Sometimes my students shock me. Seriously. I have ridiculously high expectations for them, and I pretty much say yes to anything, so you would think that I am often disappointed (high expectations + ginormously ambitious project = set up for debilitating failure). I am also asking everyone who enrolls in HoneyFern from a traditional school (kids and parents) to wrap their head around a new way of thinking; generally public school students struggle with the freedom and responsibility part of HoneyFern, as well as my utter disdain for multiple choice tests and other similarly useless projects like posterboards and dioramas (homeschooled students tend to "get it" a little faster.). It is a tough transition to go from teachers handing you a worksheet and assigning the whole class a project to a teacher who works more as a mentor and a guide, helping you sort through your dreams and figure out which one to pursue, and how.
So imagine my surprise when a student, given the choice between taking the easy way out (me designing his entire curriculum for him, following general, standardized guidelines) and the hard way out (following through with his commitment to his project that he selected and designed), the student chose the hard way, the one that held infinitely more reward for him but also offered exponentially more challenge (and sometimes in a frustrating way). I am so proud today that as I write this, I almost get a little teary. He gets it. He understands the value of persistence and perseverance, and he is a changed student from the first of the year.
I won't name him or go into detail; he is one of the students who will be leaving next year for high school because of sports, so he could have easily just given up and blown it off, done the minimum to get by. But he didn't. And for that simple reason, I have a ginormous surprise for him on December 20th, right before our winter break. Stay tuned for pictures of a flabbergasted kid.