Debunking Homeschooling Myths

 

When hearing someone is homeschooled, most of us immediately picture a student at a kitchen table with their parents poring over a textbook in near isolation. But as a student who was homeschooled throughout middle and high school, I’m here to change your perceptions and open your eyes to the amazing possibilities of a non-traditional schooling experience.

 

It’s important to understand that homeschooling can take many different paths. When applying to colleges, I had to apply as a “homeschooled applicant” and submit a non-traditional transcript curated by yes, my mom, but other than that simple phrase you use when applying for higher education, homeschooling can be whatever you want it to be.

 

Online institutions, such as K12 and Well-Trained Mind Academy, offer a full curriculum of academic classes and include virtual classrooms where attendance to lectures is mandatory — the teacher even video chats the entire class, with students answering questions by typing into a chat column. I completed courses at these institutions during middle school and received official transcripts to send to my college. Whether a student is looking for the four traditional academic pursuits of math, English, science, and social studies or important electives like foreign languages, computer programming, or electronics, everything can be done with a full-time teacher, eliminating the notion that parents personally teach their homeschooled children.  

 

One little known fact is that in most states, students can enroll in elective courses at their local school without being a full-time student (and AP classes count as electives in many states). This way they can still get a high school experience and socialize with their peers without having to stay in a brick-and-mortar school eight hours a day.

 

When my junior year came around, I decided to enroll at my community college for my core classes. After two years of attending classes, I was able to graduate from high school with an Associate’s Degree as well as my diploma. If you have the means to do this, there can be many benefits; classes at a community college are far less expensive than a larger 4-year university. If you know what you want to study, this is a great way to get your general credits completed (almost all of my credits transferred to UW — there is always a possibility something may not, but there are resources available to help someone figure this out), and having a college classroom experience before attending a larger university can help immensely with the college transition.

 

 

When discussing my homeschooled experience, people often assume that because I was homeschooled, my siblings must be homeschooled too — not the case! I chose this educational path because I knew I didn’t want to be in a public school setting. Being able to self-school means you must be disciplined and self-motivated, and truly want to do it. I had other goals to accomplish that would have been difficult with a traditional school schedule and setting, and the flexibility inherent with homeschooling allowed me to achieve those goals. Each homeschooling situation is unique, as are their reasons: some students often traveled with their family, some were pursuing careers in dance and needed several hours a day for practice, and still others (like me) saw value in getting classwork done early in the day, leaving the remaining hours free to pursue other interests.

 

Of course, unique educational paths aren’t possible for every single student or family, but many community colleges allow students to dual-enroll, some high schools offer online classes to create a different schedule, or parent’s schedules may enable them to work at home with their children or take them to their office. With all those options, it’s easier than ever before for many students to personalize your academic experience.

 

So, why does this topic matter to you if you’re already in college? It’s important for everyone to understand that one’s education, just like any other cultural path, isn’t always traditional. If you know of students or siblings who want to explore other options or feel that they aren’t getting as much out of their education as they would like, then empower them not to be afraid to explore other options. Academics should be enjoyed, not something we just “all have to do.”