Various Ways to Homeschool: Blog Three – Casey Hughes

Hi everyone. This is the third blog in a short series I’m doing on the various ways to homeschool. Today I have one of my best friends Casey “Kc” Hughes with me. She is such a lovely person! Enjoy getting to know her and how she homeschools!
Hey, Kc! Thank you so much for doing this! I know your schedule has been so crazy lately! Let’s get started. Tell me about yourself.
My name is Casey (a.k.a. “Kc”) Hughes and I have lived in Harlingen, Texas all of my life.  I am an 18-year-old who loves reading, running, basketball, photography, music, nail polish, tweeting, painting, traveling, baking, hanging out with dear friends and Jesus!  Since first grade, I have been a homeschooled student.  In May 2013, I will be graduating.  As I complete my last year of high school, I am constantly reminded of how blessed I’ve been to grow up in a loving family and community.

 

Aw, we all love you, Kc! We’ll be graduating together! Yay! So, anyway, tell me about your schedule.
My schedule is fairly varied from day to day.  The amount of work I complete depends on the activities I have going on during the day.  Of course, I have to complete all of my various curriculums and turn in all my online assignments on time, so when I cut a school day short, I’ll make up the work in the evening, the next day or on the weekend.
In elementary school, my mom had a very structured schedule for me to follow.  Now that I am older, she pretty much lets me follow my own schedule as long as I’m getting work done.

 

Same here, same here. I think that’s great thing about homeschooling in high school; we get the responsibility to work out our own schedules as long as we get the work done. Do you take any classes outside of home?
Yes, I take online classes through the Veritas Press Scholars Academy.  Last year I took Logic I and Biology, and this year I am taking Rhetoric I and Physics.  The classes I have taken through VPSA have been wonderful opportunities to learn from expert teachers from all over the United States.  The science classes have also been helpful because my mom does not feel comfortable teaching subjects like physics or biology.  I love VPSA and would encourage any homeschooled high school student to check it out.

 

Yeah, we checked out VPSA for me recently but my dad said that we already have everything for me to finish my last year and he didn’t want to pay for it. Haha! I would’ve done it though. Anyway, how flexible is your schedule?
My schedule is fairly flexible, as far as schoolwork is concerned.  As I said before though, the work has to get done, so if I skip a lot one day, I have to make it up later.  When I let subjects “pile” up in the past, I learned the hard way that procrastination hurts in the long run.

 

Agreed! It’s sooo not cool once you have to make up for all that time lost! When do you socialize, Kc?
Some people have the misconception that homeschoolers stay at home all day and don’t get a chance to socialize with a wide range of people.  From my experiences, this is definitely a false impression.  Most of the people I interact with are from homeschool groups, church or my 4-H club.  I am a member of the Harlingen Homeschoolers and the H.O.P.E. for Hidalgo homeschool group.  Through the homeschool groups, I have played on competitive basketball teams, designed yearbooks, practiced public speaking, attended numerous co-ops and gone on many field trips.  I am also a member of 4-H and the president of the Town and Country 4-H Club.  4-H has given me many opportunities to get to know wonderful people that I might not have met otherwise.  As an active member of Harlingen Bible Church, I get to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ all the time.  The people I know here in the Rio Grande Valley are warm and friendly.  I am thankful to have a wide range of friends.

 

Many people DO think homeschoolers don’t socialize well. I’ve had so many people ask me how I make friends. Haha! Let’s move on. What subject is the easiest for you and why?
Growing up, the easiest subject for me was spelling and this is still the case.  I think one reason for this is because I competed in PSIA (Private School Interscholastic Association) in elementary school and spent hours preparing for the PSIA spelling tests.  I also really enjoy spelling and it comes very naturally to me.  I’ve found that many of the things I most enjoy in life are the things I excel in and don’t have to work too hard at.

