Homeschool Grad shares her experience and insight
I’m thrilled to share with you another interview with a homeschool grad. Her name is Jana, and she was homeschooled from 4th grade onwards. Today, she is a mother of a bright 2-yr old and married to a wonderful husband who was also homeschooled.
I truly hope that this interview provides you with insight and new thoughts to ponder. The beauty of homeschooling is that EVERY experience is so different – to read the reflections of another homeschooler who is now teaching the next generation – please click here.
As a child, were you aware of the reason why your family chose to homeschool?
My parents considered homschooling when I reached 1st grade, but my mom felt unable to give me a proper start in education with a toddler and new baby in her life as well. So, I was in public school for Grades 1-3, after which my parents realized homeschooling wasn’t as complicated as they imagined and they decided to pull me out of the system. They were also concerned about attitudes I was picking up from my classmates and friends. I started 4th grade at home, in 1990, and went thru high school! My four siblings were always homeschooled (the youngest is currently in 11th grade).
Around this time, a Christian homechooling group began in our area, and I think having connections with other parents really helped them those first few years. Both sets of grandparents weren’t too thrilled about us being “left to ourselves” (as they put it), but very quickly saw the benefits and were full supporters. They also couldn’t complain about being able to visit with the grandchildren more frequently!
What methods were used in your studies?
We tried about everything! My mom started with KONOS unit studies, which we loved, and we also did textbooks, Abeka paces, etc. For highschool, I used the “Far Above Rubies” curriculum with supplements, such as Saxon Math and Bob Jones biology textbooks. Overall, I believe my parents did (and are still doing) a good job in mixing classroom time with field trips and hands on experiences, especially in the younger years. My dad is fairly science and math minded, so those areas were not neglected.
What did you enjoy most about your own homeschool experience?
I enjoyed homeschooling for the ability to work at my own pace. If math was confusing, I could spend more time on a lesson and not be rushed ahead. I was not confined by the typical grade boundaries, and I wasn’t confined to the typical school hours. If I finished ahead, great!
Some of my best homeschooling memories were with the co-op group my parents joined in the beginning. We did awesome field trips, and had themed monthly meetings (like a medieval feast, complete with costumes and authentic food!).
Have you noticed a difference between the culture and popularity of homeschooling is today compared to when you were the student? In what ways?
Homeschooling has definitely changed in the past 20 years — there are more resources, assistance to parents, even online learning thru public schools. Homechooling is more widely accepted, and graduates are welcomed into colleges because their reputation of knowledge and positive behavior has proceeded them. I truly believe that any parent can homeschool their child(ren). There are some circumstances that might dictate otherwise, and that’s ok, but overall, it’s not so much of a solo endeavor like I remember my parents experiencing. The chance to introduce a child to the beauty of words, history and so much more is a gift!
How did it affect your ability to transition to new stages in your life?
Because I spent so much of my social time only around conservative homeschoolers, I found it hard to transition to “the real world”. This is probably the only regret I’ve experienced, and one I want to avoid with my child. However, I see this more due to the conservative side than actual homeschooling. I believe my parents did a good job preparing us academically for new stages in life, but I see how they lacked socially and in general every day real world life. They were too busy sheltering us from the “evils of the world” (and I take issue with some things they called evil but were not) when instead they should have taught us to be in the world, but not of it.
If you have children now – or plan to have a family in the future – would you homeschool them?
Yes, we will homeschool! My husband was homeschooled for all 12 grades as well. Our daughter is 2 and we’ve already “started” with basic preschool in every day play time.
If yes, what would you change, and what would stay the same about the way you homeschool your children? If no – or unsure, what are your thoughts on that?
I love the co-op community and would definitely look into this option. I’m also interested to find out what our daughter’s learning style is, and work with that instead of forcing a certain method. Maybe she is more of a textbook student than I was! That would certainly be easier, in a sense, but I believe the beauty of homeschooling is the multitude of ways to accomplish the teaching.
In closing, I want to give encouragement to those moms just starting on the homeschooling journey, or those considering it. I’ve had friends tell me, “Oh, I could never be around my kids all day, I’d go crazy!” or “I’m not qualified to teach, I barely made it thru high school.” Or even, “We tried homeschooling for a year and it was awful, my kids never listened to me!” Again, there are those circumstances that may not be the best for homeschooling and I completely respect that.
But I am a believer in closely examining the reasons you homeschool/want to homeschool and letting those be your foundation. Remember, there are so many resources available to parents — you are not alone! Your children will love the one-on-one time with the one or two adults that mean the world to them. A school day doesn’t have to be from 9-3, nose in the books, with timed breaks (although that can work too). Make learning fun, make it memorable. Seek help, whether local or online, and give yourself permission to make mistakes then start again.
Parents homeschool for many different reasons. And to those who see it as a calling from God, I say, “that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”. (Phil 1:6)
Thank you so kindly Jana for sharing with us your honest advice and thoughts on your own experience growing up!
If you are a homeschool graduate and would like to share your thoughts please feel free to submit a comment below – or contact us to post your own anonymous interview.