The title is a little misleading because I believe all homeschoolers are outstanding. When working in the public schools I ran into some bad attitudes toward homeschooling families. I soon found out why. There are some dysfunctional families who are “homeschooling” to avoid being reported to Children’s Services. They weren’t really homeschooling, but I can understand why the teachers and administrators had a jaundiced view of the whole concept.
Homeschooling and Test Scores
The longer real homeschoolers continue, the more outstanding the results. And it isn’t just that they consistently score significantly higher on standardized tests than the average public school student either. Tests give us some information on how a student is doing. But let’s look at creativity, passion, follow through and a joy of living as evidence of success too!
Can he/she think out of the box? That’s always my question! I know many adults who are good evidence that homeschooling works and works well. But wait till I tell you about Steven!
Steven’s Tropical Paradise — in Ohio!
I’m not kidding! I first met this family about 10 years ago when I was working as an in-house personal chef. They were homeschooling, and Steven’s mother — Sally Bennett — had formed a geography homeschool group. The group did many interesting activities, including a three week trip to China! So Steven Bennett is far from sheltered. He’s traveled to Thailand too.
But if you walked into his yard today, you might wonder if you had been magically transported from Cambridge Ohio to some other place a bit closer to the equator!
I visited last week because they needed a grant writer so they can expand this fantastical horticultural project. The first thing that caught my eye was Spanish moss hanging from the large maple tree. I had no idea it was a portal into another world. I expected a little greenhouse with a couple of citrus trees and some potted plants! I didn’t expect to see palms growing on the nicely landscaped lawn, or a grove of banana trees growing outside of the greenhouse! And I certainly didn’t know I was about to see over 100 fig trees, two varieties of sugar cane, papaya and mango trees, some carob trees, cacao trees, tea and coffee plants, over 70 varieties of citrus trees, and more … lots more!
Are we still in Ohio?
No one has to tell Steven to dream big — or to tell him if he thinks it, plans it and executes it, it will happen. He lives that. He has some unusual goals, but I have no doubt that he is going to meet those goals! If someone says you can’t grow it in Ohio, Steven will be all the more determined to find a way.
Right now he’s trying to raise money for a greenhouse and deer fencing to protect his plants. But he has plans for hillside terraces where tea plants grow and in the center he wants to put a tea house where you and I can visit. Let’s dream with him and plan to meet there to have a cup of tea! Check out what he writes on his gofundme page — and be sure to check out his painting of the terraced project. Visit him on facebook too. (We’re working on a fan page but it isn’t ready yet.)
He wants to share his botanical garden with visitors and students. Last week a local garden group came. He is thinking of inviting artists to come and teach children to paint some of the exotic plants. If you have any ideas for Steven, please let him know on his facebook page or comment here. I’ll share them with him.
No Jason — You Can’t Build an Airplane!
I’m remembering a day when my eight year old son came to me wanting to build an airplane. Now I wonder why I told him it wasn’t possible! What was I thinking?! If Sally Bennett’s son had wanted to build an airplane, you can bet there would be a landing strip out there in Cambridge Ohio today, and there would be several home built airplanes in a hangar. And I know for a fact that those planes would be able to do something no one else had figured out — or that the “experts” said couldn’t be done.
What crazy dream does your homeschooler have? I hope you let him think out of the box!