Saturday, 4 June 2011

Were You Homeschooled?

I've been hearing a lot about homeschooling lately. With the collapse of traditional Catholic identity, not to mention catechesis, I know a lot of folks lost faith in ordinary Catholic schools. I taught in a parent-run school myself, once upon a time.

Home-schooling, parent-run schools and new, private Catholic schools of impeachable orthodoxy sound like a great alternative to schools steeped in the culture of death.* However, I wonder how such schools prepare girls and boys for life outside their schools. I went to an ordinary Catholic girls school, and university life hit me for a loop. What happens to the girl who is taught at home? Has she got the tools to cope with a sometimes very nasty, sometimes pornographic society?

As for orthodox Catholic universities, I've heard of kids at Steubenville musing, "How do people who don't go to Steubenville stay Catholic?" That's a good question, but my question is "How do kids who graduate from Steubenville cope outside Steubenville?"

So today, dear readers, I would love to hear from those who were homeschooled. How did you feel when your home studies were done and you went to work or to college? How are you doing? What are you glad of and what do you regret?

Anonymous comments will be accepted today.

*Non-Catholic readers, this does not mean you. "Culture of death" is theological shorthand for suicidal tendencies in contemporary society, used by John Paul II.

Update: There's a school poll in the margin.

26 comments:

aussie girl in australia said...

I think it really depends on where you are, what country and even what state or province. Not all Catholic School systems are the same.
I went to dodgy Catholic schools for primary but my parents were sick of it by the time I was 12. Not only was the religious education a joke, the rest of the education was pretty bad too and the bullying was rampant. After headaches, insomnia and lots of days home from school my parents too me to the doctor who told them I was suffering from stress. At age 12!
Parents sent me to a public school in a good area. At least the anti-Catholic propaganda stopped and so did the bullying. On the other hand I had no Catholic friends. Going to university was so hard because none of my friends were Catholic and so I had no support. My faith was weakened considerably. I wish I had been able to go to a good Catholic University and been home schooled (or gone to a good Catholic small school). I now live with two girls who were homeschooled and are at university. They both get on much better than I did.

Anonymous said...

I was homeschooled. My parents were brilliant and I had an excellent education. Homeschooling is a two way street. The parents have to have the education (or delegate), and the children have to be able to be receptive. My parents were university educated and my siblings and I scored very high on the standardized tests we were required to take by law, usually scoring multiple grades above our own.

Although I learned to socialize with all age groups instead of merely my own peers, I believe it was highly beneficial for my social life while growing up. The ability to mix in different age groups continues to help me in my professional and social paths.

My first job (early teens) was a disaster because I wore "prairie" style clothes. But, as I weaned into more stylish clothes and learned how to be both modest and stylish (and forgo the illicit pride that comes with being modest with that burka like dress or jumper/huge shirt combo), I was very successful in work and at the colleges I attended. Clothes were probably my biggest hang up because my parents were rather prudish.

Went to several colleges/universities. Did well academically. Working on a doctorate right now. Have married the Love of my life! Things going very well...

sciencegirl said...

I was homeschooled from 8th grade through high school.

Because of this, I got a much better education than available at my public school. I did find homeschooling, despite the activities we did, rather lonely, but that was also because I was in a very small town. The best thing for me in terms of broader society were the jobs I worked to earn money in the summer. I got to talk to adults of many ages and took pride in doing a good job.

My family did not go to church much during this time, and I was excited to get back to church and get confirmed in college. As a homeschooler, I was rather secular, if sheltered. It took a big state university to make me the weirdo religious nut I am today!

I loved college! There were some things I did (and wore) that marked me as either a homeschooler or a hick, not sure which. The college I attended was in a different state in a rather more sophisticated region of the country, and the population of the college was 10x the population of my home "city." I was really excited to be in a classroom again with great teachers and I plunged in with conversation and asking questions. Looking back, I was probably a delight to some and an annoyance to others. I was actually a lot more socially daring and outgoing than a lot of my friends who had gone to high school and been the "nerd."

