[livejournal.com profile] a_treitell offered some thoughts on homeschooling, and that kind of got me going. This was meant to be a comment, but I got a little too wordy.

I was homeschooled, grades 8-11. I spent 4 months in an arts school in Arizona during 11th grade, then another 3 months homeschooling in 12th before I turned in my credits and graduated early with a diploma they printed me on a laser printer in the office. Technically, yes, I graduated from a recognized Arizona high school, but I really shouldn't have.

I taught myself. My Mom tried to be as involved as her schedule allowed when we first started, but that faded within a month or so and I was left largely to my own devices. Somewhere in my library I still have the algebra books I was supposed to be learning from- they are nearly brand new. I hated math (and still do), and found that the problems I had with transposing numbers so frustrating that by grade 9 I'd entirely stopped doing any math work at all unless my Mom made me. English, social studies, and the rest were never a problem- I tested out of most of them at a college level in 7th grade, and I enjoyed learning them, so I kept it up.

When I enrolled in the arts school, I was able to turn all my classes into real credits in the state of Arizona. I took a math class to finish out my requirements for them, and placed in pre-Algebra. In 11th grade. After 6 weeks of absolute struggle, I transferred to a consumer math class, got an A, and called it quits.

I'm smart. I know I'm smart. I'm well-educated about the things that matter to me, and I have decent research practices and goal-setting abilities, but I was utterly stymied by the few college courses I took because I had forgotten how to sit in a classroom and learn things at someone else's pace. It was frustrating and boring, and while I had a 4.0, I hated every second of it. I -know- that being homeschooled has everything to do with that.

Socially, homeschooling was a disaster. Without going into a huge amount of detail, by 13 I was already on the emotional roller-coaster ride that was hormones, depression, and anxiety. Being homeschooled and living in a remote area gave me the perfect reasons not to make any kind of effort, and for at least 2 years in there, I didn't speak to a soul outside my immediate family and my best friend. I am still unintentionally standoffish, even to people who know me well. The first place I learned any kind of adult social skills was -the internet-. On a -fandom mailing list-. I'm just saying, it's a wonder that people don't run screaming more often.

Now, the positives- I -did- get to learn at my own pace. I learned by delving into things, by immersing myself in a subject. It was a fantastic, wonderful thing, and one that never could have happened in a traditional public school classroom. I'm truly grateful for that. I'm grateful that I was able to escape the extreme and violent bullying that I lived with every day in middle school. I'm happy that I was able to make a study of nature, and able to enjoy the wild places in Hawaii, even if I hated living there at the time. Being that independent as a teenager has helped me be that independent as an adult.

The myth that -all- homeschooled children are smarter, better educated, and better parented is just that. It's a lot like saying that every public school is a cesspit full of gangs and drugs. Each experience is different, and while I certainly know some people who did a -fabulous- job homeschooling, I know others who used it as an excuse to segregate their children from the nefarious masses and fill their heads with nothing but religious dogma. And I know that in my case, it was the best of a bad situation, and I'm glad I was able to do it, but I should have been monitored more closely, and I should have been reminded that sometimes learning is work.

Given my experiences, and those of other people I know who have both parented homeschoolers and been homeschooled, I can honestly say that unless the situation was completely dire, I would never consider it for my child.

December 2015



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