Now we will hear from an old, young friend of mine, Megan Hanvey. I have known Megan for a few years through her blog; she not only enjoys taking great photos and keeping abreast of interesting finds on the internet, she also is a very encouraging, thoughtful reader and friend. Megan was actually my first enthusiastic volunteer for “Ask the Grad,” and she has sent many other homeschool graduates my way. Megan recently celebrated her homeschool graduation. Her viewpoint – looking back with gratitude and forward with anticipation, reminds me so much of my own at her age. Enjoy reading from Megan, homeschool graduate 2010!
“Where do you go to school?” The answer often leads to some interesting discussions, though.
Sometimes, the answer would be followed by a long pause (or maybe it just seemed long to me). And then a dry
“Oh,” which was occasionally followed by a negative comment.
Sometimes, it would lead to a really fun discussion about the joys of homeschooling.
Most people I met, however, were simply curious.
“How does it work? Do you have to take standardized tests? What about college? What about socialization?” “Do you have a T.V?”
Many people still have misconceptions about homeschooling. Although it has become far more “mainstream” than it used to be, homeschooling is often considered to be just a little bit odd. Homeschooling families come in all shapes and sizes, though, and everyone’s experience is unique. Mine was no exception.
In the short amount of time I had been in public school, the only good thing that came out of that was that I learned to read (chances are, I would have learned how to read without going to public school, right?). I remember drilling flashcards every evening, and lots of homework. When I came home, all I remember doing was homework, homework, homework. My mom said my schedule consisted of (minus weekends): breakfast, school, homework, dinner, more homework, bed. Have I mentioned the boatload of homework? Thanks to my hardworking, wonderful Mom I succeeded in learning to read, even earning a medal with some of my classmates. The negative thing, though, was my behavior. It was awful! I was rude and disrespectful; in short, a complete brat. My bad attitude, coupled with the already crippling amount of schoolwork, made my parents’ decision to homeschool me a “no-brainer.” My mother said that if she was going to have to work so hard with me over homework, then she might as well be in charge of my education!
When I was taken out of public school by my parents in the 2nd grade, it changed my life forever. I am so happy that my parents thought outside the box, and decided to embark upon that journey with me. I believe with all that God has made me that I would be a very different person if I had stayed in public school. I truly don’t even think I would be a Christian. The world’s influence was too great for me at such a young age. There was no way I could have been “salt” and “light” to a fallen world. Not then.
When I began homeschooling, it was hard. At first I missed my old school. I was very shy, and had a hard time making friends, so even though I was in extracurricular activities, like Bible classes and basketball, I was lonely. And schoolwork was difficult, too. My mother had a hard time finding a curriculum that would work for her and also for me. It took awhile to work out the kinks. On the other hand, I was at the top of my class! *grin*
Here are some of the things I learned:
Homeschooling has some major perks. Pajamas, for example. When you are homeschooled, you can do your schoolwork in your PJ’s! You are at HOME! Ah, bliss! My mother says that I had better put a disclaimer in here, lest you think we are just a bunch of slobby truants: we are USUALLY expected to get dressed before we start work. However, some days just scream for pajamas, and when you are homeschooled, you can give in! 😀
Homeschooling is also unique in that you can go at your own pace. If you excel at reading, then you can breeze through more books. If you struggle with algebra, then you can take a bit longer to master the material. Homeschooling can be completely tailored to your needs.
Homeschooling is also terrific for facilitating hands on experiences. I am a kinesthetic learner. I have to move to learn. I need to see and feel. When I had trouble understanding fractions, guess what? I got to make cookies. I could easily see that 1/3 cup is smaller than ½ cup. I could use three 1/3 cups to make a cup. Fractions made more sense after that, although I am sure I was tempted to play dumb a few more times!
Homeschooling is a more efficient way to use your school time. When you are “in school,” you are working on schoolwork. No standing in lines, no rushing to lockers between classes, no roll call, no bus rides. It is amazing how much work can be accomplished in a short amount of time. And no more homework! (Except that it is all homework. Hmmm.)
Homeschooling is a wonderful way to build relationships. It strengthens family ties. When you spend a great deal of time with someone, it forces you to learn how to get along. I have six younger siblings, and we live in a small house, so I have gotten lots of practice! This is excellent preparation for life, and especially marriage!
Homeschooling enables you to experience more of “real life.” It sounds a little strange, until you consider that when you have finished your education, you will never again be in an age segregated peer group. In real life, you will be surrounded by people of all ages and abilities. Even though I have struggled with shyness, I have never had a problem talking to people of any age.
Homeschooling is not perfect, though. You still have to do your math. Can’t escape it. Believe me, I tried! 😀
Eventually, things got easier. When I was in 8th grade, we joined a Homeschool co-op. That was a lot of fun! The moms shared the teaching, so we got to take classes in subjects our own mothers were not necessarily good at or experienced in. Some mothers taught chemistry, others taught subjects like writing, Latin, history, or literature. I made some good friends, too. Highschool flew by, and then it was time to plan for graduation. One of the neat things about homeschooling is that the graduation ceremony can be completely personalized, as the number of graduates is generally small. Our co-op had nine seniors. Several seniors decided to have their own individual ceremonies, but three of my friends and I wanted to share the event. We each made a slideshow of our individual lives, and then we each made a presentation. Two girls, including me, made a speech, one girl read a poem, and another sang a song she had written. Then our parents came on stage and spoke a blessing for each of us. I started crying while my parents were talking; it just hit me all at once that I was really, truly graduating! Then my Dad gave me my diploma and my Mom switched over my tassel. When it was all over, we (the graduates) tossed our hats in glee. It was one of the best nights of my life, and a big milestone for any student that passes it.
Now, newly graduated, I am looking towards my future, unsure of what God has planned but pushing towards it. I plan to continue my education, although it will, of course, not be in a traditionally accepted manner! I love photography, and I am planning to take some photography classes, as well as continuing as an intern with a photographer we know. I am learning all I can, and am planning to build my own home-based business. I am continuing to study Latin, and then I plan to learn the French, Spanish, and Italian languages. I would love to travel, too! I hope to marry and have children, and I plan to homeschool my children as well. I want to be able for God to bless them as He blessed me and my parents in the teaching. Homeschooling changed my life, and I would not have it any other way.