Growing up Homeschooled

I’m aware that there are all kinds of ways to homeschool your kids. Some kids do school online, some with a homeschool group, some parents travel the country while homeschooling out of an RV, kids can be homeschooled but attend public school for testing. Maybe you have a special room in your house where you do schoolwork. Not everyone who is homeschooled had the same experience and some people loved it and had great supportive parents through it all. Some of us hated it and were kind of left to figure things out on our own.

The thing about being homeschooled is that you must be self motivated and self disciplined in order for it to really work well for you. Some kids are like this which is great and they wake up early, study hard, get good grades and probably plan on attending college someday. If you were a kid who had a hard time focusing, liked to sleep in, didn’t care about your grades or wasn’t interested in school subjects, you won’t do very well. I believe that not all kids can be homeschooled which is not a bad thing at all. Everyone has a unique personality and unique ways specific to them that help them learn and thrive not only in a school setting but in life. Homeschooling cannot provide the things some kids need to be their best selves.

The reason I say that is because homeschooling can be very lonely and most kids love socializing with other kids their age. Homeschooling is also very limiting with extracurricular activities. You can pursue anything outside of school just like anyone else, but obviously nothing that your school offers. This is not much of a problem if your parents support you and find out what your state allows for homeschoolers to participate in and help you pursue your interests.

In my experience (and for most homeschooled people I know) this would never happen. We could never join anything at our local schools because even if they did allow it, our parents never would. And even pursuing certain things through a different source, was not allowed.

There’s different types of homeschoolers and unfortunately, there are strict religious parents who chose to homeschool for crazy religious reasons and suppress their kids potential like you would not believe. I am one of those kids. I hated being homeschooled and would say I’m one of the kids who cannot be homeschooled. I never cared about my grades, I half assed almost everything, did just enough to make my Mom happy but didn’t have any personal interest in learning. Occasionally science was fun but that’s about it. I wanted to play basketball, soccer, learn some kind of self defense and dance. I loved hip hop dancing and would secretly dance in my room.

As I mentioned above, my parents would never allow it. I didn’t even dare ask because they made it quite clear that public schools were the worst and we do not associate with them. I was only allowed to wear skirts and dresses so sports were automatically out and dancing? my parents think dancing is sinful. My brothers and I had a basketball hoop in our drive way and played football outside against each other or just played catch in the street. We played soccer and kick ball with our friends but none of us could pursue our love of sports. Being homeschooled in this restricting religious environment really crushed our potential.

Something I always got asked growing up was if I had friends or how I made friends. I mean, of course I had friends. I played with local neighborhood kids often but lost contact with all of them as we got older. I have one friend who has remained in my life from childhood. I met her when I was 10 and she was 12 at a church we attended once a week on Wednesday prayer night. We are both the youngest girls in our family and were super shy but over the years we became best friends. She started dating my brother when they were teens and eventually they got married so of course she’s still in my life because she’s my sis-in-law! She’s still my only close friend to this day.

When my siblings and I were young, school was pretty simple and we had structure. We woke up, ate breakfast and sat at the table and did our schoolwork and then had a lunch break and then back to schoolwork until we were done. As we got older the structure fell apart. Highschool was so hard for me and I hated it. I was working at Menards during the day and working for my sisters cleaning business at night. I woke up late and usually went to my room to work on school which consisted of listening to music on my phone and doing easy subjects like English, reading or Bible. Yes, we had a subject called Bible. For math or chemistry I usually needed my Moms help and would get so upset because I couldn’t understand it. Algebra made me cry many times and my Mom always said it would click someday but it never did.

I spent almost every day in my room alone working on just enough school to make my Mom happy. Sometimes I would beg her to let me go somewhere with my older sister and would promise to finish school later. I jumped at any chance to leave the house. We also babysat my nephews almost everyday and that was very distracting.

I was always behind in high school and graduated without fully completing algebra or chemistry and probably even more subjects. My mom was not a bad teacher, she’s smart and patient most of the time but there were definitely some issues. She didn’t teach us about GPA, the SAT, options for college or future careers. My parents never encouraged us to do anything with our lives besides attending church, getting married and having kids. My parents allowed my oldest sister to attend a Baptist Bible college and I had an interest in becoming a nurse during high school and applied for a school in IL on my own. It was a community college and I only ended up going for one semester but that’s a different story.

The day I told my Mom I was accepted into college she responded with “Oh, okay” and changed the subject. My Dad sat me down to explain that I MUST attend church and read my Bible and to warn me that college teaches evolution. None of my other siblings went to college (until later into their adult lives) which is probably because no one ever encouraged it or explained it to us.

I think I would have loved school. I wanted to be involved in things and have friends. I couldn’t focus at home and think a school setting would have helped a lot. I dreamed of having a backpack, playing sports, going to prom, maybe having a boyfriend and attending football games. I would watch movies with kids in school and thought they were so cool. School looked fun and normal. When I was a kid I had this outfit that resembled a school uniform and I loved wearing it to hopefully fool people into thinking I went to a regular school.

Again, everyone has a different experience. Even kids from the same family can have a different experience growing up. For me personally, I hated being homeschooled and don’t think it benefited me at all. I know many homeschool families who are very religious and grew up in similar homes to mine. Some who are okay with it and live their adult lives with the same beliefs their parents taught them and some who hated their childhoods.

Let me know if you were homeschooled and what your experience was!

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