Yes, I Was Homeschooled

Yes, I Was Homeschooled Which Means My Classroom Was My Living Room

What it was like going from my living room to a University with 45,948 other students.

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For some mysterious reason, Cincinnati people are obsessed with asking what high school you went to, so my answer usually raises a few eyebrows.

Once people find out where I went to high school, there's typically an inevitable barrage of questions that soon follow...Here's my attempt to explain my education history in a little more than an elevator pitch. Just as a disclaimer: there are many ways that someone can be homeschooled, and I can't speak to every one of them, only my own experience. To introduce myself a little bit, I went to preschool and began my homeschooling journey as a kindergartner. My mom taught my younger sister and I all our subjects, using a mix of different curriculum. Some families choose one publisher and stick with them for all their subjects but others choose different publishers depending on the subject.

We had lesson plans for each day, and as long as we got our work done - whether it was by 12 p.m. or 4 p.m., we had the rest of our day to do whatever we wanted. Legal regulations for homeschooling in Ohio are pretty simple compared to some other states. Parents have to submit an annual notification to the school superintendent to excuse them from compulsory attendance, provide 900 hours of instruction per year, and provide an assessment of the student's work, either through standardized testing or a third-party evaluator.

How did you have friends?

I did a lot of extra-curricular activities, like clubs and dance lessons, where I made my earliest friends. My childhood was pretty normal - I liked playing outside, watching Cyberchase, and staying up past my bedtime. But it definitely started to get lonely in middle school, so I begged my parents to let me go to "real school." Seeing how unhappy I had become, my parents enrolled me in a homeschool cooperative (co-op) that met twice a week and the social butterfly in me came out from the cocoon. I had teachers for different subjects and classmates (like 14 classmates, but classmates nonetheless) so I made friends with everyone I possibly could. There, I met some of my closest friends that I still hang out with today. I think being homeschooled pushed me to go out of my comfort zone and seek out friendships since I didn't always have a class of kids who were my age to socialize with.

What about prom?

Our homeschool co-op hosted a school dance every year, between the two different campuses that each had around 150 students in 7th-12th grade. Most years it was at a fancy event hall, and one year it was at the Newport Aquarium!

I bet you didn't have to do any work...

I wish. I read Romeo and Juliet like everyone else did in high school. My co-op was also college-preparatory, so they made us read Dante's Divine Comedy in its entirety and I wrote 13-page papers about the "Development of Individualism in Fashion."

Did you like it?

Most of the time, yes! I'm a very independent person, so I liked being able to do most of my work whenever it was convenient. Being a night owl, that was usually late at night. It gave me the flexibility to work in high school as well, so I was able to work two part-time jobs at one point while also being involved in what I was passionate about, things like community service and music. Piano lessons and show rehearsals consumed a lot of my time. Balancing homework with a job, social life, and sleep... I pulled way too many all-nighters.

I definitely did school in my pajamas. All the time.

Homeschooling isn't for everyone. Sometimes, I wonder what I would be like if I hadn't been homeschooled if I maybe missed out on the quintessential high school experience. But it has made me who I am today, so I wouldn't trade it for the world. Transitioning from being the only student in my 4th grade class to being one of thousands at the University of Cincinnati has been crazy and exciting, but I think the values of independent learning and time management prepared me well for college and I can't wait to learn for the next four years from all the people I have the privilege of going to school with.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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High School Graduates, Here Is How To Prepare For College Like A Boss

Know that you will never feel ready.

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The time has come! You have officially completed your normative education. Now you are onto the next step, college. As a graduating senior, you may be feeling one of two things: ready to get out of the house or ready to crawl into a hole and die because you feel unprepared.

Well for those who are wanting to crawl into a hole, this is for you.

First things first, one of the best pieces of college advice anyone can give you is - you are never going to feel prepared for the next step. It does not matter if you know what your major is going into college, once you get to your college graduation, you will be in the same boat. But know that it is okay to not be ready for the next step. And do not let this freak you out, let it comfort you because you're no different being a senior in high school than what a senior in college is feeling.

Not feeling ready, is the perfect amount of anxiety to drive you to do your research so that you can best prepare yourself for the next step. Hence, why you are reading this article.

So take a deep breath, know that you are human.

Secondly, the best way to prepare for college is to do exactly what you are doing, research. Reading advice columns written by yours truly, or heck check out other articles about preparing for college written by other creators of this site, or asking friends or family who are in or has been in college for advice is the best thing to do to prepare.

Everyone has their own unique college experiences, so by gathering as many perspectives on dorm room decor, roommates, classes, and so on will help you figure out the best ways to go about things like picking a roommate, knowing where to live, what to buy, and what to expect.

Thirdly, learn how to manage your time now. You may think you are the best at time management; however, college is a whole other ballpark when it comes to time. There are so many things, events, classes, assignments, friends that will want to take up your time. You're going to have to learn how to juggle a social life, sleep life, and academic life like you have never believed. The number one thing incoming freshmen struggle with is learning how to do this. Get ahead of the curve and begin to research and train yourself on how to best manage your time.

Lastly, take the time to ask your parents, guardian, friends mom, your neighbor - whoever, to show you how to do simple tasks that you may not know now. Such as: how to do laundry, how to fold laundry, how to grocery shop, how to cook simple meals, how to cook microwave mac n cheese (trust me, some people are clueless).

The hardest part about college is learning how to do things on your own because, guess what, mommy and daddy are not going to be there to do it for you anymore. Best to learn it now than to be that kid acting completely clueless in the laundry room and adding bleach to their dark colors. College is an exciting time to learn independence, but you have to have the skills to be independent.

Teach yourself these skills now, so that you can rock it your freshman year.

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