This week’s Ask a Homeschooler question is from Alicia. She’s obviously interested in the normal life of a homeschooler so, having lived one, I (Andrew, the Homeschool Survivor) have responses to her query:
This is best answered when broken down into three parts. I’ll start with the first one.
Do you like high school?
I loved it! I should note that I have graduated from homeschool high school within the past year. I am currently taking classes at a local community college.
More specifically: high school was, just like it would be for anyone, full of ups and downs. I had a bad relationship, tried multiple types of school, learned to love coffee, had crazy fun times with my friends. Homeschool hasn’t really affected me “high school experience” other than limiting my pool of potential good friends to “people who don’t go to public school” or “people who also are not absorbed in homework.”
Overall, though, I had a great experience. I will say that the main difficulty is finding an education style that’s right for you. When I start talking about “kinesthetic aids” and “visual learners,” my articles can seem to an outside perspective like they’re delving into a specific type of privilege that only homeschoolers have. The real reason it’s important you find a learning style of your own is because you will have a hard time without it.
A little extra explanation: homeschool requires self-motivation. You cannot guarantee a parent or teacher will be constantly asking if you’ve done your work. You have to feel enough responsibility to turn it in on time, because not every family will be able to look at you with shame when you get a B instead of an A. Additionally, for some courses you just won’t get a tangible grade for every assignment.
This is one of the things I did not enjoy about the experience because I am a huge procrastinator. It was one of the motivators for me to use online classes in later semesters. Not only could I keep a schedule, but I also got instant feedback.
What time do you get up for school?
Whenever I want!
Nah, it really depends. In college, I generally get up at 7:30. However, in the past, my “wake-up” time has varied from semester from semester. I will be honest: being able to sleep in occasionally was a huge boon during homeschool as I was on sleeping medicine and, if I forgot to take it, I would lose a night of sleep. This is one of the major advantages to homeschool – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Is it like actual school?
This is, again, a question that depends on the type of homeschool your family is running. For me, as previously mentioned, I tried a few different methods during my high school and middle school years. Some were close to regular school (the traditional “work through a book” classes in particular), but otherwise were far and away from it (like the schoolyear where I tried Unschooling.)
I came to learn that I work best with strict deadlines and clear grades. This alone didn’t cause me to jump right into public school, but my family did shift its homeschooling method around to a fusion of working through textbooks and taking classes online near the end. In fact, my brother is doing that right now!
I’ve enjoyed my high school experience, but again, if you’re considering homeschooling, I recommend using your first semester or so to learn what type of schoolwork works best for you. This is the Homeschool Survivor, hoping that I answered your questions thoroughly. Remember: if you have a question, you can e-mail us through the Ask a Homeschooler page.