 

That’s the case for a lot of people, unless you’re good at everything, then you have to have favorites. So, what subject is the hardest for you? Why?
My hardest subject would probably be writing/grammar.  Writing has never come easily to me and I have had to work very hard to learn everything from how to properly structure an essay to writing thesis statements and even knowing when to use commas. Though I have definitely not arrived, I do not fear writing anymore and several people have told me that I will be fine in college with my writing skills.  Last year, I even won an essay contest sponsored by the university nearby!

 

You are a great writer, Kc! You definitely will be fine in college! Writing would actually have to be my easiest subject because I love it so much (dismiss the fact I published a book, please). Do you take breaks during a school day?
On days when I don’t have VPSA classes, I typically get started with school right after I eat breakfast.  I usually like to do math first because it always takes the longest.  After math, I might take a 5 to 10 minute break to stretch, check my phone, play with my Chihuahua  or do something with my brothers.  When I get back to schoolwork, I typically do 2 to 3 subjects and then take a break.  If my family is home, I eat lunch with them around noon and finish the rest of my subjects after lunch.  Growing up, I have always been taught that the longer my breaks are, the longer I’ll be doing school.

 

That’s definitely the case. I try to get my schoolwork done as quickly as possible. What curriculum(s) do you use? Do you like it/them? Why or why not?
Science: Apologia  (Science is my favorite subject and I often think this curriculum is the reason I have enjoyed it so much.)
History: Mystery of History (You know a history book is good when you want to read it in your spare time.  This is one of those types of books.)
Writing:  Institute for Excellence in Writing ( The IEW writing program has been really good for me.  It breaks writing down to a very basic level and then builds from there.  IEW helped me overcome my fear of writing.)
Math: Teaching Textbooks and Saxon  (I hated math and had a lot of trouble with it until I started using Saxon for pre-algebra and algebra.  At that point, math became my favorite subject.  For geometry, I switched to Teaching Textbooks and used that for geometry and algebra II.  Both curriculums are great.  I like them both because they have many examples and explain everything very easily.
Spanish:  Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3 ( Rosetta Stone has been great for me.  For a beginning Spanish student, I have a good Spanish vocabulary from using the program.  I am not very good at conversational Spanish though, so I’ll need to go elsewhere to study that.)
My mom has used many curriculums throughout the years.  These were some of the core ones, and they have definitely taught me a lot.

 

I use Saxon, Apologia and Rosetta Stone too! They are pretty great curriculums. I just want to point out to my readers that we ALL use different curriculums and programs. You can mix and match as much as you like! Kc, how do you think homeschooling has benefitted you?
Being homeschooled has benefitted me in several ways.  First, I have learned how to be very independent in homeschooling.  I have been told this will help me next year in college.  As a high school student, my mom buys my curriculum or signs me up for online classes, and after that, it is my responsibility to complete the curriculum and turn in assignments to my online teachers on time.  As homeschoolers, we definitely live out of the box because homeschooling is still not exactly the “norm”.    When my parents decided to homeschool, homeschooling was not extremely popular in Harlingen.  By homeschooling, the greatest lesson I have learned is not to follow the crowd just because it is popular.

 

Exactly. Besides, who wants to be a clone, right? We all are special and go at our own paces. When I personally started homeschooling, I only knew two homeschool families, but I lived nowhere near them. No one in my community even knew there was such a thing as homeschooling until we started. So, Kc, if you had the choice to be homeschooled or go to public school, what would you choose?
When I reached ninth grade, my parents came to me and asked me whether or not I wanted to continue homeschooling.  I explored several options at that time, but eventually told them that I would like to continue homeschooling through high school.  So, it was my choice to continue homeschooling in the first place and I have never regretted that choice.  Homeschooling has definitely shaped the person I have become.  I am very grateful to my parents for giving me all the resources I’ve needed  to learn at home they have been my greatest supporters and have taught me so much, not only academically, but also spiritually.  I am also grateful to God, because without Him, I would have lost hope long ago.

My parents are my greatest supporters as well, Kc. God is my biggest person to “lean on,” so to speak. I would be lost without Him too. Thank you so much for doing this interview, Kc!

 

Check out next week’s blog about my friend Tanner.


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