There comes a point in time where all the basic education is complete. You have the three R’s (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) down pat, and you even picked up some history and geography. Well, seriously now, the most important aspects of a basic education are 1) Self discipline and 2) being able to teach yourself (learn to learn). While those two are the most important educational skills, we choose to take advanced classes, hoping to be better prepared for life and work.
Advanced studies take many forms, but they are almost all geared towards a specific end, ‘Income’. (all of our 'raising a family' skills are basic skills, we complete them with the three R's). Some of the training occurs as a group, and may include the whole family, like construction. Other classes are very specialized, with a single student, like ‘Non Destructive Testing’. All specialized training fits into a pattern of goals and priorities. We don’t always get it right, but we try hard.
Once we complete our basic education we create a set of goals, and make a plan to reach them. Those goals will require a certain amount of knowledge in specific topics. That is where we begin specialized training. Usually the area to be studies is a new one, not only do we not have the requisite knowledge; we also don’t know anyone who does. So the first step is research. The local library system has proven very helpful in many of our endeavors. Our local inter-library loan system knew us all by face, but after a while you exhaust even that resource. Having a full time job has enabled me to pick up where the library left off and purchase titles. I would say about 1/3 of them were worth buying, it could have been worse. Once we have acquired a basic understanding of the ideas involved, we can make an action plan for how to achieve this new area. Then we can begin work on implementing the plan.
I would say the most difficult topic to date has been our business studies. We have reached a series of decisions on raising a family, providing support, and hold a debt free policy. Each of these has encouraged us to look at home based business as an important aspect of moving forward into the next generation. The studies have been very difficult, breaking new ground always is. We will be putting up a separate website on this topic as we start to realize some of our goals.
After completing my basic education, I pursued several lines of interest. Expanding my sewing, quilting and other craft/handwork skills flowed very naturally for me. Although I never took a course on any of those subjects, I definitely invested much time into them. I also expanded my skill in the area of cooking, baking and menu planning. Seeing that both sewing and cooking are, in themselves, a form of art it is not surprising that, having mastered these, my natural love for detail caused me to move on to more traditional art. I first pursed charcoal and then graphite sketching, later on expanding to decorative painting. In the area of health I have pursued a basic knowledge of nutrition, the immune system, herbs and their uses, as well as, anatomy and family health.
Life is so varied, so full of new things to learn and try and enjoy; growing up should involve more than a basic education in Math, English, Composition, History, etc. Oh yes, they are very important, but life is more than school, and preparing for life involves much more than academic studies. The personal training I have invested time on have all involved specific interests of mine; some academic and some for pleasure. Each was something I desired to know more about so I took it upon myself to learn it, for the most part on my own. My love for history prompted me to branch off from the group class I was in and devote more time to getting a better hold on the historical events and people that interested me. Both sketching and decorative painting are courses I have continued on in after learning the basics, gathering ideas and forming techniques that suite me. I am now making preparations to sell the cards I sketch. The out of doors holds pleasure for me, both in plants and animals. Gradually I have been working out designs and combinations for our flower gardens that incorporate my favorite flowers and bring beauty all year long. Herb gathering has also interested me and one summer I spent my time identifying and gathering as many varieties as I could find around our property.
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