I would not have said, while I was homeschooled, that I was lonely. I had fun activities, I volunteered, I worked. But I was usually the oldest girl by far in the activities, and at work I was working with people at least 10 years older than me. I was very lonely, as were my siblings. When I got amazing friends in college, and lots of them, it was a night and day difference. I was happier and I could actually get along better with my siblings because I had a bigger social perspective. I hear homeschooling parents talk sometimes about how great it is that their kids aren't just with their peer group and that they work with little kids and with old people, etc. I think that's valuable, but I regret that my parents and I did not try to make sure we had close friends outside of activities, and that we saw those friends a lot more than we did. I think a lot of the fighting in our family was partly because we were lonely for friends our own age and never really got time away from each other. This experience was intense enough that it convinced me I really don't want to have to be a stay-at-home mom or to homeschool my children. If they really want it and my husband was desperate to homeschool them while I worked, I could be okay with it. But the years hanging out at home and the public library --grateful as I am for the good education I got -- really are a time I don't want to relive. I would work hard to research schools and try to send any future kids I might have to a good public or private school.

As for clothes, it was kind of funny. Mine were like 3 sizes too big, partly because I had mail ordered and didn't think to send them back. Also, I had left public school at the height of the sexual harassment age. I saw that my collge friends could wear clothes that showed they had curves but that they weren't constantly ogled and mocked for having a grownup figure, so I became less scared to wear clothes that were the right size. Old shopping method: try on shirt. Look in mirror. Boobs detectable? If yes, try size up. If no, cram extra yard of fabric into waist of baggy jeans. New shopping method: buy clothes that fit. I had the perfect storm of small town, public schools and homeschooling to make me the badly dressed college freshman I was. But my friends loved me anyway.

Ginger said...

As you can see, already, Seraphic, homeschoolers have a lot to say on this subject, and I am no exception.

I was homeschooled from about 2nd grade, onward, with a brief break to go to a *very* tiny Catholic school (about 80 students total) in 8th and 9th grade.

I disagree with aussie girl's statement that the parents have to be university-educated. My parents were not, and yet I graduated a year ahead of schedule and the next year, in college, I had a stead 4.0 GPA. It does, however, have a lot to do with the individual student. The kid has to be receptive to teaching and want to learn and have some level of self-discipline and self-motivation. Because my mother was a home-maker and had 7 children at the time of my schooling, I was often left to my own devices.

We ran the gamut of homeschooling curriculum. We started out through an official school, receiving books and tests through the mail, and my mom would grade our papers and tests, and mail the results back to the school. This was rather inefficient, so my mom created her own curriculum. As I got older, the curriculum kind of fell away all-together, and I studied what I wanted to and in the manner in which I wanted to. I believe this is comminly called "un-schooling" in home schooling circles. That method *definitely* is not for everyone, some of my own siblings included. My next younger sister, who mostly hated school until later in high school, was not the type who was willing to learn for the sake of learning. Had she been allowed to educational freedom I was, she probably would not have done well.

Also, in my state, there are no laws forcing home schoolers to take any state tests. When I graduated, I took the ACT, got a diploma from my mom and took a GED just in case I needed better documentation further down the line, and voila.

As for social life. Hm. I don't really know what the secret to that is. I turned out fine in that respect. When I was 16, I got a job, which forced me out of whatever shell I may have had. And now, at 19, my job as a receptionist/legal assistant requires me to be well-spoken, polite, confident and outgoingly friendly. I can get along and hold pleasant conversation with everyone from the most sheltered of Catholics to the most rough-spoken atheist out there. However, I know some who can't. I suppose a lot of it has to do with my parents, who are very outgoing people. All my life I'd been encouraged to speak clearly and openly. I think the problem with a lot of shy home schoolers is that their parents see soft-spoken-ness as a virtue in itself. But in the adult world, that translates into shy, awkward meekness.

Ginger said...

Part 2

I do agree with what sciencegirl said about friends, though. To this day, I have few friends my age. I was either thrust, or perhaps thrust myself, into the adult world from a young age and that stuck. Now I have a hard time bonding with people my own age. I have friends in my age group, but I often find that they band together more tightly than I am willing or able to, and then I end up being left in the cold altogether.

There have been few times in my life that I haven't felt at least a little lonely, because I never seem to quite fit in. I don't fit in with crowds my age or younger, and I don't quite fit in with the late-20 and 30-somethings with spouses and children, either.
The age thing also lead to problems in the romance area. Because the people I am around are 10+ years older than me, the men I am attracted to usually seem to be in that age group as well. Unfortunately, (though understandably) there are few 30 year olds comfortable dating a 19 year old. I realize that this is not the end of the world, but it has lead to disappointment a few times. A flirtation will start, but when the subject of age comes up, the conversation goes like this:

"So, how about getting together for drinks at such-and-such Respectable Pub sometime?"
"Erm... Actually, I can't drink. Not quite old enough, yet."
"Really?! How old ARE you?!"
"Oh. Well, 19ish...?"
"Oh. Well, see ya."

