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.— Ruby , Solimar Graduate
Solimar Academy has allowed me to build myself into someone competent, independent, and prepared for college and life beyond.