by Rose Shane, a grown homeschooler
When I answer the question, “What school do I attend,” I have learned to expect one of two responses: One reaction is that the person becomes very interested in the conversation, and has a great deal of questions. Others respond with a puzzled look and they repeat my answer to their question, “Home school.” After they have had time to think, the questions start coming in at full speed. The questions from both individuals are very similar.
“Do you enjoy Home School? Do you have any friends and is socialization a problem? Do your parents really teach you? What is your relationship with your parents like? Do you miss public school?” and the questions don’t stop there. Through the few years I’ve been homeschooling I have learned to simply smile and politely answer their questions. But I’m not like most homeschoolers you meet. I haven’t been home-schooled my entire life. I know what it’s like to go to public school and to be continually pushed to grow up faster and to constantly be tempted by my peers.
I attended a public elementary school from Kindergarten to sixth grade. During those seven years, I learned reading, writing and arithmetic, just like everyone else. But like a great number of students in the public school system, I was falling through the cracks, and not one teacher noticed. I would study hard and learn the information, but when it was test time, I drew a blank. The information would completely abandon my mind. It was like the information would go in one ear, and then out the other. Thankfully, my parents noticed and placed me in a special program that met two mornings a week. I received a better-quality education from this one teacher. For seven grueling years I went through this program. We would go through special exercises to get my weak side of the brain motivated. I had to work a lot harder than most of the students in my classes each year. To be truthful, I wasn’t very happy about having to do three to four hours of homework a night and the extra work on top of that. I eventually worked through it and proudly graduated to the seventh grade, where I attended a public middle school.
“What about friendships, is socialization a problem for you?” While I attended the public middle school, I discovered the work was quite difficult but meeting new people was even harder. At the time, my fellow classmates were all rebelling against the system. A trip to your locker and to your next class was anything but easy. Every other word I heard was foul and I always had to watch my back. I never knew who would want to pick a fight with me. Trust me, there were many fistfights as well as verbal bashes on my middle school campus. The friendships I had made in elementary school had also started to drift apart. In my opinion whenever you’re a new student it’s always hard to break the ice. Cliques are already formed and it’s not easy making friends in a new school. But once you get one person to open up to you it’s pretty much down hill from there. I have plenty of acquaintances, ones from homeschool and others from public. For me, the first two friends I made are still my closest. Friendship is different for everyone and I don’t think how you are educated or what school you attend has a lot to do with it.
“Do you like Home School?” Now when I say I am homeschooled, I’m not saying I’m isolated in my bedroom, barricaded with books. My family enrolled me in a high-quality homeschool group. I attend courses weekly and do the homework over the remaining days. There are about eight to ten students in a class, which is a huge difference from the forty students I was used to. With the small number of kids in each course, I finally received the individual teaching I needed. Because I learn visually, the one-on-one teaching allows me to pass my courses with flying colors. In public school, I never thought of myself as smart because I was always a half a step behind the other students and schoolwork would take me a lot longer. Fortunately homeschool illustrated to me that I simply learned a different way.
“What is your relationship with your parents like?” Another positive element of homeschooling is the relationship I now share with my parents. When I was in public school I was always to busy with homework or too tired to talk or discuss important problems with my parents. Homeschool has allowed me to grow with them and not apart. When I have a problem, we sit as a family and discuss it. Which is not always what I’d prefer doing, but in the end it always helps. Through homeschool my parents have learned who and what kind of a person I am. They don’t have to question if what I’m saying is true. I don’t have to hide my personality or who I am from them, like so many teens today do. I can be myself and that alone is well worth it.
“Do you like Home School?” During these last few years I have come to really enjoy homeschooling. Part of me misses the whole experience of public school, and meeting all the varieties and personalities that roam the halls. But what homeschool did for me academically I will never forget and especially not regret. I like the fact that I can stay home more, get better grades and meet new people in my school group. I also like that they have a basketball team, because that was the one thing I was disappointed in about schooling at home. Now my school group has a team, so I’ve lost my only argument.
Five years from now, when I’m hopefully married and with children I don’t know if I’d consider homeschooling. I know I won’t put my kids in public middle school or high school. But I might consider public elementary. I also think a private Christian school would be better then a public school. It really depends on what happens to our society five years from now. I don’t want my kids learning some of the new opinions that are going to be taught in our school systems. I think when I have kids going into school I will have a better idea and a better view on the school system and will make the right choice at the right time. For now I’m going to focus on my education and go to college. We’ll see what happens from there.
Because of my experiences, both in public and home school, I’ve been able to form my own opinions and answer’s to the questions I’m so used to answering. I consider myself lucky, being able to say, that through my schooling I have benefited greatly and am ready to take the next step in my life. I hope every reader can say the same! – R.S.
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