Growing a Leader – The Elementary Years

Hi!  This is Betsy, from BJ’s Homeschoool.  Today I’d like to share part 2 in my series on Growing a Leader.

Growing a Leader Series Part Two

My husband and I homeschooled our daughter from preschool through high school.  She is now a freshman in college, and is working on becoming a leader.  Little did we know, that my previously very shy daughter would want to take on leadership opportunities at college!  We were thrilled.  But this confidence did not happen all at once…..it was built day by day, year by year, in our homeschool.  I had no idea that my daughter would want to be a leader, when she was young…..Here’s what happened during the elementary years.
Growing a Leader Part 2

In elementary, my daughter continued to want to study dance. She didn’t like ballet anymore.  As it turned out……She was more of a jumper than a tiptoe walker, so we tried an Irish class, and it stuck..

Irish Dance

She loved it, all the jumping, hopping and such.  Here’s her class and her in her Irish dress, which, of course, was very important.  There were lots of practices, which helped her to develop good concentration, as she learned the steps.  She continued with this group for a number of years, enjoying the dance, and gaining more self confidence in the process.

Art and Handwork

At home, her go-to projects still centered around art.  While we used Oak Meadow curriculum at home, my daughter continued to explore art, trying her hand at weaving. We also tried a little knitting, starting with a small cloth, and later she proudly made a knitted purse. But her old favorites, making things of cardboard and tape projects still continued to be popular.  For US History, she enjoyed making a diorama of Jamestown.

Grwoing a leader part 2

Sometimes, with her projects, she was worried about doing it”right”.  I encouraged her to do it her own way, and that made all the difference.  I think that helped her build her self esteem. Encourage your kids to do it their way.  It’s the process, not the final result.  There’s a lot of learning in exploring and creating in art that does not turn out cute, or look well done. Then one day, all this cardboard and tape work led to a cardboard puppet show.

It was for her science studies, which started with some simple research on her favorite animal- the penguin.  She wrote a script to go with the puppet show, with help and encouragement.  But she was so shy to share her project!  I supported her efforts, and encouraged her to put on the puppet show for family.  She was very, very shy about doing it….but by the end, she was smiling, and loving it!

Practicing Public Speaking

We also did a lot of at home speeches – sharing an essay, reading a book report, etc.  This was really very simple to organize.  When her dad would get home, she would read something that she had written, after dinner, or share a drawing that she had made.  I made it special, by introducing her, first. This gave her her initial experience in making speeches!  She began to have fun with it, and looked forward to these little family “shows”.  Little did I know then, that public speaking would become something that my daughter would later, love to do!  Support and encourage those halting starts in your kids…They may develop into something.

Growing a leader part two

4H – Community Fairs

When she was in 5th grade, I heard about a community fair, and my daughter wanted to participate.  It was called Creative Kids.  It was sponsored by our annual Spring State Fair.  It included competitions in animal care, cooking, art, writing, photography, baking and even knitting.  Her first entry was in baking – and what did she make? Her cookies included a penguin, of course.  Not every child wants to enter a competition, but mine did, and it was a gentle competition, and a lot of fun for her.

In later years she entered some photographs, and one year, she entered an essay.  The folks who ran the contest gave her a little paragraph of feedback. She treasured this.  Getting feedback from other supportive adults was very meaningful to me daughter.  She was exploring the world, and feeling successful, so important to growing self esteem.   What better way for a child to discover and develop her interests and strengths, than through homeschooling?

Part 3 in this series, will touch on the middle school years.  What things are your kids interested in? What do they want to explore?