Inexplicably, I was once with a boy slightly younger, but that was a decided exception to the rule.

Nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate said...

Hello,
I was very much homeschooled, throughout my whole pre-college academic career. There were times, of course, when I hated it, mostly because although I had friends (we had a homeschooling group), most of them lived at least 15 minutes away by car and as I got older, the neighbourhood kids got less and less...acceptable, you might say. My Dad is a professor of theology and my mom has a degree in child development and family life, so they were pretty well equipped. And it may have been just me, but when I went to the University of Notre Dame, it felt very natural, no culture shock or anything. However, i will have to admit that some ways of homeschooling will make you ill-equipped for "life-in-the-world." Some people think less of the SCLACs (Small Catholic Liberal Arts Colleges) because they seem to keep that mentality of sheltering, but there are some that are quite good. Notre Dame is a battlefield, so i can't really say I'm sheltered from anything, no matter how much they talk about the Notre Dame bubble.

Anonymous said...

I was homeschooled from kindergarten right to the end of high school, never setting foot in a classroom until the first day of university. It was a great experience, and I have absolutely no regrets. My transition to university was completely smooth, I can't think of any significant hiccups at all. People were shocked when they found out I was a homeschooler; I guess they expected something abnormal! In my experience, homeschoolers are exceedingly normal. I have lots of friends, many my own age and many not. My siblings have had similar experiences. Coping with the 'real world' has never been an issue. I think that the idea that young children need to be exposed to unpleasant realities early so that they aren't shocked later on is rather ridiculous (just being honest Seraphic!).
Homeschooled and Happy

The Sojourner said...

I went to public school K-3 and then got pulled out to be homeschooled because I spent the entire day sitting in the corner reading 300-page books because I already understood all the material. (I'm not trying to sound like I'm bragging...that's just what I DID.)

After about a year of adjusting (I don't do change well) I absolutely loved homeschooling. I graduated from high school with a 4.0, went to Steubenville, had a semester-long adjustment period, and then loved that too. I graduated three weeks ago today, so I guess the jury's still out on my ability to function in the real world.

What I regret: I kind of wish my parents had been a little more adventurous with my academics. We did Seton, which is firmly on the "school at home" side of homeschooling. I enjoyed it at the time but it didn't really stretch me like the Honors program at Steubenville did. (Then again, I'm not sure any option available to me when I was in high school would have been challenging enough to equal an Honors Great Books seminar at a private university.)

What I'm glad of: I narrowly escaped hating school. It was just so stinking BORING. ALL THE TIME. Homeschooling via Seton was only boring some of the time. Also, (and this might be the controversial bit) I didn't have to really deal with my various psychological issues in middle or high school. (Dealing with them in college was no picnic, but I was at least a lot more mature and self-aware at 20 than I was at 13.) Looking back, they were all there from a very early age but I was able to compensate because I was in a familiar environment with very few strange people.

A note: I wonder how much the negative view of homeschooling is skewed by kids who got pulled out of traditional school because they already had issues--issues that made learning at traditional schools difficult-to-impossible. For instance, my older sister has ADD, epilepsy, and general developmental delays. No, she did not graduate with a 4.0. But she did graduate. In public school she was miserable every day and learning nothing at all. Meanwhile, I have a bunch of semi-diagnosed disorders along the lines of Asperger's Syndrome and social anxiety disorder. I know other homeschoolers and ex-homeschoolers with similar issues (ADHD, Asperger's...). So if we aren't good at making friends or even eye contact it might not be because we were homeschooled.

Okay, lecture over.

Ginger said...

Yeah, if people want to use home schooling or small/segregated gender school education as an excuse for their social troubles, I go ahead and let them. But I honestly think it has more to do with your raising in general. School is not the oly place to learn. If your parents teach you how to be articulate, socially intelligent and friendly in situations outside of school, you'll do fine.

