Homeschool Failures...That Work!

So your child is practicing his craft — developing his talents and interests. Do you hover and make sure everything comes off without a hitch? Or do you let him get…messy?

Now is when this kid should be learning to dream big dreams and dare greatly. Now is when she should be making mistakes and figuring out how to recover from them. Instead, we’re telling one of our best and brightest to focus all her talent on coloring within the lines.

“Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail,” Megan McArdl

My son has been interested in electronics since he was about 7. His interests expanded into vacuum tubes, radios, and amplifiers. Boy, could I tell you stories of failure!

  • More blown ICs than I care to remember.
  • Black goo oozing from too-old capacitors.
  • Smells that keep us opening windows.
  • Projects that worked…and then blew up.
  • Many countless trips back to the drawing board when the circuit wasn’t just right.
  • Discouragement. (That is always a tough one for moms to stay suitably out of!)
  • Broken, blown, or otherwise faulty parts that will cost more $$ than his funds currently allow.

Yes, it is, oh, so hard not to run for the pocketbook or otherwise take over to fill the need of the moment.

Ah, but let me tell you the payoff of letting him find his own way!  A student of electricity who can:

  • Draw a schematic of a tube circuit off of the top of his head.
  • Explain how very difficult engineering concepts (typically encountered in college) work, in a way anyone can understand.
  • Help his engineering dad by being available — whether to have his encyclopedia-like knowledge on the subject consulted or to simply bounce ideas off of.
  • Fix an old antique radio for a friend.
  • Create a handy intercom system at a moment’s notice to fill an immediate household need.

There is also the joy of watching someone who takes so much joy from what he is doing.

Failures? You bet! But how else would he have had the chance to learn so much?

Thomas Edison was considered a failure at school.  But after being given the opportunity to “make mistakes,” who would consider him a failure?

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas Edison

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