Growing a Leader




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This week was all about college activities for my daughter.  Recently, she finished up her midterms, and now is working on a 7 page essay.  I am so glad that we did a lot of work on essay writing during her high school years, as that has prepared her well...for college writing.

She is serving as VP for her college dance club/class this year. Monday, she joined the other dance club students and helped host for the World of Dance competition.  Here they are, with some of the dancers.


 Afterwards they headed out for hamburgers.






My previously very shy daughter (....when she was little) is taking on leadership opportunities at college!  I think that the electives that she had done, during high school, helped to prepare her for that. Through her high school activities, she built up confidence and leadership skills, too.  And now she is becoming a leader in college, and wants to expand those skills in her coursework as well.
 
I had no idea that my daughter would want to do that, when she was young.....

Today, I'd like to share, and look back, on how my kiddo grew into a leader, starting with her early explorations, when she was little.


Growing a Leader


... It all started with making things using lots of cardboard and tape!



Above is one of her big cardboard projects, but she started making little things, always with cardboard and tape, when she was just a preschooler.  I could never buy enough tape!


One of our biggest reasons for homeschooling, was to help our daughter discover her God given gifts.  We could follow her interests, and help her to explore them, and grow them, one day at a time.  And, at the same time, give her a quality, solid education.

Through the years, my husband and I worked to support her interests, in whatever way that we could. 


We worked to support her in her efforts, in making things, doing things, and exploring things.....starting with preschool.
  
EARLY YEARS 





First it was all about art.  There were tons of art projects to be made.  Painting, fingerpainting with pudding, and coloring were her go to favorites.

 


Then, as a preschooler, she asked if she could learn ballet.  She had seen a story about ballet in a book from the library.  




I found a ballet class for little ones nearby. We were able to work that into our week, so she began soon.  She loved going to her class, 



It was so cute.  None of the kids really knew the routine, but their efforts were glorious and that was all that mattered.

We often went to the park afterwards, or with our homeschooling friends on park day.  





What better way for a preschooler to discover and develop, than through homeschooling?  


ELEMENTARY

Amid many art projects at home, we soon found a wonderful contest, called Creative Kids (Many other states have these, too) It was sponsored by our annual Spring Fair, which included competitions in animal care, cooking, art, writing, photography, and even knitting.  My daughter entered it starting in 3rd grade, and ended up continuing all the way through 10th grade.  


It became a very supportive environment for her to try out her new skills, and get feedback from other adults than mom.

She started with an entry in art.  It gave her chance to get feedback on her projects, a big step in getting out in the world, for a young child..


My daughter entered this picture the first year, and was thrilled to win second place.  They also gave her a little paragraph about her artwork, which she treasured.

MIDDLE SCHOOL 

She went on to enter many projects in the Creative Kids contest, including essays, photography, knitting projects, and then one year she to entered a knitting contest.  hey competed as to how fast they could knit!  (how funny!)  To do this, she was up in front of an audience...

Later, she entered a poem, and when they asked the kids to share their poetry aloud, she decided to participate. This was her first experience in public speaking.  Little did I know that she would come to want more. Then she got interested in science...

Discovering Science

My daughter loved watching her Science DVD's. And elementary science projects were very popular at our house ....




She wanted to learn about marine science, and spent a lot of time at our small marine science museum.   Then, in middle school, her interest in science centered around aviation.  There were lots of trips to the Museum of Flight, which became a long standing favorite.  

At home,  most of her essays that year were geared toward aviation, the history of it.  And many of her reports were written on  the different types of airplanes.  This was easy to accommodate in our homeschooling, as I just geared her English assignments to her interest!.


HIGH SCHOOL - Volunteering

Volunteering can be a great way to build confidence and leadership skills, as we know.  There are so many places that would love to have a homeschool volunteer. 

We just geared our volunteering to my daughter's interests.  Sometimes a whole family can do it together, at a food bank, humane society, by making christmas boxes, etc.
 
In 9th grade, my daughter had a chance to help out in an elementary science class.  She jumped at the chance to help out as it was science.  She loved setting up the science labs, and got to lead a lesson once a semester.  




After a few years of assisting, she had gained so much in confidence...but decided that teaching was not her calling.  But this was still a wonderful experience for her.  She knew, however, that she wanted to become a leader somehow.  And when she needed a college reference, she had one!

Discovering Leadership

Then, in high school, we heard about the Youth and Government program. (This link is to their WA program, but most states also have one, through their YMCA.) My daughter started it in 9th grade, then ran for office in 10th grade. This gave her a lot of chances to develop her leadership skills in another setting.  

