Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another guest post by Abby.

(Can you read the shirt? "Why be normal?")
How did it get to be Thursday already?? And a "snow day" at that? It's more like a sleety mess day, but the kids got to stay home. They have a half day tomorrow and then are out for break. We're going to head to the mall in a bit, more to hang out than for anything else.

I'm intrigued as I read my daughter's college essays. This was an answer to the prompt: What is intellectual curiosity? For any of you who homeschool, you should love her paragraph about this topic:

I was very alarmed to discover that one of my classmates enjoyed “playing dumb” to avoid the judgment of his peers. The more I think about it the more heinous it becomes. How could someone want to be viewed as less intelligent than they really are? More worrisome, why would anyone look down on someone for acting intelligent and interested in academics? The current mores of high school society dictate that in order to be socially acceptable one must stifle all intellectual curiosity and languish in the comfort of not caring about anything that requires thought--in short, not caring about anything that matters.

Being intellectually curious requires a complete break from this mindset - a desire to learn more about the ideas presented in class, a need to develop thoughts and understand the material. This also means that intellectual curiosity, by definition, will cause you to be viewed as a borderline lunatic. But who would be normal when they have the chance to be extraordinary?

I have long been the student who gets incredibly excited about classroom topics. In the seventh grade this behavior was greeted with dislike bordering on animosity; now my classmates have learned to see it as an essential part of my personality. I would not be myself if I did not exhibit enthusiasm in my studies. Intellectual curiosity cannot be feigned, but it can be cultivated, and my formative years were spent in a setting that encouraged me not to be scared of being imaginative and intelligent.

Homeschooled with my brothers until the fourth grade, I was taught to read at age four and given all the books that I desired. We were not catered to and spent long periods of time playing in and with sand, shoe, and cardboard boxes. The one picture that I feel epitomizes my childhood is of me and my brothers crouching within one of those boxes, laughing heartily. Although this can be seen with negative connotations, I believe that it is really indicative of the fact that we learned to play, together, with anything. Our minds were not hampered by the flashing lights of fancy electronics and expensive toys; instead, we learned about the world through experience and in the process developed a lively sense of curiosity that has not been squashed out of us by our forays into a more modern society.

My classmates have given up on conforming me to the patterns of apathy that have been ingrained into their psyches. Lazy minds are lauded while searching minds are belittled. Whilst my friend may attempt to cover up the intelligence of his mind to assuage the masses, I have never felt that need to comfort people in their laziness. Perhaps by looking at me, the tiny sparks of a desire to understand and not just know, the sparks that make humans human, will be rekindled in my peers.


  1. A day without learning something new is a totally wasted day,at any age.....Dorleene Francis Moores

  2. i remember that about high school so very clearly! it also used to drive me crazy. good job, abby, for recognizing ignorance in all forms, acknowledging it for what it is, and refusing to play along. your life will be richer for it.

    thanks again for my box of goodies! even my husband (who laughs at my free samples and coupon hoarding) was impressed. a great assortment!

    kristen harkless