In fact, considering the social warfare that goes on in schools, public and private alike, where it is truly survival of the fittest (or most popular, or most wealthy, or most attractive) schools are as likely to release competitive, aggressive, selfish, insecure, shallow harpies as home schools are to release shy, awkward, bumbling nerds.

Anonymous said...

I went to public school exclusively. It had its challenges, and I certainly don't miss it, but I wouldn't trade my experience for anything else.

I'm not a parent, but I would think that choosing which school to send one's children to (or not) is a decision that must consider A LOT of factors, from academics to behavioral issues to scheduling to money to safety and beyond. In any case, sometimes Catholic schools are far worse for a student's faith than public schools. Better to skip religion class altogether than to sit in a religion class wherein the teacher is proclaiming heresies in the name of the Church.

In the end, I think that any school environment will influence/affect students in positive and negative ways. But at the end of the day, there are many other things that mold young students. I'm a faithful Catholic who has never wandered very far from the Church since my baptism as an infant, yet I went through 13 years of the most hedonistic public school imaginable, followed by 4 years at a militantly anti-Christian public university. On top of that, my family environment was never very Catholic, either. Yet by the grace of God, here I am today. So I would urge parents to not be so skittish about where they send their kids to school. If you, as parents, are intent on instilling good Catholic values in your children -- well, that's far more than I ever had, and I turned out okay, even with my public schooling.

lydiapurpuraria said...

Leaving my lurker status to chime in. I'm 29, and was homeschooled for grades 7-12. While I certainly have seen a lot of homeschooled girls go through a rough patch as they transitioned from home to college, generally, they do well in coping with society as a whole. In fact, the solid family background seems to help with confidence levels as young women enter their twenties. However, this is almost totally dependant on the homeschooing parents. They set the tone. If the homeschool environment is a ghetto, and if they hide their children away from the great big nasty world, of course their young adult children are going to lack the requisite skills. If the parents go out of their way to address the "scary" issues honestly and openly, as well as providing their kids with lots of outlets for socialization and courage in the midst of non-Catholics, all will be well. There is definitely a tendency among many Catholics to cut themselves off from society. Success in homeschooling depends on fostering an attitude of being salt and light in the world, rather than in keeping the "bad guys" out. Sorry for all the scare quotes. It's late!

Angie said...

(Apologies for the length!)

I went to public school for pre-K and kindergarten, and then my mom started homeschooling my brother, who went through 3rd grade in public school, and I. We weren't doing well academically and my mother was becoming serious about her Catholic faith at the time as well, so it was important to her to teach us religion class every day. (We lived in the rural south eastern US, so Catholic schools, good or bad, were not available.

I was pretty happy homeschooling until I became a teenager and became very lonely and depressed. I had a best friend and was involved in many activities but I always felt like a freak: we were homeschoolers when it was not very common, we were Catholic in a very Protestant culture, and we had a "huge" family.

As soon as I was able to drive I got two jobs, started taking classes at the community college, basically just blending in. I never told anyone I was still high school age, much less homeschooled. I loved being in a classroom! I had always loved learning, so I did well in my classes, and the professors liked that I was interested and self-motivated.

My family moved about 5 hours away the summer I would have technically been graduating from high school, so I started applying to colleges and ended up going to Steubenville. I already had one older sibling there, so it felt safe and familiar.

My main regrets about homeschooling and going to Steubenville, are that my parents chose homeschooling in large part to "protect" us from the outside world and frankly I was too intimidated to go to a public university. And even though I had applied to one, they weren't impressed with my high school transcript even though I had proven that I could do college level work. I think most colleges and universities are more open and accepting now then they were then. Being saddled with a huge amount of debt for the rest of my life is not a great situation to be in. I felt like I was sold the line, from my family and the admissions counselor that this great education I was going to get would be worth it.

I was excited about Steubenville because I thought that in going there, I'd finally be able to relate, I wouldn't be a freak anymore! Everyone would be Catholic, my family would be considered small next to the 10 kid families!

Well, sadly I found myself lost even there. I did not like the charismatic movement. The music and FOP's annoyed me. Living in a dorm with other girls was not a great experience. Not having gone to high school, the cattiness was a new experience. I never joined a household, I didn't like the group dynamics and hated the idea of signing my life over to the weekly commitments.

I had an awesome roommate though, and met a handful of other folks that I still talk to and see frequently, years since graduating. I also loved my professors and consider more than one as a mentor and friend.

