Homeschooling provides appreciation for learning

Illustration by Margo Kazak

Illustration by Margo Kazak

Karina Benson, co a&e editor

I vividly remember my first day of third grade. I remember waking up as soon as my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and I remember walking into my parents’ bedroom five minutes later with my backpack already on. My mom and dad were still in their pajamas, their eyes squinting down at me disbelievingly. This was a big day for me, but not because I was anxious to be reunited with my school pals. I had never been to public school before.

For years, I would wake up in the late morning, pour myself a bowl of cereal, and head downstairs to begin my school day with the rest of my family. Despite the stigmas surrounding homeschooling, I was neither chained to my desk all day nor was I allowed to plant myself in front of the television for hours upon end. I was constantly reading and nearly every day my dad would call me into his office for an hour long math session. My parents went to great lengths to ensure that my siblings and I appreciated learning for what it was: a gift. Sure, we had to study topics that weren’t particularly appealing, but we also got to study things like Greek mythology and my brother, Kevin, learned  Latin.

I was not homeschooled as long as my siblings, however, as Kevin and Lauren were closer in age and my parents didn’t want me to feel isolated. They believed I would receive a higher quality of education at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School. So, I went. Just because I began attending public school, though, didn’t mean that the ideologies of my parents shifted at all. Whenever my parents felt that I wasn’t being challenged enough or that I was struggling in a particular area, they would supplement my education at home.

Homeschooling was never meant to be a criticism of the public schooling system. There is a lot I have learned from being in public school that I would have never been exposed to had I stayed home. My time management skills were not born out of my time at home, but rather from the multitude of classes I have had to juggle in public school. Conversely, my ability to not check Powerschool for a week comes from my time at home, when grades did not exist and learning the material was truly the only thing that mattered.

Being homeschooled made me look beyond the textbooks and the grades and into the real world. It’s not about a perfect score and it’s not always about following the directions. It’s about having passion for what you are studying. I have received poor grades on reading quizzes because I was so caught up in the book that I didn’t annotate the small details I knew would appear on the quiz. I have gotten points off on papers because I have veered away from the prompts and written about the topic I truly wanted to rather than the question they were asking. And I don’t regret doing any of that.