The Shocking Truth About Home Schooling

The Shocking Truth About Home Schooling

No, being home schooled does not mean I was in a cult.
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I was home schooled from pre-K to senior year of high school, and I'm not part of a cult. Or sheltered. Or socially awkward...most of the time. Well, part of the time. Sometimes.

For a lot of people, those statements sound mutually exclusive. My time in college has been filled with shocked faces and muffled gasps when people discover my apparently surprising background. This is quickly followed by a myriad of questions:

Did you get to watch TV? Did you wear pajamas all day? Do you have a learning disability or are you exceptionally smart? Did you have friends or social media? Did you live on a farm? Were your parents incredibly strict? Are you a conservative? Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

Duh, Santa Claus exists. Who do you think eats the Christmas cookies?

I want to debunk some popular myths about being home schooled. Some of the urban legends are true (yes, I did get to do school in my pajamas). Some—most—are not. No, I did not learn six languages and master quantum mechanics by sixth grade. Unfortunately. Sigh. But I did get a thorough and well-developed education, very similar to kids who went to a public or private or charter or any other kind of school. And by very similar, I mean basically identical. The only difference is I got to learn ninja warrior arts instead of P.E.

Yes, that was a joke.

In all seriousness, my childhood was very similar to anyone else's. I got up in the mornings, did school (usually in the kitchen or living room), got frustrated by math, ate lunch, did more school, got confused by science, ate dinner, did more school, read a book, hung out with friends, watched TV, listened to music, ran amok and wreaked havoc and went to bed. Normal. My life was normal. High school consisted of a bunch of classes either online, at someone's house or at a church or camp. I went to classes with other kids, just like everybody else.

I watched TV, movies, YouTube. I listened to the radio, and I had an iPod. I read magazines and books and newspapers and just about anything else with words. I had a cell phone and Facebook and Instagram. I had friends. I had a life.

Transitioning into life at a public university was not a culture shock for me. Rather, I think it was far easier for me to adapt than a lot of my friends who went to a normal school. I had already been going to a community college for two years in a dual enrollment program (which means I got high school and college credit for the courses I was taking). So the workload and expectations of a college class were definitely not new. Managing my homework load over several days was something I’d been doing for years because when you’re homeschooled, all school is “homework.” I didn’t suffer socially, either. Being home schooled did not impair my ability to make friends or communicate or catch pop culture references. I was not sheltered, and even if I had been, going to a community college in the middle of a sketchy town would have quickly gotten me over that.

The truth is, I fully believe that being home schooled was a huge benefit for me. It’s certainly not for everyone. I absolutely hated it up until seventh grade, when I started taking classes outside the house with other kids. But I learned, and I learned well. I had small, personal classes with close friends. I had a lot of independence to create my own schedule. I was able to have a job that I could work at during the weekdays. I don’t think that being home schooled made me smarter than anyone else. I don’t think it gave me any magical abilities, but I do think it taught me to take learning seriously and developed my love for knowledge.

Basically, home schooling is quite simple. It’s going to school at home. No cults, no shrines, no voodoo hoodoo magic. Just school. And you still turn out just as weird as everyone else.

Cover Image Credit: The Artsy Forager

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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