Today’s homeschool graduate shares her point of view on home education and learning at home. Read why Brittney Breakey defys homeschooling myths herself and never wishes she were educated in the public school system.
Home Education: Learn Like Ya Own It
As the Chief Founder and Official President of I Did School at the Kitchen Table, I feel it’s highly important to tell you about my wild homeschool adventures.
Early Years: The Holy Black Steps
Everything about “real school” mystified me. Every morning at 7:53 AM, I’d peek through the upstairs blinds and watch Tyler, our neighbor, trudge to the end of his driveway and ascend the holy black steps of the school bus. When Mom would ask me to get milk from the outside fridge—in plain sight of the road—I’d hide behind our monstrous green shrub. I was afraid the kids would point and laugh.
But I’ll tell you the worst part about being homeschooled. We’d be at Wal-Mart on a Monday morning, and these old ladies would shake their crooked fingers and say, all too shrilly: “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
I can still feel the burn of my cheeks.
As I got older, though, I began to relish in my freedom as a stay-at-home learner. Tyler would come home around 5 PM and tell me he’d been riding the bus for an hour. How boring! As soon as my sisters and I slammed our books, we were climbing apple trees, baking oatmeal cookies, and thinking up goofy skits to perform for my parents. (sorry Mom and Dad).
I loved the variety and flexibility too. At Friday co-op—comprised of local homeschoolers—I took drama, history, art, public speaking, cooking, sewing, and my all-time favorite, anatomy and physiology. I dissected a cow’s eye, a worm, and an owl pellet. Talk about hands-on learning. What could be greater than that?
High School: The Blessing of BJU
By the time my sister, Grace, and I reached high school, Mom was up to her eyeballs teaching my younger siblings fractions and spelling. So she enrolled us in Bob Jones of University, which is basically Video School.
From 6 AM to noon, we’d plow through history, biology, Spanish, English, and literature. It worked out great because our schedule allowed time to earn some money. Mom would drive us to Smapples to prune trees right after school (it was our first job and we loved it). After work, Mom would drop us off at Benson’s Café, where we’d thaw our hands with hot drinks and study for quizzes and tests. The café was within walking distance of the library, so we’d occasionally walk over to print our essays or grab a book.
The Big Scary College Life . . . or not.
The summer before Grace and I started junior college, we studied so hard, thinking we’d flunk classes for sure. I mean, this was college, and we’d been homeschooled.
Well . . .
Turned out that our 12th grade BJU textbooks were harder than our college classes. I remember telling Grace, “Wow. If this is community college, then public school must be cake. Maybe we’re smarter than we thought.”
When people found out we were homeschooled, they just couldn’t believe it. I remember one friend saying, “I don’t believe you.”
I smiled. “Why not?”
“You’re just so happy and outgoing. Aren’t homeschoolers supposed to be, like, shy? Socially awkward?”
Sure, every homeschooled kid is different. Same goes for the kids in public school. As for me and my siblings, we’ve never been shy. Our social life rocked! Slumber parties, Tube Time, Choir, the Aquatic Center, AWANA, Youth Group, Hovander Park, Camp Firwood, roller-skating, ice-skating, snow forts—the whole burrito.
So . . .
Don’t believe every stereotype you hear.
“Do you ever wish you were public schooled?”
Five reasons why my answer will always be: NOPE!
It’s hard to get lost in a crowd of one, huh? People spend big bucks to hire personal trainers, private swimming instructors, piano teachers, and writing coaches. Why? For quality time. I got that every day.
Excel at Your Own Pace
No, I do not mean wandering around the house in my pajamas munching on chips and watching Scooby Doo. In public school, you’re placed in a certain grade—but not everybody learns on the same level. I excelled in writing and grammar; I stunk at math. Mom figured this out and adapted my curriculum according to my needs. It was awesome. I still learned math, but I thrived with the pen.
Because I had the freedom to.
No Age Discrimination
Hanging out with younger kids in public school is so not cool. Separation of the classes, they say. You’ll hear seniors say, “Stupid freshmen.” It’s a status thing, and it’s so not cool. I never felt higher or lower than any kid because I was never in a certain grade.
How often do you see your high school friends? Class reunion probably. But family will never leave you. They’re in your blood. So why not foster those relationships when you’re a kid?
No Peer Pressure
I am so thankful I never had to deal with peer pressure. Kids can be mean. They can intimidate you to do drugs, steal, drink, smoke, swear, join gangs, and have sex. These pressures are rampant in both middle and high school settings. Every day.
Lucky for me, by the time I reached college, I was set in my ways, so even if some weirdo came up to me and offered me drugs, I’d probably laugh. The only bullying I’ve ever received were those all-too-curious grandmas in the supermarket.
Thank you for letting me share my heart on home education. I realize it’s not for everyone. But it was definitely for me.
Our reader-submitted “Ask the Grad” question comes from Traci, who asks,
What are some of the things you most enjoyed/ best memories you have as a homeschooler?
For a chunk of my middle school years, my dad, a former history teacher, worked swing shift. This meant he was at home during our school hours. I’ll never forget the day he assigned me to write a book report on a historical figure of my choice. I picked Michelangelo. I remember thinking: “How rad that the person who tucks me in at night can be my teacher too?”
Brittney enjoys all things writing. She and her husband, Caleb Breakey, are currently involved in a site designed exclusively for Teen Writers. They offer free page critiques, audio edits, contests, giveaways, and more. To join the face-paced online community, go to www.calebbreakey.com.