it.

    Honestly, I think you are doing a great job by not only embracing her talents, but allowing her explore ALL of her possiblilities that her talents can take her. It's the true beauty of homeschooling. We don't have to treat nor teach our children in parts, but as whole beings. It's a beautiful thing to see you do this with your little one.

    Best of luck and have a fabulous Holiday Season!!!

  2. Thank Yvonne. This homeschooling thing is a blessed thing.

  3. My only advice is to be sure you don't "decide" who she is and lead her down a pre-determined path. The person my son is today is not the one he was last year, last month, last week, or even yesterday. A young life is an ever changing experience.

    My son is soooooooo artistic. He draws, photographs, creates, etc . . . and I just knew he would end up being an artist and *gently* tried to guide him in that direction.

    Guess what? He pushed. And pushed. And pushed.

    I couldn't figure out why. He obviously loved the arts. LOVED them!

    After sitting back and releasing him from my agenda (even though I thought it was his) I realized that he enjoyed art on his own terms in his own way. He didn't desire an artistic education. He actually flourished in a highly structured traditional environment.

    He liked having his own creative, artistic outlet, but he didn't want my interference, instruction, or interpretation of his art. He wanted HIS art to be HIS private oasis.

    Now he's majoring in Biology in college. Believe me, I NEVER saw that coming. Never. Not in a million years.

    He reminds me of another friend I have who has a PhD in Chemistry, but is a (very successful) jewelry designer. I asked her how on earth that came about and she told me it was a natural transformation. She feels that her deep understanding of chemical reactions helps her to create the most unique and beautiful jewelry she can . . . and she does EXCELLENT work.

    Anyway . . . I say all of this to just remind you that there is no real path that any child must take. Every path much be forged by its creator. Sit back. Observe. Relax. The path your child chooses will have to be her own. Relieve her of any obstacles and then get out of the way . . . she will grow into who she is meant to become.

    Just let her "whip her hair" in any way she feels necessary.

  4. Thanks MOM#1 for the reminder. I am actually a scientist turned artist as well, so I am very aware of paths changing. I also have a teenager who is in a music program, but is still not sure if she wants to be something much more structured or less structured. There is quite a balance to strike between exposure and guidance. I am trying to make it work, but I do take my cues from the children, and I let them know about my own journey, and encourage them to take self-assessments often.

  5. I LOVE what you are doing with your kids, teaching them to develop that "apprentice" mindset and discover life at their own pace. That is one of the beauties, of course, of home education...kids don't need to be squished into a box called standardized testing (not that I'm against it). But in reality, what matters more- that for one year of kid's life she falls a little behind in mathematics, or that for one year of her life, she discovers a true passion-turned-business and creates something larger than herself. Willow can always catch up on her math...but I think it's really cool that she has the opportunity to experience life first-hand, travel and have an avid understanding of people and places around her. (Plus make some money!!)