Reactions I Get When I Say I Was Homeschooled

Reactions I Get When I Say I Was Homeschooled

You Shouldn't Always Believe The Stereotypes
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“So where did you go to school?” Once such a simple question, but one that now just annoys me. Why is that? Because I was homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Now don’t get me wrong- I was so happy with my homeschool experience, but what I’ve learned over the years is that not everybody gets homeschooling. When people find out that I’m homeschooled, I’m immediately slapped in the face with a giant STEREOTYPE. The labels- weird, shy, introverted, socially awkward, no friends- the list goes on of what people are so quick to assume must be true. I’m here today, because after dealing with this for fifteen years, I’m tired of it. So I’m sitting down and writing it all out. All the questions I get asked, all the labels I’m given- these are my truths from a homeschooler.

Why?

That’s the immediate question. In today’s society I guess I’m still surprised how many people know nothing about homeschooling. Everyone’s story of why they homeschooled is a little different. My story goes like this: My parents started homeschooling with my older sister, because it worked for their current situation, and my Mom enjoyed it so much that they continued. When it came time for me to start kindergarten, my Mom homeschooled me, and I loved it, so we stuck with it. That's the short and simple answer for how my family got into homeschooling.

Is your family extremely religious?

This is the only question that actually bothers me. Its funny- you’d think I’d get mad when people insinuate that I didn’t go to “real school” or that I must be academically behind because I was homeschooled. None of those questions really hurt me like this one does though. I think it’s because it's more of a personal question, and as someone who is a strong Christian, it's hurtful when people make critical assumptions of what they think your faith is like. No, my family is not part of a cult or some weird religious sect. Yes, we are Christians and our faith is a big part of our life, but that was not why my parents chose to homeschool.

Did you do school in your pajamas?

Okay this question really deserves an eye roll because it’s just that stupid. Um, yeah I sometimes did schoolwork in my pajamas, but who cares?

Did you do "real school"?

Again, stupid question. I get that there are some “homeschoolers” out there who totally deserve the stereotype, because they make the rest of us look bad. I can tell you straight up though that I worked just as hard, if not harder than anyone going to public, private, or virtual school. Because that’s the thing- homeschooling is still school, it’s just a different way of doing it. That doesn’t mean it’s weird or wrong or not as good. It’s school, with tests, hard classes, and every other thing that school brings with it.

Are you dumb?

People will never say this straight up, but they will totally insinuate it. Really? You want to compare test grades? With the flexibility of homeschooling I actually had enough classes done that I started going to community college part time my sophomore year of high school. I graduated with about seven classes already under my belt, and I finished high school (college classes included) with a 3.8 GPA. I’ve been on the honors roll at college for a few semesters and I’m in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor’s Society. So ask me that question again. Am I dumb? Well, I’ll just let my grades answer that.

How did you make friends?

Well I don’t know, how did you make friends? This was actually one of the most asked questions I received from my peers growing up. I had just as many friends as anyone else did, and I met them from lots of different places. I met two of my best friends in ballet, a few from church, and another two through a mutual friend. Just because I didn’t have all the socialization that a public school experience brings, I was never lacking in friendship. If anything, I think being homeschooled made me a friendlier person, because I learned at a young age that it was up to me to get out there and make friends.

Were you happy?

I think a lot of times people just assume that I was forced into homeschooling, and never had a say in it. Funny thing is though that I always had options. Over the years my parents and I looked at public, private, and virtual schools. My parents always asked me if I wanted to keep homeschooling or if I wanted to do something else. I really considered other options a few times, but at the end of the day I was happy with homeschooling. My elementary school years were filled with so much happiness, because I got to spend every day with my Mom and my sister. I can recall the fondest memories of my Mom teaching me to read, or teaching me how to write in cursive. I remember all of the wonderful field trips she took my sister and me on, and how she taught me multiplication. I continued to love homeschooling in my junior high and high school years, because that was the time that I learned independence and discipline. I learned study skills, and how to set a schedule for myself and follow it. I loved the flexibility that it brought, because if I had something pop up one day, I could just adjust my study time. I loved that when I was a senior in high school and we got a puppy, I was able to have her by my side every day, because I was homeschooled. I recognize now that I had a significantly better relationship with my parents in middle school and high school than any of my friends did, and I credit a lot of that to homeschooling. My point is- there are pros and cons to every type of schooling, and there is a different perfect fit for every single kid. For me homeschooling made me happy, and that’s the simple answer.

Are you anti-public school?

This one just makes me laugh. I see where people could get this idea, but I’ll tell you honestly- I don’t think any one method of schooling is better than another. I’m happy with my experience, but I by no means think that homeschooling is the only option. I think it depends on what works best for each person. If I could do it all over again, I would have actually liked to try a few years at a public school, just because I’d like to have that first hand understanding of what it’s like.

At the end of the day, it’s not about where we did our learning, it’s about how it impacted us, how it defined us as people, and what we learned along the way.

So take a few notes, and next time- don’t be so quick to judge what you don’t know.

Cover Image Credit: Emalee Fox

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Studying the LSAT and Working Full Time

How to make room for advancing your future while maintaining the present.

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Working full time and studying for the LSAT proves a delicate tightrope that many people grapple to tread. If you find yourself in such a situation, then some good news is on the horizon as many have juggled the requirements of both aspects seamlessly in the past. Today we take a look at what these individuals did and how you too can effectively balance the scales without leaning too much to one side or the other.


Starting early

Having a full-time job leaves little morsels of time to work with and often the best approach entails beginning early so that the collective total makes up constructive study hours in the long run. As a general rule of thumb for the working class, start a minimum of 4 but preferably 6 months to the date of the test. Science dictates that there are half a dozen intellectual and quality hours per day and with a demanding job breathing down your neck, you can only set aside about a third of that for productive LSAT test prep. With 3 months being the measure of ideal study time for a full-time student, you'll need double that period to be sufficiently up to par.


Maximizing your mornings

Studying in the evenings after a grueling and intellectually draining day at work is as good as reading blank textbooks. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to grasp complex concepts at this time, so start your mornings early so that you can devote this extra time when you are at your mental pinnacle to unraveling especially challenging topics. Evening study times should only be for refresher LSAT prep or going through light subject matters requiring little intellectual initiative. For those who hit their stride at night, take some time to unwind and complete your chores before getting down to business well before bedtime.

Taking some time off

All work and no play does indeed make Jack a dull boy and going back and forth between work and study is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. So take some time off of work every now and then, preferably during weekdays- you can ask for a day off every fortnight or so- as weekends are a prime study period free of work obligations. Such breaks reduce fatigue, better study performance and increase the capacity for information retention.

Prioritizing study

Given the scarce oasis of free time in your busy schedule, you cannot afford to miss even a single session and this commitment is important in spreading out the burden so that it is not overwhelming as you approach the finish line. Be sure to have a clear schedule in place and even set reminders/alarms to help enforce your timetable. If it's unavoidable to miss a single session, set aside a makeup as soon as possible.


Last but not least, have a strong finish. Once you are approaching the home run i.e. about 2 or 3 weeks to the test, take this time off to shift your focus solely to the test. The last month can make or break your LSAT test prep and it'll be hard to concentrate on working whilst focusing completely on the test.

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