Monday, May 24, 2010

Home Schooling : Part II

It was brought to my attention that in my post about Home Schooling, I did not talk about many positives from my own experience. I think it is important to share my "happy"s about Home Schooling, I don't want to leave the impression that it did not impact me in a very positive way. So here it is.

My parents pulled me and my older sister out of private school after the 1st grade because both of us were having issues. My issue in particular was the fact that my attention spand was little more than two or three consecutive thoughts, making it difficult for me to learn anything in a group situation. Some might be so bold as to call this "ADD", but I believe that ADD is highly over-diagnosed. I did not have ADD, I had an over-active imagination.

So I started studies at home in 2nd grade. I don't really remember the first couple of years, honestly. My first solid memories are when I was nearly 8, my mom and my Aunt took me and my sister to an Equestrian Riding Academy to inquire about learning how to ride horses. We took lessons, had our own horses, competed in competition, and my mom even became in instructor for about 8 years. We would get to the barn at 7 in the morning and didn't leave until mid afternoon. Often times my sister and I would do our school work there, between riding and cleaning. I spent countless hours wandering the property surrounding the barn having adventures in my head (there's that imagination again). I daydreamed about being the best student in the Academy, having the most beautiful horse, winning the most trophies and awards in state-wide was a blast. I would not take back a single second of it, in fact, I miss it quite a bit. Once I started playing music more and started college classes, there was simply not enough time (or money) to continue on. We ended up selling the horses and trading in my paddock boots for concert dresses.

Another thing that was totally awesome (you're going to be green with envy...FYI) is that we got to go to the beach....every week......That's right, the beach, on a Monday afternoon. Summer or not. As long as the weather was decent, we were there. (One of the perks of living where we lived) My sister and I chose to do school work through summers so we had even more free time during the school year, having only two or three subjects that needed to be done each semester. I'm not sure how it ended up happening, but I advanced faster than my sister, and by "Sophomore" year, I was doing the same work as her, just a few lessons behind. I rocked.

One of the other opportunities I had being Home Schooled was to play an absurd amount of music. I had begged my parents to let me play the violin for years and years, but they weren't sure I'd be very successful with it because of my focused attention...(meaning the lack thereof). For my 13th birthday my dad came home from work carrying a violin case. I started lessons and 13 months later I joined my first orchestra. My violin teacher said I advanced faster than any other student he had ever taught, even though I never really learned how to properly read sheet music. When I auditioned for the orchestra, one of the conductors mentioned that since I was tall and had long arms, that a viola may be more comfortable for me to play. (She was a violist herself). She gave my mom the number for a gentleman who became my viola coach for the next 3 years, and I found a new gear. At one point I was participating in three orchestras, the University Symphony, a quartet, a chamber, and still taking my weekly lessons, all on top of school, a job (two jobs for a while) daily practices and a very small social life. haha.  In between there I would get hired to play concerts or venues, too, so I was super busy all the time. Music was life. If I had been in regular school there is no way I'd have been able to do any of it. How many people can say that at 16 they got to play a concert for pop artist Bjork?? Not many, I think.

My mom put a lot of time, effort, sanity and mental well-being into making sure I was educated. I was not an easy kid to teach. She went above and beyond the call of duty to find ways for me to learn language skills and math, the two most challenging subjects for me. She came up with ways for me to learn while having a positive outcome to encourage me, rather than struggle and struggle with it just to get failed grades, which is what would have happened had I been in a public (or even private) school system. That experience is what mainly influences our choice to supplement classes at home with our kids.

I experienced some amazing things growing up that were only possible because of Home Schooling, and I wouldn't trade any of them. So as much as I am aware and hope to avoid the downsides of Home Schooling, I also know first hand how much better it can be by providing open doors for our youngsters to experience more of the world and more of life than the inside of a school building during the day, and the inside of their room being burdened by ridiculous amounts of homework in the evenings.

I hope this clears things up a bit. I guess you could call me a centrist when it comes to school, but I needed to share my happies with you.

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1 comment:

  1. I just found this blog and am totally digging on it. I too, homeschool and am hitched to a guy 18 years my senior. It's cool to find somebody like me out there.