Written by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment
While we may have many opportunities to talk to other homeschooling parents, we may not have as many chances to chat with adults who were homeschooled as children.
I recently had the opportunity to interview three homeschool graduates about what it was like for them to grow up doing school at home and have Mom as their teacher.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to these three incredible people: Megan Kirk, Sarah Hanks, and Chad Jordan.
Tell me a little bit about what homeschooling looked like in your home.
“I was fairly self-motivated by the time my mom began homeschooling; however, I hated to read. Our first homeschooling curriculum taught history through literature, so I was fortunate to have my mom read every one of the books to me that year. By the time that year was done, I had developed a love for reading, but I am very grateful for that first year of extra attention from my mom.” – Megan
“I think my homeschooling experience was probably a little different that most people’s. My sister was a competitive figure skater, so we traveled all over the country as she trained. We had structured lessons, but there was also a lot of flexibility given the way we traveled around; not to mention the fact we lived on a nearly 600-acre working ranch. School and a solid work ethic work went hand-in-hand.” – Chad
“Homeschooling in our house of four kids was the furthest thing from unschooling – it was very formal. We had to be dressed with our teeth brushed and hair done before entering the schoolroom with four kids desks and mom’s desk up front. We each went through our lessons and raised a hand if we had a question for Mother.” – Sarah
What was great about being homeschooled?
“I really loved the opportunity to ask so many questions, and have my mom show me practical ways of dealing with things. Whenever I needed answers, I learned how to find a reference book and look things up myself. I also loved the freedom to pursue dance.” – Megan
“I’m so very close to my siblings because of schooling with them. I also had time to practice my violin three hours a day by 6th grade. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I arrived at the FSU School of Music when I was 18 years old, I found many of the other violin performance majors had been homeschooled for a majority of the time.” – Sarah
“For me, there’s not a lot that wasn’t great about being homeschooled.
We were able to do things as a family such as travel and meet new people that wouldn’t have been possible had we taken a more traditional path to education. By being homeschooled, my perspective is broad and full and I see the world as an amazing place to be discovered. My mom taught me a global perspective that has definitely shaped who I am today, personally and professionally.” – Chad
Did your mom do anything special or fun with you as a part of your homeschooling schedule that you have fond memories of?
“We were always going from one place to another, learning about new places, meeting new people. My mom did a fantastic job of teaching my sisters and me how to make the most of our time, to be productive wherever we were, to live in the moment.” – Chad
“My mom always went downstairs to the kitchen to make us “snack” halfway through our day. It was often cinnamon toast and milk and cinnamon toast is still my favorite treat ever!” – Sarah
“One definite perk was being able to take off and go some place during the week if we got all of our schoolwork done. My mom arranged Disneyland trips, beach trips with friends, and so many wonderful things.
Some of my fondest memories are of our unit studies with our closest homeschool families. We had a Renaissance unit study that we all dressed up for and one year we had unit studies for all of the small holidays like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. We learned the history of these holidays, had traditional meals, and just got to have a great time with our friends.” – Megan
What was difficult about being homeschooled?
“At the time I was homeschooled, participating in competitive sports wasn’t easy when you reached a certain age. After much debate, this caused me to go into the public school system for a few years, because I really wanted to continue playing football and running track.” – Chad
“When I transitioned from homeschooling to a large Christian High School, all of my 9th grade teachers called my parents and said I was demanding too much individual help and that I lacked the confidence to do my work on my own without them standing over my shoulder.
I did my work well and correctly, but I wanted the teacher to be standing over me just to double check. I know that’s one thing I’ll be doing differently with my own kids.” – Sarah
“The difficult part was the transition from public school. I didn’t want to be away from my friends all the time, and I made a stink about it, but in the end my actual friends kept in touch for a few years and I made many more friends while homeschooling.” – Megan
How do you think being homeschooled prepared you for what you do today?
“Today, I work in the field of international development/finance as the founder of a couple organizations.
The global perspective I gained from being homeschooled and traveling has had a huge impact on what I do.
Likewise, being homeschooled taught me how to be a self-starter, which is something that serves me every single day as my own boss and as the builder of a couple organizations. I have to be motivated to get things done, to work on the run, to meet invisible deadlines. I’m not sure my life would look anything like it does now if I hadn’t been homeschooled.” – Chad
“I’m a professional freelance violinist and Suzuki violin teacher. See my response above about ‘what was great about being homeschooled?'”– Sarah
“I just finished a five year career as a professional Irish dancer, touring throughout four continents. I am now a Pilates and dance instructor and I love my new career. Homeschooling helped me prepare for both of these areas; I had the freedom and time to pursue dance, and I had a fantastic education in the sciences to get me started with my Kinesiology degree. I hope to start a dance school of my own in the future.” – Megan
What advice or encouragement would you give to homeschooling parents who have chosen this path for their kids’ education?
A homeschooling mother herself, Sarah says, “Confidence! If you are confident you can do it.”
“Take advantage of field trip opportunities, because real life experience is priceless!
Also, don’t be afraid to ask other moms for help. My mom would say herself that math isn’t her strong suit, but for another homeschool mom and good friend of hers, it was. I would always go to her when there were math problems that neither my mom nor I could figure out.” – Megan
“I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice on this … maybe you should talk to my mom!
But, I think you just have to keep going. There’s no single formula or exact way it should look. My story of being homeschooled should make you see that … the experience wasn’t ‘normal,’ but it worked for us.
My mom – though I’m sure she did at times – didn’t get bogged down in trying to make it fit a mold. Homeschooling was an extremely important part of our lives, but it wasn’t everything. It fit in among all the other parts of life that every single family has.” – Chad
Were you homeschooled as a child? If so, how would you have answered some of these questions? How do you find it helpful to hear from those who have already “graduated” from doing school at home?