I have been homeschooled since grade six. My education since then has been self-directed, which means that I learn about subjects that interest me; whether it be forensic science, distance running or bioethics. Even though I enjoyed homeschooling, I was beginning to wonder if I would be missing out on something if I didn’t attend high school. Part of me feared that without a traditional high school education, I would be missing out academically.
Even though my stint at high school only lasted 2.5 months, enrolling is one of the best decisions I’ve made. In fact, I encourage other homeschoolers to do the same. Here’s why:
You’ll learn to appreciate the little things, like getting enough sleep: I am always so well rested that I truly didn’t know what it felt like to be tired all time until I attended high school. As homeschoolers, we tend to take sleep for granted. Not to mention all the time we have to do things we love. For me, that includes reading and running.
Any fears regarding academic capabilities will be squashed: Studies prove that as a whole, homeschoolers perform better academically than their traditionally educated peers. But, if you’re anything like me, no amount of studies can completely reassure you that you are up to par to the school system’s standards. Turns out, even the IB program, which is considered the most difficult academic program in my city, wasn’t much of a challenge.
You won’t feel so bad about time management: When I was homeschooled, I got out of bed early in the morning and learned a great deal throughout the day, but I didn’t adhere to a strict schedule. There was always a voice in the back of my head nagging me. It said: “Emily, you could do so much more if you scheduled ever minute of your day.” When I went to school, I realized that as far as time management was concerned, I was doing just fine. The amount of time wasted during classes was astounding.
You’ll look at homeschooling through a new lens: In the months before I went to high school I got to the point where I had lost some of my initial enthusiasm for homeschooling. I still loved it, but I had doubts about not having enough structure and fears that I wasn’t doing enough strictly academic activities. Once I re-entered the school system, I realized that my fears were unfounded. I became passionate about alternative education, and began advocating for it like never before. I looked into the works of several homeschooling advocates like John Taylor Gatto and Peter Gray and I discovered the Teenage Liberation Handbook, which I recommend to any teenager.
It will show others how false the stereotypes about homeschoolers are: Nearly every person at the school asked me the same questions once they discovered I had been homeschooled: Did my mom teach me? Did I stay in my PJs all day? Did I have ANY friends? Was it better than regular school? I answered them all honestly, and I got more respect from my classmates once they realized what homeschooling meant for me.
If you are like me, and you are a homeschooled teen who feels like s/he is missing something – go ahead and give high school a try. Chances are, you will return to homeschooling with a brand new enthusiasm and appreciation. And if you’ve a teen who has never tried homeschooling, you just might discover a brand new path that will lead you directly toward your passions.