Saturday, October 3, 2015

Homeschoolers All Grown Up --- Part 1

I am curious about what it was like to be I decided to interview a bunch of former homeschoolers.   You can read the full introduction here.  

Disclaimer:  This was not an unbiased interview process or anything.  There was selection bias in the people who I interviewed.  I asked around on a couple of Facebook groups to which I belong and on my personal Facebook page.   Most of the groups I belong to and most of my friends involve fellow Catholics/Christians and other people with similar values as myself.   I'm sure if I had asked on the  Angry Athiests Who Are The Former Homeschooled Children of Fundamentalist Christians, I might have gotten different answers.  But, I don't belong to that group. 

So, here are the first sets of answers with their made-up anonymous names.  All names have been changed to protect the privacy of those who responded.  To all my participants:  I apologize in in advance if your anonymous name is one you've always hated

Second Note:  These responses are unedited (other than for formatting).  I have left any grammar/punctation errors and original sentence structure intact.  I thought that was important, as it gives an idea of how well former homeschoolers write. (Spoiler: Most of them write very well!) 


1. How long were you homeschooled for and what ages/grades?

I was homeschooled for 2 years: 6th and 7th grades.

2. What was your parents’ primary motivation for homeschooling (if known)?

My brothers and I had attended parochial school for years.  We switched schools when I was going into 5th grade, from a very poor school with a homey and loving attitude, to a wealthy school with a seemingly elitist attitude. My mom began getting more and more frustrated that parents had little say in the school. The straw that broke the camel's back was when my brother, in 7th grade at the time, completed a solar panel science project (This was the 80s! It was a big deal!). He did the whole project himself and received a C, while students whose parents had clearly done the majority of the project received A's. My brother, always a scientist at heart, lost motivation and my momdecided enough was enough.  They pulled us out of school at the end of that school year.

3. How do you overall feel about your homeschool experience?

At the time, I wasn't sure I liked it.  I was super social and being home with just my brothers was rough.  But looking back I see that it pushed a reset button on our family life.  It allowed my parents to reconnect with us kids and changed our family dynamic for the better.

4. How do you feel about the social experiences you had as a homeschooler? Do you feel that you had enough friends, or enough opportunities for friendship?

Because I was homeschooled in the late 1980's and early 1990's, homeschoolers were rare. I have a bunch of siblings, so I did have kids to play with.  But my mom is an introvert and I am an extrovert, so that made it a little more difficult.  I did have neighbor friends who I remained close with.  But then, they weren't the best influence on me!

5. How do you feel about your education? Do you feel you received an average, above average or below average education compared to same-­aged peers in your community?

I was ahead in everything except for math. basically because I hated math and totally skated by.  I used to just copy the answers out of the back of the back.  I don't know if I've ever confessed that, actually...  ;) No, but my language skills were above my peers and my math caught up in high school.

6. What did you do after graduation? College? Work? How prepared did you feel for “the next step?”

I skipped 8th grade and went to a brick-and-mortar high school, and then off to college.  I was prepared for the next step, definitely, even though I skipped 8th grade.



1. How long were you homeschooled for and what ages/grades?

I was homeschooled until the seventh grade! During the summer after my 6th grade year, my family moved to a new diocese where there are a tons of awesome Catholic schools—and tuition is free for active Catholic families! My siblings and I were curious to see what going to a “real school” was like, what it was like to have a locker, uniform, multiple teachers, and those kinds of things, so we gave it a try!

2. What was your parents’ primary motivation for homeschooling (if known)?

I don’t know word ­for ­word what their motivation was, but here’s my best shot: My parents always instilled in us kids that as parents, they were our primary educators. While brick­ and­mortar schools offer many wonderful opportunities, in homeschooling, my parents were able to steep our educational experience in solid moral foundations and center our lives on and around the family.