I feel bad for my mom in a sense because she thought she was ensuring that by controlling our environment that my siblings and I would be strong Catholics, and I currently consider myself a Catholic in more of a cultural sense than a religious one. Years of Baltimore Catechism and Steubenville just burned me out on religion in general I think. I have one other sibling who is strong very conservative Catholic and two others who are on more of the atheist end. The jury is out on what happens with the younger siblings.

Angie said...

My parents relaxed a bit as we got older and the four siblings after me have attended public and charter schools, and have been very successful personally and academically. I have always had social anxiety and some depression, and I have wondered if going to school would have made that better or worse. Who knows really???

I kept myself pretty grounded at Steubenville, and so I didn't feel like I was ever part of the "bubble." My first job as a social worker woke me up to some real life situations that I couldn't have imagined, but I adjusted well enough to that.

I am now married with kids, and have an incredible community support system that includes families of diverse religions and cultures. I am glad I was able to work through fears I had about people who were "different" and I feel I have a richer life now because of it.

Christina said...

For grades K-8, I attended a Catholic parochial school, with about 60 students (2 classrooms) per grade level. Then, I went to an Archdiocesan high school that was slightly larger, as did the majority of my grade school class. I was required to take religion classes the whole time, which I appreciate more now than I did back then. Our catechesis was solid; I definitely feel as though I graduated high school with a good understanding of the faith. I realize, however, that this is not the case in all Catholic schools (or even with all the students in my graduating class).

Despite the compulsory religious education and school Masses, there wasn't much emphasis on practicing the faith outside of school. Even though the vast majority of my classmates were at least nominally Catholic, not too many went to Sunday Mass weekly, for example, and few attended weekday Masses, Adoration, etc.

I think that, in any school environment, a lot depends on the family. My parents always encouraged me to read independently, and took me to museums and historic sites to supplement my in-school learning. We also always went to Mass together on Sundays and holy days, prayed before meals, and talked about religious matters at home.

aussie girl in australia said...

Actually I didn't say that the parents should be university educated. That was another commenter.

Eowyn said...

How to survive at a non-Catholic university as a Catholic: Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) in Canada, and, as far as I understand, FOCUS in the States. :)

Anonymous said...

I went to two Catholic primary schools, a great Catholic girls secondary for the first two years until the wonderful principal was sacked and then homeschooled for almost three years.
Then, we moved to Ireland, went to a very small private Catholic secondary school for almost a year, moved back to Australia then went to a very posh Presbyterian school for my final two years.

All through my education, my parents taught us the faith at home, and with some amazing support from priests, homeschooling groups and Opus Dei centres, we were fine.

I felt less judged and harassed in the Presbyterian schools for being a practicing Catholic than in the Catholic schools. For once, I didn't have to apologize for going to Mass! The great thing about the Presbyterians is that they encourage a spiritual life, granted I had to clue up on my apologetics, but still, it was great!

Outside of school, we were in touch prodominantly with non-Catholics through the tennis club, music, girl guides etc... So the 'outside' world was our normal experience. As an adult, learning to be a contemplative in ordinary life is an easier concept to get my head around. As is 'passionately loving the world' - as St Josemaria Escriva used to say.

I have friends who were exclusively educated in Catholic schools, and they have a tendency to look at the world very differently - almost as an 'enemy' and inherently evil. It must be easy to develop a persecution complex because of it.

AMW

Seraphic said...

Thanks for all these great comments, peeps!

Anonymous said...

I was not homeschooled; I went to publicly funded Catholic school and never swayed from the faith. Actually, I think being in a culture-of-death environment can spark our inner rebel for a good cause (this is how it is for me and my sister, at least). When I went to a tiny Catholic post-secondary institution I encountered many people who had been homeschooled. Some did not adjust well, even in an extremely Catholic atmosphere, mostly (I think) because they were unused to cultural norms e.g. women wearing pants and form fitting clothing, more current movie and music references, etc. There was a puritanical and/or scrupulous streak lingering in that school, albeit very faint. On the other hand, there were homeschoolers who you wouldn't guess were homeschooled at all unless they told you.

What I've realized is that people's personalities depend mostly on their parents/upbringing and genetics, not their schooling. I am extremely shy and sometimes have difficulty meeting new people, talking in front of large groups, etc., despite having had to do so my entire life.

