Friday, May 1, 2015

I'm going back to educated!!

I'm writing essays for college scholarships and thought I'd share them here. This one is in the middle of editing so excuse the horrible punctuation. 

What Makes A Successful College Student

I could give you the normal answers; attendance, study hard, etc. But the truth is some successful students don't do any of the things we are suppose to do. I know the world sees them as passing and succeeding of course but is it really success if it isn't done with blood, sweat, and tears? I think the truly successful students have all three in their degree and don't forget passion, determination, and goals. All these things I have learned by being a homeschool mom to learning challenged kids.

Success is measured by not what you can naturally or easily achieve. My oldest son , for example, has dyslexia. We pulled him from public school in first grade. He was a SUCCESSFUL kindergartener! Top of his class, reading everything in front of him. Then he was presented in first grade with the standard cookie cutter method of “sight reading”. Imagine looking at cat and you see tac, then look again and get cta and the third time you get atc. He regressed to the point of not reading in three months. He was labeled UNSUCCESSFUL and we were told it'd be fourth grade before there was really a program to fit a dyslexic's needs.

I had to study, research, practice and plan thirty different ways to read. He had to fight tooth and nail to read Dr. Suess. Together we learned. We would practice and study everyday. Keep it short and fun if it was not clicking. Come back frequently to try again after another subject. Stay positive and never say can't! Last year was the year he would have been in fourth grade. He is joyful in his studies. He reads at his grade level and he is above and beyond in most subjects. He is a successful student, not because he doesn't get a choice on attendance, or study times. He is successful because he learned to work his weakness into his strengths. He learned determination and goals set and achieved are something to be proud of. And these hard won lessons will stay with him for the rest of his life, it shows in everything he does.

My daughter on the other hand....she was successful from the start. Successful at getting out of things, and manipulating others to do it for her. She batted her eyes and pointed and everyone fell over themselves to do it for her. It's what happens when you're cute and sickly. She was handed things on a platter and it drove me mad! Why could no one see beyond the silence and cuteness and see an overwhelmingly intelligent and intuitive child?!

When we started homeschooling it was a battle of a different sort between her and I. The first day is one I'll never forget. It was simple really, I requested she write her numbers to twenty. Five minutes later she got down and went to play. I went to check her work after finishing with her brother and saw she had only written one through eight. I called her over and asked her if she knew what came after nine, she smiled and nodded and turned to go play again. I stopped her and explained she needed to finish her work first. She looked at me, looked at the paper, sighed and sat down. Five minutes go by and she is silently sitting there staring at me. I look at her paper and again one through eight is there in her big squiggly handwriting. When I ask her if she knows what comes after eight again (I know she truly knows this already) she nods and goes to get down again. I tell her, “Evie, you must finish your work first.” She looks up at me and says, “But this is all the farther they ever made me in school.”

Thirty minutes later she hands me a paper with one through fifty written in perfect block squiggles only a kindergartener has. Did she do it because I patiently explained she needed to finish her work? No, there was quite the battle of wills that day and I ended it by telling her there would be no art class without math finished first. All things shiny and messy having the appeal that they do she begrudgingly did her work. When I asked her why she did more than required she stated simply, “I want to get ahead before tomorrow's art class.”
She is a successful student not because it comes easy to her, but because she sees the opportunity to learn is multifaceted and she is passionate about learning itself. She is eager and even when things come to her intuitively she doesn't take it for granted because the next lesson is around the corner and might take extra work. She, like her brother, has a learning challenge but to her it's something to compete against. Telling her she can't is a sure fire method to see something happen because she has passion to be the best and prove others wrong. She no longer is considered a selective mute, now she'll talk your ear off usually about a subject that seems boring to some but the sparkle and enthusiasm will catch you too, and soon you're nodding and smiling with her.

So you see to me....being a successful student is being a student like the ones I've raised. I want to be determined and goal oriented. I want to be passionate about the subject, so passionate that I turn others on to it. I want to look back at the ones who challenged me and know that I exceeded all expectations. I want to be like my kids.