Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Sweat Now, Sail Later

By Joseph Pride
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #77, 2007.

Pin It

Joseph Pride


So there I was, aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE, America's Tall Ship. Up to 147 feet above my head, we had up a full array of beautiful white canvas, close-hauled to the gale-force wind. For the week, EAGLE was my ship and I was a member of her crew. At that time, I would have been watching her sleek bow proudly slice through the ten-foot swells. I would have been, had I not been watching her stern end more intensely while clipped into the lee rail for two straight days and subsisting on saltine crackers.

For those of you who haven't been seafaring, you clip into the rail so you don't take a one-way ticket to Neptune's realm while feeding the fish with all that remains in your stomach from your last three meals. You clip into the ilee' rail, instead of iwindward,' so you don't end up eating those same three meals again when hit by a particularly unkind gust.

Thus began my career as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard of these United States of America.

How did it come to this? In order to answer that question, I need to take you back on a voyage of discovery, through the colorful tapestry of my homeschooled life.

Kindergarten

Just kidding - nothing that far back matters by the time you graduate. I think a suitable place to start would be about eighth grade. If memory serves me, I was studying through Calvert School's grade-in-a-box method. The checks and balances made possible by this system allowed two singularly, and rightfully, suspicious parents to easily check my vastly inflated claims of progress before letting me return to my favorite goofing-off activities: computer gaming and sneaking out to explore the one patch of woods hidden at the back end of the suburbs. I also practiced comic book art and piano, totally on my own. (I would have hated art and music if I'd had lessons.)

Parents, don't underestimate the value of your leadership, because right about now was when my parents decided something just wasn't working out right and they needed to up the ante. First, the Do Something With Your Life Manifesto:

Son, you are going to get accepted to - and succeed at - college, or you are going to be out on your ear at the age of 18, and don't think we're joking. It's tough love, and you don't want to find out just how tough we love you.

Then, they changed around my high-school program to focus on some intensive math and science, because they reasoned, and rightly so, that these were in high demand and might give my otherwise mediocre performance a bit of an edge. I took several AP courses online from the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, to prove to colleges in a standard sort of way that I could really learn. And I took chemistry through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which I finished by flashlight two or three hours before I reported in to Swab Summer, but that's another story. Got a good grade, though.

Then, they taught me graphic arts, computer skills, and writing the best way they could: by filling a vacancy that had providentially opened up for Magazine Editor and Author's Assistant during our five-year mission to complete all three volumes of the Big Book of Home Learning (now Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling) Great resource, latest edition $29.99.

And we set aside a study space in the back of the office: A whole room of nothing fun. Just office supplies, a VCR, and Chalk Dust videos on geometry and trigonometry. It was like pulling teeth at first - I mean, it physically hurt to study math for more than 15 minutes at a time, but eventually I got in the habit and started to actually enjoy getting good grades. Part of it was, I didn't want to go job hunting just yet.

It takes years of getting your act together to make a difference, but I had a few of those. Ultimately, I was a National Merit Finalist. I did graduate at last and did well academically at the Academy.

If you want fun and adventure, you have to earn it with lots and lots of painful grunt work. But it's worth it in the end. And if you don't know what to do with your life, enlist. It beats flipping burgers.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning University of Nebraska High School

Articles by Joseph Pride

Homeschool Vacations and Adventures

The World's Tiniest Motors

Sweat Now, Sail Later

Popular Articles

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Critical Thinking and Logic

AP Courses At Home

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Character Matters for Kids

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Getting Organized Part 3

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Teach Your Children to Work

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Combining Work and Homeschool

Narration Beats Tests

The Gift of a Mentor

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Montessori Math

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

The History of Public Education

A Reason for Reading

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

University Model Schools

Myth of the Teenager

Phonics the Montessori Way

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Start a Nature Notebook

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Shakespeare Camp

Who Needs the Prom?

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Bears in the House

The Charlotte Mason Method

Teaching Blends

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

I Was an Accelerated Child

The Benefits of Debate

How to Win the Geography Bee

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Whole-Language Boondoggle

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Classical Education

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Laptop Homeschool