MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall © OSGG, 2017

By Jean jr. Landry
Translation by Morgan Currier

It’s always nice to see homeschooling benefit from positive media attention. Especially when it’s your own child at the centre of it! This is exactly what happened on November 22 at Rideau Hall, when our son Isaac Landry received an award from Madam Governor General, Julie Payette.

It all started earlier this year, when Isaac took up a challenge his mom gave him: to participate in the illustrated history contest organized by the Canadian History Society, aimed at students ages 7 to 14. At first, Isaac wanted to research the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A true ‘little boy’ subject! But it turned out that subject was very difficult to research, despite the help of the Internet and our family’s huge library, which rivals the city’s own. So, he changed to a more classic choice: Jacques Cartier. And while conducting research on the subject, he discovered unexpected details in this section of our national history, which he then explained with text and images.

Isaac worked on this project with commendable effort and perseverance. He immersed himself in Canadian history materials for months, including the book series ‘Canada: A Popular History’. Then when it came time to get down to work, he dealt with each of the challenges that came with the project. This meant sometimes overcoming discouragement, even when he made mistakes that forced him to start whole pages over again. But, thanks to wonderful encouragement from his mother, he finally crossed his finish line and submitted his work to Kayak Magazine, which had organized the contest.

In September, his mom received a call and was told that Isaac was one of two winners in his category of the contest. But Isaac had no idea how far this adventure would take him! Because, just last week, he had an amazing experience: an all-expenses-paid trip to Ottawa, visiting the museums, attending the National Assembly for the question period (where the Prime Minister and MPs applauded Isaac and the other winners), a very chic gala at the Museum of History, and finally the official presentation of prizes at Rideau Hall. It was an opportunity for him to experience something unique, to see the very centre of Canadian politics and to be transported for a while into something of a parallel universe, woven in with traditions and warm encounters. It was also an amazing lesson in the fruits of perseverance and hard work.

Homeschooling is the perfect platform for this kind of experience. Parents have enough freedom to arrange their child’s schedules according to their interests and passions. Knowledge isn’t just taught once and then moved on from, it’s focused upon, assimilated and wholly appreciated. Academics is blended seamlessly with a journey of discovery. Learning is not a chore but an adventure, a way to live in and understand the world around us.

Isaac is not the only one to have seen his efforts rewarded. On a smaller scale, his two sisters, also educated at home, Marianne and Rebecca Landry, had both won prizes last year in a regional literary contest organized in collaboration with the school board. And, funny enough, the other winner in the same category (ages 13-17) was their friend Melanie Viau … another young lady who was homeschooled!

The above is just a tiny sample of the success of home education can offer. Not all children will have the chance to see their efforts publicly recognized as Isaac and his sisters did. But all of them grow in an environment that promotes excellence and allows them to stand out as citizens of exceptional quality.

Did your home-schooled children also stand out? Do you have anecdotes about this subject that could be shared on this blog to encourage other parents who have made the choice to homeschool? Don’t hesitate to send me your story at: info@hslda.ca.