And those unique homeschooler passions have been displayed in the media lately.
Sterling Quinn of Rainier Beach, Washington has spent 2 and 1/2 years following his passion. The yo-yo hit his 11 year old radar with intensity and he’s proceeded on to become the Pacific Northwest Yo-Yo state champion.
From the Columbus Dispatch, in the Hobbies section; Teen learns ups, downs of toy to become champion May 30, 2007
Paula Bock, Seattle Times, writes:
Sterling, 13, appears onstage as a blur of elbow and lean limb.
He wears braces, an impish smile and large brown eyes that widen in wonder and delight after executing a hard trick such as bumping an off-string yo-yo with his knee, catching it in his black baseball cap and flipping the toy back onto its string.
He fears, most of all, that he’ll someday get bored with yo-yoing and abandon the beloved snarls of string that snooze under his bed.
Apparently they don’t snooze under his bed for long. But it makes me wonder what’s snoozing right now under my kids’ beds that might spark a particular passion at the right time in the right place. One long standing, but non-certified homeschool trick is to place a book or other object of great learning interest onto the coffee table. Place it there and leave. Let treasure sit and come back in an hour or so and observe that the kid has it 6 inches from their nose studying it carefully.
Sterling’s parents seem to know the ‘trick’. Mary Ann Quinn (who also calls herself “Yo Yo Ma”) says:
“Our philosophy is if there’s something he really likes to do, research it, let him read whatever he can about it, get him involved in it.”
It looks like a promising future in store for Sterling, who is already signed on with the yo-yo company, Extreme Spin. Even if he moves on to a different passion in his later years (of teenhood).
Following that, in her post, Homeschooled Winners, Judy found an article from Washington Dateline, Homeschoolers and the Bee, that asked: What is it about home-schooled students that make them such competitive spellers.
The writer, Gil Klein studies that question and the homeschooling personalities participating in the Spelling Bee. And the conclusion to his question seems to be that; It’s the passion.
In the article, James McGuire puzzled me with this comment:
“Within the culture of homeschoolers, the spelling bee is seen as a hallowed event that you don’t make fun of”
I guess it is as hallowed an event as anything homeschoolers like to do. Our “hallowed” event locally is the Share Fair every May where the kids show their stuff. Whether it’s a musical piece, the times table or a poem by a 5 year old, who has the added confidence of sitting on mom’s lap during the recitation.
Continuing McGuire’s quote he said:
Every year, about 30 or 40 contestants are hypercompetitive – they honestly love studying spelling – and many of them are homeschoolers, he said.
Even though 12 year old Josiah Wright’s mother “never taught him spelling”, he loves the big words. Including his favorite word: humuhumunukunukuapuaa. (Spellcheck is all a’dither.) My favorite word has always been Mississippi, particularly while crossing “Old Man River”. The flow of the word was always great fun to shout out from the back seat of the station wagon across that long bridge.
As Mr. Klein observed: “Homeschooling has given him [Josiah] the time to pursue his passion“.
Immediately after relating Josiah’s story though, Brian Ray is quoted:
“We know that people who home school are interested in the old-fashioned basics, so they probably do emphasize spelling.”
In reading the homeschooling spelling whizzes’ stories in this article, his quoted conclusion doesn’t seem to acknowledge the passion for words that these kids seem to have.
Virginia’s 12 year old Rebecca Willet, who hopes to be a concert pianist, has a mother who organizes the bees. But as Kim Willet says, “”They happen to love it, so it’s okay.”
And Floridian Justin Murdock:
“I can do my school work real fast if I’m by myself. Then have a whole lot of time to do my spelling.”
And what does he do for fun?
“Sometimes I catch myself making up words, using what I know about prefixes and suffixes,” he said. “Then I look them up in the dictionary to see if they’re real words.”
Justin, and the others seem to have a passion. And the time to follow it.
Posted by Susan Ryan