This program teaches about state government, where the teens actually enact the work of the legislature, each choosing a role tp play, such as Page, Legislator, or Senator, etc.  They even write their own Bills!  

She found her niche here, realizing that she liked leading groups of her peers, such as committees, or serving as VP to her delegation.  And she can't wait for the state meeting in May, where she gets to be a mock youth court justice!   
 


And, for my daughter, this all started with projects at home using tons of cardboard and tape....
 

There are many opprotunites for leadership activities in our communities, such as:

- National Speech and Debate Association
....offering middle and high school competitions & tournaments,           and much more! They are also on Facebook

-Joining a Parks Department Teen Board
-Volunteering as a Teen Leader in Scouts, 4H, Parks, or YMCA ----Volunteering at Church, in youth programs, day camps, etc.
-Paging at the State Legislature
-Volunteering at an animal shelter
-Participating in a Play/Drama
-Helping in a class at Co-op

Learning at home gave my daughter a supportive anchor, that allowed her to step out and explore the world, one day at a time. 

....And then, returning home for quiet time with family, and for my daughter, that always included our pet cat!




It is so important for our kids to have a soft place to fall....that they know they will be loved, no matter what. Isn't that what we all strive for?

What are your children exploring these days?  Link up, and share your story...  I appreciate connecting up with you, through comments!


Have you seen my new book on college yet?



Get my best tips on college from a homeschool perspective!  Make your high school planning easier!  A great gift for your high schooler.

Kindle is $7.17 on Amazon  or read for free on Prime. 
In print on Amazon  for $9.19 

"Betsy's book is a terrific resource for homeschooling parents who are planning to send their teens to college.  As a homeschool upperclassman advisor, I can attest that the information is spot on.  Also the book is chock full of resources with links and lots of helpful forms.  Be sure you are ready to take notes while you read!"
........Vicki Tillman, from www.7sisters.com

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy  

 Betsy is mom to her 20 year old daughter whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early years, and high school & college.  She offers free homeschool help and messaging at BJ's Consulting


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Copyright, 2016, All Rights Reserved

13 comments:

  1. Wow, I did not know about the YMCAs youth government program. I'll have to see if they have one in our town. I am so happy to see that you are still posting on Finshing Strong. Blessings, Kyle

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Kyle! I love the Finishing Strong blog hop, and I look forward to reading it each week, too, for all the great ideas there. I hope that you find a Youth and Government group in your town. Have a great day!

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  2. Thank you for linking up with the Hearts for Home Blog Hop. I chose your post as one of my favorites, and I'm featuring it this week. Feel free to stop by and grab the "I Was Featured" button if you'd like! http://learningtable.blogspot.com/2014/05/hearts-for-home-blog-hop-64.html Hope to see you again :)

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    1. Thanks, Anne Campbell, for featuring me on your great blog hop, Hearts for Home, which has the most updated ideas each week, and lots of encouragement, too!

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  3. I love how you said kids need a soft place to fall... Isn't that the truth! I absolutely love being a homeschool family that is able to revise that place for our boys as well. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your children blossom in the security of home and thrive in the world around them!

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    1. Thanks for for stopping by, Bekki Sayler! Your comment will be an encouragement to other homeschooling families, as they nurture their children's learning and explorations!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. This is such an encouraging post :) It sure is fun to see the kids grow and learn over the years, isn't it?

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie Kleppe, and for your encouraging comment!

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  6. Wow Betsy.

    I can see how exposure was important to your child's development to college. I think it's so important to expose them to as many different things as possible. Just because you put them in dance, doesn't mean they will be a prima ballerina, does it?

    Look at her now at the dance competition!

    You should definitely be proud of her and proud of you.

    You are so right, homeschooling prepares them to be out in the world. That message is so lost in all the muck of our society, isn't it?

    Thanks so much for this great post!

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    1. Yes, Lisa Nelson, of Squishable Baby, I agree. Society misses the fact that homeschooling can prepare our kids so well, to deal with and thrive in the world as adults! And thanks for pointing out that taking dance doesn't have to be for a career, but instead might become a stepping stone to something else. It has been a joy, and still is, to watch my daughter explore, try new things, and begin to find her way, then and now. But my favorite thing to watch, for sure, was her very first tap/ballet recital....The sweet kids remembered about 40% of their steps.....but were the stars of the show, lol!

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  7. What a great story! It's awesome to see how your daughter has grown through the years. I hope that I too someday will develop strong leaders! Thanks for sharing at the Homeschool Nook this week!

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