I personally wouldn't homeschool because although Christ didn't want us to be of the world, he did want us in it. Nevertheless, some homeschoolers who are kept very sheltered adjust to the world no problem; others rebel as soon as they leave the home, while others cling to the "homeschooling bubble" their entire lives. So much is dependent on who we are as unique sons and daughters of God.

No matter our unique upbringing and character, we're all called to and capable of being saints. And look at the variety of canonized men and women we have to look up to!--single, married, religious, royalty, paupers, intellectuals, mystics, labourers, speakers, sufferers, ex-mortal sinners, virgins...every type of personality and life experience you can think of. So don't worry too much about education. All that matters ultimately is that Christ is the centre of your life :)

fifi said...

Seraphic (or anyone), check out the work of Charlotte Mason. That's what inspired my mom (no college degree) to homeschool. it's a paradigm shift away from what passes for "education" these days.

Homeschooling has its challenges for sure. The question of how to properly educate children to face the horrible parts of the world is a really tough one, and I don't think, honestly, that anyone has the answer. Everyone kind of does the best they can. What homeschooling can do potentially (admittedly it doesn't always)is give you incredibly strong and positive experiences of family relationships; an understanding of what the important things in life are (culture, arts, service, logic) as opposed to materialist fads; a decent fundamental grounding in your catechism; resourcefulness; the ability to think outside the box; habits of service and thoughtfulness across age barriers; and a perennial curiousity and understanding of education as being completely integrated with your life, not "ending" at age 18 or 23. With those tools, a kid can integrate into "mainstream" society and hopefully avoid some of the major pitfalls.

Sure, it can be lonely, depending upon your situation, but isn't that life as a Christian? We are all countercultural. We all value different things from the Mass Majority, by virtue of our being united with the Cross. I've taken a lot of flak for being "different" or "eccentric" or for simply being innocent, or the "good girl." Often people assume I'm a lot more of a "good girl" (of course YOU don't drink!)than I actually am (pass the Guinness!). Our culture doesn't value or understand innocence at all. I'm not talking about ignorance, but about the innocence that has wisely looked farther down the road than most people and avoided the turn-off altogether. I think that's really the question, at heart: what is innocence, really, and when is it a good? Can knowledge and innocence coexist? In the end, painful as trying to be in, but not of, postmodern America has been at times, I'm not sorry that I was judiciously homeschooled.

KimP said...

I was not homeschooled. My father was in the military and we moved quite a bit - I attened 9 different schools before I graduated from high school. I attened public school, private schools, Department of Defense schools, and even a boarding school for two years. I had no problem adjusting to college or the "real world" because I had already been in it. I will say that I was glad I wasn't homeschooled. School, for me, was boring most of the time, but I don't think I would have enjoyed my parents as my teachers - they didn't have the temperment for it. Both were such intoverts that just having kids was a strain on their nerves, much less having us around 24/7. I think the other commenters are spot on - it depends on the parents and it depends on the kid as to whether Homeschooling will work.

Ashley said...

This is such a great question and one that I have thought about a lot since growing up the poster-child for homeschooling. My only experience with "school" was a brief stint between 2 - 4 grade and then at the university level. Whilst being a homeschooler, I loved it and wouldn't have altered a thing. Looking back, I do have a few qualifying thoughts. I don't think home schooling is for everyone. While I did fine, I think that was because I am such an extrovert and was able to carve out additional things and side hobbies to participate in and in that way maintain a balanced social life as well. Some of my other siblings who are a bit less extroverted have a difficult time not having such a structured environment in which to meet friends or get involved with sports or music or debate team -- all of these extracurriculars are readily available through the school system, while the onus is on the student or the parents to create that for a home schooled child.

That can have benefits or setbacks. On the one hand, it can allow a student to grow up with a healthy sense of independence and motivation to carve out a good academic experience, foster a healthy self-motivated sense of curiosity about the world, and enable to person to discover where their true interests lie, because it isn't as readily available. On the other hand, it can be a roadblock as well. When I went to university, my personal struggle was with deadlines, because being home schooled, I could work through the summers or catch up whenever I needed to. Not so at school. I also had a bit of social anxiety at the onset, because when one is home schooled, "friend time" is distinct and defined from "home time", rather than friends being around all the time without any quiet time or "down time." So, I had to learn boundaries a bit.

