Bella is working on her college apps, and one of her first steps is to provide an informative packet to the teachers who will be writing her recommendations. An optional piece is a Parent Brag Letter.
Here’s the one I wrote for Bella this morning:
From the moment Bella was born at home nearly seventeen years ago, she has been exceptionally good company. I know that every mother loves her child, but Bella delights everybody around her as well. She grew up showered in praise – as an only child, she perhaps relied too much on adult validation, but it was hard not to compliment her when every project was tackled with so much enthusiasm, hard work, and determination. With the idea of fostering her love of learning and adventure while giving her large blocks of time to play and explore ideas, I decided to homeschool her.
We could plan our days with great freedom. Bella has always enjoyed social groups of kids – although she practices serial monogamy with her best friends – and with math lessons easily finished in the mornings, she could participate in many after-school activities. She did. Bella played piano, took singing lessons and tried ballet, and was on the local soccer and swim teams for eight years. She also kept up with her gymnastics at this time. We were both on a quest to have fun and to learn new skills at every opportunity.
The greatest pleasure and advantage of homeschooling was having the time to really investigate Bella’s interests. For instance, when she enjoyed a kid’s stained glass class at a homeschooling conference, we enrolled her in a course back at home. However, there were no children’s classes, so we got the teacher’s permission to enroll her in an adult class with her father as a back-up support person. She created several stunning works from conception to finish this way.
Bella has also always enjoyed the performing arts, and while she participated in many a summer youth theater program, we both enjoyed seeing live productions of every style and level of expertise, from local plays to Broadway productions. Indeed, we tried to include a show on each of our many travels – in London we caught a Tennessee William’s play and in NYC we watched Thoroughly Modern Milly. Theater seeped into our home life and Bella and her friends were often writing scripts and staging productions. This is when Bella’s leadership skills began to emerge: not only was Bella always the director, but she would often jump into the scene to play whatever character was needed!
By the time Bella was eight, she was capable of focusing on a single subject for great lengths of time. She was unfailingly strict about her studies, even more than I. She preferred finishing all her studies at the start of the week; once she was done on Tuesday, she could play to her heart’s content until the following Sunday. I was amused that when Bella entered public school at fourth grade, that she insisted that we cover ALL the math sections for the upcoming week at home, before she went to school on Monday. She found it difficult to reach the level of mastery she was used to from the back of a class of thirty students, but she quickly adjusted. I was pleased to see her carry her homegrown sense of initiative in the public school arena. Bella and several friends put together a monthly newsletter for their class, printing issues for every classmate.
After successfully transitioning to public school, Bella came home for another year. With her November birthday, she felt that most of her friends were a grade ahead of her. At her request, we completed two years of public school material, 5th and 6th grade, in one year. The following year, we made an application, and she was accepted into the seventh grade. She celebrated by promptly running for class president and winning.
Since then, Bella has been in public school. She has been a very successful student. Even more importantly she is growing up into a well-rounded person, who is fun-loving with her friends. Of course, Bella has had her rough times as well, but truly, I would take no other. She sets such high standards for herself that all who are around her unconsciously straighten up and try and work just a little bit harder. She has been a wonderful adventurer and companion, and I am proud to see her go forward and tackle high school, college, and life with the same passion she had as child.