3. How do you overall feel about your homeschool experience?

I loved it!!!!!!! I honestly would not be the woman I am today without my homeschooling
foundation. When I started attending a private Catholic school in the 7th grade, I really
appreciated my homeschooling roots. I mean, there were great things about being in the school, but there are so many negative influences & terrible peer pressure that I greatly appreciated how homeschooling helped me to grow in strength as a person outside of the tidal wave of pop culture.

4. How do you feel about the social experiences you had as a homeschooler? Do you feel that you had enough friends, or enough opportunities for friendship?

I believe an important thing to discuss here is “Quantity vs. Quality.” Sure, when I was attending a private school, there was a massive quantity of Catholic kids my own age! However, based on many factors, I didn’t become friends with all of these kids. As I continued to move onto Catholic high school, I befriended lots of wonderful people, but many of these friendships didn’t necessarily last, because our common ground was mainly found in classroom settings. Some friendships have continued to last (for example, my best friend and I have been close since middle school),but others have dwindled over time, which is perfectly natural.

On the other hand, I would place homeschooling friendships in the category of “Quality.” Even if I had only a few other homeschooled friends, even if I only saw certain friends at once­ a ­month gatherings (or less frequently!), and even if my friends and I were different ages, our friendships grew strong. Whenever we saw each other, it felt like we hadn’t been apart that long, and simply picked up our conversations where we left off. Instead of being based in the classroom setting, my homeschooling friendships typically grew between other people and I who all shared similar values and passions.

5. How do you feel about your education? Do you feel you received an average, above average or below average education compared to same-­aged peers in your community?

I am so blessed to receive the education I did! When I started attending private school in the
seventh grade, I really saw the awesome effects of my homeschooling education. When I
homeschooled, my mom was fairly unstructured, so the main subjects I had each day were math, reading from my history book, and possibly reading from a science book & doing some spelling tests or handwriting practice. When I began school in the seventh grade, I had never written a formal research paper or done any major formal projects! However, my critical thinking abilities, love of reading, and writing skills were all nurtured by my homeschooling education—and these gave me a big boost above many of my classmates. My homeschooling education was definitely above ­average, I feel, because that natural love of reading, writing, and discovery were all invaluable in the classroom.

6. What did you do after graduation? College? Work? How prepared did you feel for “the next step?”

After homeschooling, I did six years of Catholic school (two years of middle school, four years of high school), and then I went onto a Catholic college. All of my education greatly prepared me for this liberal arts university, because I didn’t just know how to memorize facts and take exams (courtesy of my private school experience); I also knew how to think, and how to stand up for the Truth (courtesy of my homeschool experience). I went to an awesome college, but any time you get a huge group of people from different backgrounds together, there are always opportunities where you need to stand convicted in your beliefs. I feel that homeschooling really taught me how to be convicted in my beliefs, radical, independent, and willing to work hard—and all of these are aspects not just important for college, but for life in general.



1.I was home schooled from 4th-8th grade full time. And then 9th-12th I took some classes at the high school and did some learning at home.

2. My mom didn't care for the one sided way of learning they did in that school. I was falling behind a bit. She thought that home schooling would be a better way to help me meet my potential.

3. It was OK. I definitely think if you don't have a large group of other home schooling families in the area, your children can be deprived socially, and maybe even feel "singled out".

4. I had some home school friends and some friends that went to regular schools in my town. 

5. I would say Average in both home school and regular school. I all round the education in elementary and high school in my town, could have creatively challenged their students more. Also I think how well any school does depends on the teacher and the curriculum the parent is using.

6. I went to a vocational school after high school. Then I opened my own business. I don't think it's possible to be prepared in every way for the world, because you never know what life throws at you. What I think happens is our parents tend to prepare us for the challenges they had to face in their life, but not necessarily for what is coming in their kids generation. I know people who took courses in fields that are in high demand, but yet they either can't find a job, or they had to settle for a job position related to their education that ideally wasn't what they wanted. 

Read Part II  and Part III  and Part IV.

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