Saturday, August 23, 2008

A thirst for learning and a teenager - imagine!

Earlier this summer, our youngest son, who knew nothing about electronics or televisions, decided to build a projection television system. With NO experience in electricity, electronics, lenses, etc., he set out on a learning adventure to build one of these systems on his own. Of course, Dad helped along the way with GREAT interest. :-)

The system is now up and running, with a screen shot that can go up to 124" - when they played a snowboarding game through the system, it felt like I was on the slopes myself! The clarity was amazing, and now they are living for the start of college football next week - lifesize and upclose. I'll be in the den, writing...

This project taught our son so much - about how much he didn't know, how to find answers, how systems work, and on and on. I was amazed at how motivated he was to accomplish this - staying at it for hours at a time, and then working on it with Dad for hours each evening. So much learning and interest - I was surrounded by self-motivated learners and loving it. Even if he won't get into electricity in this depth until physics next year.

So here I sit, with an eager-to-learn-more fifteen year old who loves to pursue an interest with a passion - wanting to know what he can do next with electronics. Hmmm...

I enrolled him in the Electronics 1 online class at taught by a college electronics professor and homeschooling dad. I ordered the electronics kit for the class, and HID it in my office until this past Monday when the class began. First thing Monday morning, my son came down bright and early, searching for the kit and ready to get the class underway.

He opened the kit and couldn't get it all out on the table fast enough - he could not wait to begin the first lesson. I left him at it for a few hours, didn't smell anything burning, and kept an ear out for unexpected snaps, pops or crackles. Not a sound, UNTIL he discovered how to build a circuit involving sound and sensors and a potentiometer - and then I thought aliens had invaded! :-)

He had completed the entire week's worth of lessons, taken the online test, got a perfect score, and then moved on to see just what he could do with all of the components. This is going to be VERY interesting.

I am sharing all of this, and hopefully not boring you, to show that there are so many unique interests and gifts in our children that we have yet to uncover! I would NEVER have expected this child to absolutely thrive in the world of electrons - I could never get him to sit still for a few minutes when he was a toddler! I am thrilled that we've discovered a new interest and intrinsic knack for knowing how to create with all of these parts, and it reminds me that we've had these "aha" moments with each child.

When we first started homeschooling, I thought it would be great to be able to do things with the children that involved their interests - perfect! However, the first thing our daughter wanted to do was to learn how to sew. TO SEW?? I didn't know how to sew, and I had hated home ec and sewing and all things having to do with fabric - what was I going to do now?

To make a long story short, I received a new sewing maching for my birthday that year, and our daughter taught herself how to sew. She went on to become quite a gifted seamstress and quilter and entered a quilt in the local county fair and won a prize for her effort! She had worked so hard to follow her interest, and we had done all that we knew to accomplish her goal. She is now a very gifted veterinarian and talented surgeon - can you imagine what might have happened if I had said - no, not sewing - I don't know anything about sewing, how about crocheting? :-) 

Thanks for hanging in there with this post, and I hope that it encourages you as you venture down this path with your own very gifted and talented children.

Amanda B.

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