What is is like to be homeschooled? This is a question many people have asked me. For starters, I am a self taught student from 5th all the way to the 10th grade. It all started at the age of 10 when I entered a rigorous gymnastics program. This program required me to train 30 hours each week. As a result, I entered a homeschool program to compensate for it. This is my homeschool story.
In the beginning of my homeschool period, I used an online program called K12. This program offered textbooks and an online program to learn. It also relied on a guardian or a parent to check my work. This is where my gymnastics center came to play. The center offered a teacher whose job was to assist my academic needs. However, the teacher did not meet my expectations. Any of the questions asked would be met with an answer key and not an explanation. Oftentimes, I was told to figure things out myself.
And yes, you may be wondering why I didn’t look up online resources for help. At the time, I was naive to the available online resources such as Youtube. I thought that everything had to be dealt by myself rather than look for help. I also didn’t have friends in which I could turn to. My friends, who were all in school, had a teacher at their disposal. I, on the other hand, did not. Even though this is not an excuse, but I believe that this is the main reason why I struggled. I did not know how to seek help.
Understanding the materials was not my only problem. School was also a nonstop struggle to find the inner motivation to do work. In my opinion, homeschool was horrendous, and it became something I despised. To make matters worse, I had a personal conflict to be a perfectionist. My drive to be a perfectionist caused many disadvantages. For one, I would refuse to turn in an assignment until I was sure I would get a 95 or higher. If I received anything lower, I would beat myself up for it. I still remember the time where I got a 87 on a science midterm and decided to hang myself upside down for 5 hours, making sure I was lightheaded and dizzy. This was not the worse of it. The worst part of being a perfectionist was falling behind in schoolwork. Because I was so focused on nitpicking every single detail of my work, I would easily get behind schedule. Despite spending hours and hours on schoolwork, I would barely manage to finish my work. Often, I had to do school during the summer because of my inability to finish on time. It was not fun. I can assure you that.
Then, I entered high school. In the process, I switched to another program called Laurel Springs which offered an online teacher. I was ecstatic. But with my previous experience of not asking for help, I never used this significant resource. Again, I found myself in a cycle of added on assignments. I was stressed beyond belief because not only did my grades count, but I couldn’t understand what was happening in some of my core subjects, especially the sciences. The lack of experiments and being a hands-on learner made understanding materials a challenging task.
Chemistry was when it all broke down. Periodic tables, pH levels, etc all were incomprehensible to me. Seeing equations like Na + Cl2 = NaCl or salt was mind-blowing. I couldn’t comprehend all the materials given to me. However, this wasn’t the only subject that struggled. My English and math skills greatly deteriorated. For English, my online teachers gave little to no feedback in any of my work. Additionally, I was not required to read anything. I only had to analyze short sections of books. In math, because I wasn’t absorbing the materials from the prior years, the subject became significantly harder as I moved up in difficulty. School was the hardest during the end of my sophomore year in which I received a severe concussion, causing me to miss school for a two month. I ended up getting super behind and had to do school over the summer. When others were relaxing, I was rushing to finish schoolwork. I couldn’t even ask for help because all my online teachers were given 3-5 business days to reply to my emails: a time span in which I didn’t have.
Even though, I experienced great difficulty during homeschool. There were still some positives. For one, it allowed me to fully immerse myself in gymnastics. I could spend all of my time at gym without worrying about missing school. To add on, the homeschool system that I used was self-paced. I could travel to competitions on Fridays and it would not affect my grade or my attendance. Additionally, it taught me the value of self-motivation and time management. Since entering the school system this year, I now know how to manage my time. Overall, homeschool had its up and downs and I believe that it’s something that everyone should experience once in their life.