Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest post by Leah.

Well, I was picking on my mom for not blogging (Four whole days! What was she thinking?), and she said I should write a guest blog. So I did! Here goes!
Lately I've been talking to a Jenny [name changed to protect the innocent:)], a coworker of mine. Jenny and her husband have two children, and for various reasons, they're thinking about having Jenny be a stay-at-home mom and home school the kids. When she told me about this, I said, "You know, I was home schooled all the way through high school and I'm a pretty big fan of it!" Jenny: "Really? Did you ever feel like you were . . . [searching for a nice way to say it] limited by not going to school?" Me: "That depends on how you define limited, I guess."
Jenny basically said the same thing (in a nicer way) people say to me all the time when they find out I was home schooled. How did you have friends? Did you ever feel like you missed out? Did you wish you went to school? Were you angry at your parents because they didn't let you go to school? Didn't you want to be normal? How did you get into college? Was it hard to adjust to a classroom? What about college social life?
Here are my answers, as a bona fide home school graduate, to all of those questions.
Q: How did you have friends?
A: I was a nice person. How do YOU have friends? (This is my standard answer)
     In all seriousness, I made friends at church, and when I was fourteen we started using a home school co-op for music lessons, so I made friends in the orchestra. Yet another perk of getting your child music lessons (I'm a music teacher. I had to make a plug for it). But we also played with the neighbor's kids after they got home from school. "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly" and all that. :)
Q: Did you ever feel like you missed out?
A: There were times growing up when I wondered what it was like to go to school and be with friends all day. Then the movie Mean Girls came out and cured me of that.
     No, I never really felt like I missed out. Unless by "missing out" you mean missing out on getting teased, missing out on the drugs, smoking, immature dating relationships, sneaking around, and dishonoring parents. If that's what you mean, then yes, I totally missed out, praise God.
Q: Did you ever wish you went to school?
A: I did once, that I remember. But the next morning when I woke up at 8, instead of 5:30 (like most high school girls do), all of a sudden I got really thankful for being home schooled.
Q: Were you angry at your parents because they didn't let you go to school?
A: I don't remember ever feeling angry at my parents for not putting me in school.
     I understand that parents don't want their kids to be angry at them. But with all due respect, you're the parent. Sometimes your kids won't like the choices you make (having to mow the grass when I was a teen comes to mind), but you're the adult and you know better. Do what you know is right for your kid. They'll come around. Especially when they wake up at 8 instead of 5:30. It does wonders for the attitude.
Q: Didn't you want to be normal?
A: Why the heck would I want to be normal?
     Normal for a teen girl means you or a close friend has an eating disorder, and have worried about being fat since age four. FOUR. Normal means you've slept with someone by age 14. Normal means having smoked a cigarette by age 12, and had your first alcoholic drink by age 11. Normal is wearing trashy, immodest clothes to advertise how insecure you are and how easy it'll be to take advantage of you. Normal is yelling at your parents when you don't get the new iPhone ALLLLLL the other kids are getting. Normal? I'll pass.
Q: How did you get into college?
A: I took the SAT and applied. What did you do?
     No offense, but this has got to be the dumbest question ever. There's only one way to get into college. Take a standardized test and then apply. Duh. My mom kept track of my high school courses and sent in a transcript just like other schools, and since I was going to be a music major, I auditioned. In the middle of April I got an acceptance letter. It's not rocket science.
Q: Was it hard to adjust to a classroom?
A: Not really. It was definitely different, but I thought it was pretty easy to adjust. I enjoyed being in class with my friends, but I was always sort of the nerd of the group and I tended to study more than they did. Now that I've worked for a year and I'm in grad school, I can safely say that being the nerd is totally worth it. Plus, in college the nerds are the ones who get begged for tutoring. I can't tell you how many poor little freshmen I helped pass music theory. :)
Q: What about college social life?
A: It was kind of weird being around a bunch of people my age at first. I'd always been in more (dare I say it?) diverse groups. It only took about two days for me to realize this whole college thing could really be a blast. I got involved with a Christian student group, helped found and run a chapter of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), and worked on good conservatives' political campaigns with the College Republicans. Ironically, they made me the Social Events Chair my junior year. The home schooler. Imagine that.
     Home schooling isn't just an educational choice. It's a lifestyle. It really is what you make of it. Personally, I'd take it every day of the week over being in school. So to answer Jenny's question, no, I was definitely not limited. On the contrary – I had then and have now more freedom than the vast majority of my classroom-schooled peers. I'm incredibly thankful that my parents home schooled me, and I definitely plan to do the same for my children someday.
          Basically, I have a pretty great life. But it started at home. My parents are still the biggest influence in my life, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. After all, they're the ones who taught me about Jesus. And He makes all the difference in the world.



Heidi said...

Leah~ Thanks for taking the time to write this post. I loved reading it. In fact, I think I'll share a link to it on my FB page.

NaomiG said...

AHHHH! I love this. I was homeschooled too, and so many of your answers are the same as mine are to these questions. And, being a second generation homeschooling mom is wonderful... I just love it. I especially love it when my kids complain about missing out one day, and then see the school bus drive by at four in the afternoon and cheer for homeschooling and the fact that they've been done with school for "hours!". :-)

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Leah, do you mind if I post a link to this post on my facebook? I mean, it's already out there on the www, but I'd like some of the people I know whose eyebrows raise at homeschoolers (like me) to read your perspective.

And I love that you did this for your mom, btw. :-) Job well done.

Connie said...

Wow! What a post! Smart, talented AND pretty. Karen and Ben, you raised her well!