More Homeschool Q & A

In CategoryHome Schooling

I have a craft project up over at Heart of the Matter making Valentine’s Day Cards! If you are brave enough to turn your kids loose with glue and tissue paper, check it out.

Now then, peeps, let get to some more Ask a Homeschool Graduate Questions!

Kristy asked:

Did you like being homeschooled?

What kind of curriculum did you use? 

How was the transition to college? 

Yes, I did like being homeschooled. We slept in, went to the library in the middle of the day, and had jobs. It was a much more relaxed lifestyle than going to public school had been. When I was about 16, my parents bought a used 5th wheel. They took several months off from work and we traveled all over the eastern part of the United States. It was cramped and we were broke, but I have so many memories – fall in Tennessee, a campground right on Lake Ontario with the biggest spider webs I’ve ever seen, riding the subway in New York City, watching my dad see names he knew on the Vietnam Memorial… So yes. I did like it.

From what I remember, there were pretty much only two choices when it came to curriculum back then – Abeka and A.C.E. We used A.C.E. It was ABYSSMAL. I would never, ever recommend it to someone wanting to homeschool, even though it’s been over 20 years since I used it and they surely have changed things by now. It was just horrific. I remember specifically in math being given problems that could only be solved using concepts that had not been covered yet. French was the same way – they threw words around that I had never even seen before. And the memorization! Pages and pages of it. I hated that. And it was BORING – a thousand black and white workbooks that all looked the same. Gah. Just talking about it is bringing up bad memories.

It occurs to me as I write this how contradictory that is – I liked homeschooling but hated the curriculum. I never thought about it like that before. I guess the curriculum was such a small part of the homeschool experience that it’s not the most prevalent memory when I look back. My sister and I were pretty much done with our work by noon and had the rest of the day to do other things. We both worked with my dad who was a general contractor. I learned how to pour concrete and operate a sandblaster. We read a lot. I had a job working 3 or 4 nights a week in a restaurant from the time I was 13.

College was not a huge transition. Remember, I had attended public school up until the first few weeks of 8th grade, so classrooms and changing classes were not completely new to me. I was very lucky to make several good friends right off the bat and was close to them all through college. In fact, my friend Sarah is the one who invited me to the campus Bible study where I eventually met my husband. I met my Best Friend in some math class or other and we’ve been friends for twenty years.

(dude. how is that possible that I’m old enough to have done something 20 years ago – and I was IN my twenties when it happened? 

Oh, right. I’m old now.)

As far as feeling prepared, it actually wasn’t too bad. I’d had such a bad experience in high school with math, I was convinced I sucked at it. When I took the college entrance exam, my math scores were so low it changed my overall ACT score by almost 30 percent. But when you go to school to become an engineer, there’s not really a lot of room for a math phobia. So, I took a remedial algebra class, realized I didn’t suck at math – A.C.E. did – and went on to successfully take many, many, many more math intense classes.

The moral of the story is this: Life does not begin and end at 16, 17, or 18. Not doing something well or not liking something at 17 does not mean your kids are doomed to an entire life of sucking in that subject. If your kids don’t seem to be picking up math or essay writing or biology as well as you think they should, DO NOT let yourself feel like a failure. If you are making yourself crazy because you can’t find The Exact Right curriculum that makes advanced calculus or applied genetics a breeze…then stop trying. You can’t teach your kids every single thing by the time they are grown, and they won’t excel at every single thing, either. Many, many things can be learned after high school.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that virtually EVERYTHING we all know, we learned after high school.

In fact, there are times when I am convinced that the specifics of the subjects taught before the age of 15 are completely arbitrary and matter not a whit when it comes to anything that happens in real life. I want my kids to know HOW to learn and HOW to think. That way, when I miss something or screw it up somehow – they can fix it themselves.

Lookit. You teach your sons how to pee IN the toilet and not AROUND the toilet, and I say you will have accomplished everything you really need to.

You won’t just be doing your future daughters-in-law a favor – nay, you will be doing THE WORLD a favor.