Dawn and Coach Stephanie at Solimar were amazing! Homeschooling felt really daunting for me and they made the experience doable and empowering. I found the sessions incredibly supportive as the parent as well. They helped open my mind to all the possibilities for my child, which was such a relief and different experience than trying to fit my unique learning child into a public school setting that was crushing his spirit. I’m forever grateful for our experience at Solimar.— Laura Lee
My daughter was tutored by Dawn from 2- 4th grade in reading and math and did wonderfully with the support. As an adult Dawn used her Power Traits profile for her to help her succeed in a college exam for her career as an esthetician. She was able to pass her tests when she understood her learning style. She also grew in confidence with understanding how she learns best. I highly recommend Dawn to work with adults and children.— Libby Gerteis, Mother of coaching student
In what way has homeschooling prepared you for college?
Last week I participated in a conference call with other students going to the college I’ll be attending in the Fall. We were sharing our academic interests when one student said, “I really don’t know what I’m interested in. High school isn’t a good place for figuring out what you want to do.” She’s absolutely right. Students who have to complete an imposed curriculum don’t have the freedom to explore, find what they love, and pursue it. Through homeschooling I’ve been able to experience all subjects my own way. I’ve been able to follow my passions and discover what truly lights me up.
In another instance I was able to sit in on one of the college’s virtual classes. A student was laughing about the difficulty she was having managing her own time and teaching herself the material since classes had moved online. It made me realize just how lucky I am to be developing those skills as a high schooler. My time management and self discipline are not perfect (I learned how to write in a fantasy code based on Elder Futhark instead of finishing my reading this week), but they are skills that I know are reliable.
Because I’m homeschooled, the majority of my friends aren’t other teenagers, but college students and adults I’ve found through engaging in my various interests. They are brilliant people I can learn from, and are quick to offer counsel on anything I have yet to experience, including college. An engineer for Amazon regularly offers to help me with math, I’ve chatted with novel editors and agents about the literary field, and gotten sage advice from old Buddhists while they taught me to folk dance. My diverse group of friends is a direct result of having to create my own social scene rather than being handed one on an attendance sheet, and their numerous perspectives create well-rounded guidance.
When my mom tells people I’m homeschooled, they congratulate her for the work she does, and she’s quick to correct them: “I’m not homeschooling her. She’s homeschooling herself.” My learning is independent from my parents, and is built by me and my counselor Michelle Muntz. That’s been a defining aspect of my homeschool years: intellectual independence and accountability. Without teachers and answer keys, I’ve had to hone my skills of identifying what resources I need and where to find them. Also, I appreciate my family more because they don’t have to tell me what to do (since I know), to do my homework (since I want to), or when to get up (since I create my own schedule). Instead of being a tug-of-war for power over my life and future, the time I spend with them is calm, fun, and treasured, and every member of my family is one of my best friends.
Homeschooling also provided me the space to learn the life-long skills of dealing with personal struggles such as stress, health, and mental illness. Solimar Academy places just as much importance on personal wellbeing as academic wellbeing, encouraging journaling, learning coping skills, and getting enough sleep. The school requires an Interpersonal Communication Class that teaches how to manage and advocate for your needs. The academic counselors are invested in their students’ mental states and are eager to help with any problem, be it school related or not. When we care for the student more than their output, their work actually improves because they are motivated and excited about what they’re doing. By nurturing the student the work flourishes.
I’ve heard of college students floundering once they realize they’ll have to do things like cook for themselves, keep their room clean, and manage their own finances. These are all things I’ve had time to learn or become better at during homeschooling, because taking agency over my learning has encouraged me to become similarly independent in all aspects of my life.
Solimar Academy has allowed me to build myself into someone competent, independent, and prepared for college and life beyond.
To her Solimar Academy teacher: You have made it possible for me to learn and enjoy me, and my studies. I got to spend my time (high school) loving to learn instead of dreading an essay to write or worrying what my SAT scores were like. It is still a shock to me that I am going to Brooks and studying film. Wherever I go from here, I will always thank you and remember you were the person that made it possible for my dreams to become a reality. (June 2014)— Kristen Spittle, Solimar graduate
Written to their daughter’s Solimar teacher: We can’t thank you enough. You are and always will be one of the most important people in Kristen’s life. (June 2014)— Joe & Lynne Spittle, parents of Solimar graduate
I cannot thank you enough for the unexpected positive consequences we experienced as a result of the Solimar educational process: self-direction, confidence, and most importantly, our child has internalized a template of mutual trust and respect in the child-adult relationship. (June 2014)— Marilyn Tauscher, parent of Solimar senior
This program creates individuals instead of robots. That was important to me – that you knew what was important to me, and I knew that you knew!— Rowbie Orsatti, SAG member, graduate
Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for me in the past…You might be pleased to know I am actually going to Hong Kong for a 6-month study abroad at CUHK! I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for everything…— Devin Sixt, graduate
A friend of mine said to me, ‘Allie is one of the happiest girls I’ve ever met. What are you doing?’ Allie jumped in and said, ‘I’m homeschooled.’— Amy Orsatti, SAG member, mother of 9th grader and a graduate
Mariaemma is a brilliant educator. She saved my kids’ hearts and spirits and gave them self-trust and learning through their own styles! They are flourishing now as they move into adulthood.— Connie Baxter Marlow, mother of two graduates
You are truly the best. You will be happy to hear that Devin is thriving in college and is in love with learning. Great grades and amazing well-written papers and praise from his professors are just a mere by-product. Thank you for showing us the way!!! Keep up the good work – you are making a difference.— Kasey Sixt, mother of graduate
Carly has a new attitude – she’s more passionate and sincere. It’s been a healing year – she’s regained her love of learning, and she has made lots of progress. The process of student led homeschooling and resulting transformation has given our family enormous hope and belief in a more humane and optimistic way to parent. Thank you.— Marilyn Tauscher, mother of 11th grader