The notion that a homeschooling parent is their child's teacher is on the list of absurd assumptions about how homeschooling works around here. Because honestly. Blacksmithing? Knifesmithing? Fencing? I have nothing to bring to the table.
Yet these are the things that Sage is passionate about.
So I encourage his research and do my best to help him find resources and connect him to mentors and teachers out there in the world. Basically I facilitate, then get out of the way. I'm a liaison.
And that was how it happened that Sage and I loaded up the camper and left the Driftless on Thursday – one part nerves and three parts excitement – and headed for the south shore of Lake Superior to a gathering of strangers. People who actually know what they are doing when it comes to forging hot steel, and had a lot to share with Sage about how it's done.
These were the people he needed.
And this crew of artists and craftsmen took Sage in and taught him the basics. He worked on several blacksmithing projects with a rotating support crew of seasoned smiths, helped build a smelting furnace where taconite was (with much excitement and enthusiasm) smelted into iron, and was even guided through the basics of fencing – another skill he has wanted to learn for years.
And as I stood back, watching Sage discuss curie point with a knife smith, norse mythology with an artist, and spar with someone more than twice his age, it was a good moment for me as a parent. Because I taught him none of that. That belongs to Sage alone, and the handful of people who have stood by him to guide him on this path.
By rising to the occasion of inspiring and teaching a thirteen year old, they have kindled a fire that is unlikely to be quenched.
This is how we learn. I don't need all the answers or all of the skills. That is what community is for.
Thanks to Scott and family at Big Rock Forge as well as AJ, Cody, Jai, John, Tim, and the rest for all you shared with Sage. He is transformed. (Like iron into bronze. or… something.)