Twenty years ago my little girl was only seven years old. We were living in Colorado Springs and Papa had orders to Germany once he completed a four-month training course in Florida. It seemed a wise decision to move with the three little people to Mississippi, where we would await the time when we would eat bratwurst and spaetzle and lift heavy mugs in biergartens. But what to do about education? I researched as well as I could in those dark, murky ages before the internet, and found a company in the East that would provide an entire elementary school curriculum for my two school-age children, including every supply conceivably necessary for their instruction. This was the Calvert School. The only thing missing was the teacher. And that is how it came about that I home-schooled two children for one year.
Halfway through our adventurous school year, the military orders were changed. Instead of dancing the polka near Zwiebrucken, we would be watching bullfights in Madrid. And so our little focus on ein bischen de Deutsch switched to learning un poco d’Espanol (my apologies for butchering either language).
By the time school started at Torrejon AB, Papa’s squadron had been moved to Turkey and there just wasn’t enough rhetoric in any language strong enough to convince me to homeschool children for another year with no help from the other parent.
When I took them to enroll in school on base, the faculty suggested, based on their testing, that we place them a grade higher than they would ordinarily be for their age. I was astonished. I knew they were smart, but I hadn’t realized they were being over-taught! I felt a little guilty—had I been pushing them too hard? But no, the curriculum set the pace and provided the lessons; I had just followed along.
Now, many years later, my little girl is in her last year of college, and who has she selected to be her professor for the last two quarters? Moi, Mama. The one whose name is followed by TwD. (Totally Without Degree). I feel so honored to be able to put the finishing touches on her education—it makes me feel like I’ve provided two matching bookends, two brackets within which a beautiful mind resides.
Her real professors at the Evergreen State College have agreed to The Plan, and study has commenced. I will be teaching her the ways of databases and giving her practical knowledge and experience she will be able to use right away in the real world. You may recall that I mentioned not long ago that the number of women in technology is dwindling. This is my little way of helping to reverse that trend. If you had mentioned “computer science” and “Evergreen” in the same sentence two years ago I might have laughed. But after seeing what the students are required to do in order to earn a degree, I have wiped that silly grin right off my face.
Soon Sherah and I will have a blog online with which, if you’d like, you can follow along and learn the same things. Because of my class this week we can’t begin until next week (my class is on Sharepoint Operations, but I can’t help thinking of my class on Sherahpoint Development). Stay tuned for details.
To use one of her expressions when she was a child of three: “I’m so exciting!!”
This blog will now return to material and the thoughts thereof, but I will post a link to the Absolutely Relative blog once it’s up and running. Thank you for indulging me in this little detour.