Friends, I’m so exited to have you meet Sarah, a young lady from our church who was homeschooled, has earned her Bachelor degree, and is now working on her Masters. We are blessed to be part of a church that has quiet a few adults who have been homeschooled. People like Sarah reassure me that we are on the right track with educating our children at home.
Q: Sarah, describe for us your home-school experience. What was your day to day like?
A: I was solely home-schooled from K-5 Grade, where I did all my learning and instruction within the home from my mother. We worked mostly in the mornings and did chores and extra-curricular activities in the afternoons. In junior high and high school I was still home-schooled but also took classes once a week from a tutorial organization that was designed to assist home-schooling families. Because my work could be completed on my own timeline I became a nanny for two children three days a week while I was in high school and also took dance classes for twenty hours a week.
Q: What were the reasons your parents decided to home-school. Was this accepted in your community?
A: My parents chose to home school me and my two brothers because they wanted to have the final decisions over what information we would be learning. Because my father was in the Air Force it was also easier to home school us so we did not have to transfer to different schools throughout the various moves in our childhood. I always remember being a part of a home school co-op or some kind of extra group so I can’t really speak to if it was accepted in our community or not. Within our own circle of friends and peers it always seemed accepted because we did extra curricular activities with other home-schoolers.
When we began home-schooling in New Mexico we were also attending Foothills Fellowship Church in Albuquerque where there is a high population of home school families. We could again plug into a welcoming co-op were our homeschooling was supported. I had so many friends who were home-schoolers that it was really part of my culture growing up so I didn’t see the big difference until I was in high school.
Q: What did you like about home-schooling, and what did you not like?
A: I so appreciated the flexibility that home schooling allows. I loved completing the work on my own schedule while also having the freedom to be a nanny and spend so many hours at my dance studio. On the flip side, I did not like explaining to my peers what I did all day, and trying to combat the stereotypes of home schoolers. Often home schoolers are either seen as socially awkward or some young savant who goes to college at the age of 12, when in reality most homeschoolers simply just do their work at home instead of in a public institution. I always wanted to be exactly like all my friends when I was younger and hated giving my spiel about how I didn’t really “go” to school. Looking back at my education, I now fully appreciate being homeschooled because of the solid education I did receive, how it prepared me so well for secondary education, and how in reality I was probably saved from many temptations that I was not mature enough to refuse at the time. Being home-schooled allowed me to build my identity in Christ instead of the world, something I am now so grateful for!!
Q: Describe a favorite field trip, project, or internship.
A: Because my mom developed our curriculum she also looked for local opportunities that would reinforce the concepts we were learning at the time. I remember taking trips to the roundhouse in Santa Fe, NM and completing science projects outside instead of reading them out of a book. My mom always encouraged us to learn through songs and plays and to build up our creative sides. I still remember my favorite song we learned in an early English class: “A verb verb verb is an action word, so put me where the action is ‘cause I’m an action word!!” My favorite aspect about home-schooling was that it could be in many different forms and deliveries, but we still learned the material.
Q: How has home-schooling prepared you for college? What was the biggest challenge in college?
A: Home-schooling really prepared me for college by teaching me the necessary study traits to learn, study, and work on my own. I had built up a great school work ethic throughout my years at home and could transfer these skills to my work in college. Because of this independence in my schooling I found some classes really frustrating. Some professors would simply read or teach from a textbook, and due to my independent learning style I always felt that I could do that learning on my own, and wanted more out of some of my classes. Overall I found college to come easily for me and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Mexico.
Q: What is your current profession and what plans do you have for your future?
A: I am currently getting my Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Mexico and will be graduating in Dec 2013. I plan to work in a rehab facility for a few years and then work long term as an occupational therapist in a school district. My husband and I also plan to have children when I finish my degree program. I do plan to work in the public school system to hopefully improve the educational experience of children with disabilities. Even though I enjoyed my home-schooling experience I am still on the fence on whether I will be home-schooling my own children or not. My husband and I have been endlessly blessed by the Lord and I will seek His guidance when this final decision is needed.
Thank you, Sarah!
Hasn’t she painted a vivid picture of her childhood that one can only dream of, lots of time to be creative and pursue your hobbies, but at the same time completing her work. I like how her mom used different approaches like songs, outside work, and plays. I need to make a note of that. I appreciate Sarah’s honesty about the challenges and struggles she had wanting to fit in. I also like that she is thoughtfully deliberating about her future children’s education. Isn’t that what we hope for, that our children one day critically weigh all options.