As a student who has homeschooled every since Kindergarten, I can honestly say that homeschooling takes guts and bravery. The day-to-day process is hard on the parent and on the student. Two to three times weekly I meet some people who are completely fascinated with my experience and want to know more. Unfortunately, I also meet some people who question how I interact with people, my intelligence level, and the overall homeschool lifestyle. Still others want to know “what is so wrong with public school?” Some people can be downright disrespectful, and a few applaud our family’s educational choice. The question I am asked most is “what is it like to be homeschooled?” There are so many different responses. So here I go….
First we will address stereotypes.There are so many misconceptions, starting with: “Do your parents do your homework?” “Do you have any friends?” “Are you scared of the world?” No, I feel very comfortable and confident with the person I am. Each homeschooler is different and unique in their own way. It depends on their surroundings, upbringing, and what they’ve been exposed to. There are different co-ops out there. Homeschoolers have their own community. You would be amazed at all the opportunities we get. I’m not just saying all of this to change your mind or make you like homeschoolers. You don’t have to like us but respect us.
I want to be a veterinarian. Being homeschooled has allowed me to be flexible with my schedule and take advantage of many opportunities. This school year I have been volunteering a few days a week at a nearby animal hospital. There I have been able to acquire different skills and gain hands on experience. I have also house sat for seven cats while the owner was in the hospital. Although I have not really been a cat owner, I have fallen in love with all of them. During the three months that I cared for them alone every afternoon (checked on them, cleaned up, fed them, some cuddle time, etc.), I was able to gain their trust and learn their different personalities. These experiences have helped me to feel comfortable with my major choice (for now) and to explore some different options for my intended field.
Whether you’re homeschooled or go to public school, you can’t change who you are. In my homeschool I don’t have to worry about being bullied, being picked on because of the way I look or where I come from. Home has no peer pressure or clicks, especially with only two students (different ages). Sure, I have to make the effort to be around people more often, I have to work a little harder to make friends sometimes, and there are times when I am lonely -especially since my older sister, who is closer in age, has gone three hours away to college (she just finished her Sophomore year by the way). GO HANNAH!!!
My mom is my teacher/ coach/ mentor/ nag all rolled into one (positive and occasionally negative, I love you mom). My little sister is young, and requires a lot of extra attention. That can be annoying sometimes. I do see my family, including aunts, grandmothers, and cousins often. I don’t get as much of the mall teenage time in, mainly due to my volunteer and extra curricular schedule. At this stage, I have more work deadlines for papers and less multiple choice tests. We do more narrating, note taking, and library time. My school is kinda project based with real literature. We read daily. I am now following the campaign trail for a class.
I get to eat what I want provided it is in the house. We do lunch out weekly, and also can travel while still doing school work. I work out almost every day at home, walk my dog, check on the cats, etc. I can sleep late if I need to, and take plenty of time on my hair. I do try to follow a schedule though.
Being homeschooled has been one of the best decisions I think my parents made for me. I love them for making this sacrifice. It has opened so many different doors for me. I’ve been able to experience so many things. Every little thing makes you the special person you are growing into. I can honestly look into the mirror every day and feel proud of who I am becoming. Being homeschooled has taught me to love myself, speak up, to be strong minded, and to always look at things from an open-minded approach. I am optimistic, respect others, and respect the planet. I do not second guess myself. I am willing to try new things and also to work through any challenges.
So next time you see or meet a homeschooler and you ask what’s it like to be homeschooled, ask with an open mind because we all have a different answer to the same question.
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