Looking back, I appreciate that I was home schooled particularly through my younger years; high school was a bit more challenging and I actually needed tutor. I would prefer to home school my own children probably up until high school and then send them to school for high school, so that they have the opportunity to take AP classes, get involved with sports, and develop those important inter-personal social skills. I also don't think it's good to home school just for the sake of "sheltering" but for the sake of "preparing." This shift in mindset would alter how one navigates home schooling, I think.

@fifi: Like you, I am often considered the "innocent" one, although I wouldn't consider myself "ignorant" either. So, that's a great question! I wonder what the balance is between innocence and ignorance/ naivete?

Julie said...

HA! I had the same educational experience as KimP (except 8, not 9, in total), but I was bullied at an early stage, fairly sheltered, deeply awkward, academically "gifted", and something of a late bloomer - so I don't think I EVER made a smooth transition. Well, the first year of grad school was relatively painless :) But there you go.

mary eulalia said...

I went to public school K-12 and then to a fairly large public university on a track/cross-country scholarship. I ended up transferring to Franciscan University in Steubenville my sophomore year.

I come from a very solidly Catholic family, therefore, my faith was never questioned in high school/growing up. Going to a big university was a struggle, as I didn't have many Catholic friends and the Newman Center wasn't super active, but I ended up fine, despite a rocky relationship with a guy I met there. However, transferring to FUS, or "Stuebenville" as a lot of people refer to it, was an awesome experience to me...I graduated a year ago and thoroughly appreciate and cherish the memories, the people, the experiences. I experienced Europe through the study abroad program in Austria, joined a household and had tons of fun with it, went on foreign mission trips, met life-long friends, and very much strengthened my faith. I am currently working and living in a home that offers housing/community to pregnant women (who are often broken/in need of lots of love) and it's through living in the "bubble" of Steubenville and my upbringing of being exposed to many different cultures and experiences that I am able to live a devout Catholic life IN the world, not of the world.

Would I home school my future kids? Possibly. I would want to give them the best Christian education possible, and sometimes homeschooling is the best option for that.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I haven't been reading here for quite some time--and am just catching up;). In fact it was my Mum, Seraphic, who caused me to look you up again--she was interested to hear of a lady who married a Scotsman and moved to Scotland (my mother is Scottish, moved to the US and married and Englishman at age 37--they then moved up to Canada and raised us). She is also excited to hear there is an EF Mass in her hometown of Edinburgh. I hope me not being single is not a problem in this particular comment?? I bet my 16 yr old daughter would like to read your blog though;)

My 3 brothers and I were taken out of a small rural public school and homeschooled (due to our bad behaviours, insolence, disrespect etc). I was the oldest, and was homeschooled for grades 9-12, with a year in a tiny traditional Catholic homeschool in gr.8.

Being rural, and finances being an issue, we did not get out much, except to Mass a few times a week. So no social life and no extracurricular activities. I complained about the lack of friends around when I was a teenager (mostly because I was nasty and wanted to make my parents feel guilty), but did write to many friends my own age spread about the country. I don't feel scarred by the lack of social life, and am very happy I was homeschooled. I went on to University, as did my brothers--though none of us finished our degrees. One of my brothers does blame homeschooling on his lack of social prowess in those days--but on the other hand thanks it, because, according to him, he would have been in a lot more trouble with girls had he been able to converse so easily with the opposite sex as he is now. I personally never felt the lack of a social life as a teen hampered my ability to meet and make friends--and I'm 40 now;).

I am homeschooling my 4 kids, and find it very fulfilling. It is definitely work for the brain! The eldest will be graduating next year (we hope), and plans to go in for Psychology. Our kids have had a lot more social experience, extracurricular activities, etc than I did. In fact, sometimes, I think, too much--especially in an area where paganism and secularism abound--but we hope that we have given them a solid enough grounding that they will be able to distinguish the counterfeit from the real happiness and peace in life. All four continually say they much prefer to be homeschooled, and in fact, some of the public schoolers they meet are jealous!

So in a nutshell, I'm glad I was homeschooled, and I am happy to be homeschooling my kids, as is my husband, who himself went through 13 schools in his schooldays. In fact I am very sad that I will be all done homeschooling in only 4 more years!!!

Thanks for post, I've really enjoyed reading the comments on this one--as do I all of them.

God bless,

Elizabeth