Abbi is taking an ancient literature class at a local homeschool resource center. This is her first class since she left the school system after 1st grade. So when Monday morning came and she had her first assignments due she had some new feelings sweeping over her--pressure, stress, worry, doubt. She had finished her assignments the night before but didn't print them out. That should be easy, just print them in the morning. Yeah, trying to print things out before 8:00 a.m. can sometimes be harder than you think. She now knows that she'll probably make sure everything is done the night before :)
All went well and I thought she wrote out very thoughtful responses to her teachers questions. But the morning was stressful and you could tell she was worried about things. We felt so bad for her that morning, wanting to help, but we knew we couldn't fix how she was feeling. She got her assignments done in time but was grumpy and not wanting to talk about it.
I drove her to class and she went in with a feeling of burden. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to be a good fit for her. Knowing that she loves reading, writing and critical thought, I thought it sounded like a perfect fit but maybe not. After class she came out and said that class went great and that she had worried for nothing. She told me that she felt so much better because she realized that she was taking this class and doing the work for herself. She wasn't doing it for us/her parents, or for her teacher. She wanted to be there and was working for herself. She was so happy and a burden had been lifted.
Now this morning, she was talking with someone about all of it. Telling them that she liked the class but had experienced some stress the first time she had to get assignments done and all that. She said she was so happy to realize that she was taking this class for herself and that if she didn't like it she could quit. The person she was talking with responded with a sarcastic "wow, great work ethic you have". She was kind-of surprised at the response. She replied that she thought she had great work ethic and that this was different from a job. She was paying them to bring something to her, to share it with her; be it knowledge, reading assignments, or a place to gather with others to discuss things. She had in effect hired this learning center. In a work place she would be paid to work so she would have a different viewpoint towards her work.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised when people say this, we hear it all the time. It's a big worry for parents especially.. will kids ever finish anything if they can quit?? I have no doubt that they will and if they don't it's not worth finishing. She's already shown in many different ways that she's not going to just quit things when the going gets tough. But if the tough going isn't worth it to her she'll be OK with changing her path. I'm glad she feels like she can quit if she wants. I think this freedom has allowed her to learn more about herself. There's no muddied water, just clear desire and lots of hard work.