Welcome to the April 2012 edition of The Face of Homeschooling!
Each month I interview a homeschool mom, adding another face to the mosaic that makes up the homeschooling community. This month, however, I am doing something different.
This month, I've decided to interview a homeschool student. This student happens to be my daughter, Alexis.
I had no idea what to ask my own child, so I put a call out on the Facebook page and ask you, the readers, to post your questions. Here is the interview: Your questions; my daughter's answers.
Q: Alexis, how old are you?A: I'm 13. I'll be turning 14 this summer.
Q: We know that homeschooling begins at birth, but how long have you formally been homeschooled?
A: I've been homeschooled since I was 7 years old. Before that, I attended private and public schools.
Q: Do you ever consider going back to school? Why or why not?A: I never consider it. I have Dyslexia. In school, teachers didn't recognize the problem. They chastised me for daydreaming when I was actually struggling with understanding what I was reading. Also, it seems that there is a lot of bullying in schools and I think I would be a target for that due to my challenges. So, no. I never consider going back.
|Drawing by Alexis|
Q: Is there anything you think you miss out on as a homeschooler that you would get as a public school student? if so, how could those things be accommodated in a homeschool environment?A: I used to think that I was missing out on art and music classes, but I now realize that public schools have taken those classes away. When I first learned this, I felt sorry for all the kids who won't have a chance to learn those things. At home, I spend a lot of time drawing, listening to music, and dancing. I wouldn't be able to put as much time into those interests if I were in school.
Q: Do you think homeschooling hinders your ability to socialize?A: I think with all the school work and homework, there would be no time to socialize if I were in school. When I was in 1st grade, I came home from school at 2:00 p.m. I had homework 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. I had no time to play at all.
As for social skills, I don't think I'm missing anything. Being homeschooled, I have plenty of time to be around a many people of different ages. I am able to have socialize with people of all ages from toddlers to older adults. I wouldn't have that opportunity if I spent all day in a classroom.
Wildlife Study: The Possum
Q: How do you and your family ensure you are getting a complete education?A: When we switched to the Charlotte Mason style, I found that I learn more in smaller periods than I learned when I was in school. The amount of things I learn, even in one day, is more than what I'd learn in weeks or months of sitting in a classroom.
At home, we are able to study artists, composers, music, art, and nature. I never would have learned those things in a classroom. This makes my education complete and well-rounded.
We study a variety of subjects and study them in-depth because we don't use textbooks as our only source of information. When we study something, it sort of becomes our life for a while. We spend a year on a period in history including geography, art, music, composers, and anything else we come across. I know I'm learning more this way than before we started the Charlotte Mason method.
Q: How many of your ideas are put to use when planning what to learn? Are you able to be creative? Or do you have to stick to the curriculum?A: I don't think I'm limited, but I don't really offer ideas for our lessons. The things that I, personally, am interested in are the things I research and learn in my spare time. My sister may say, "I want to learn about the stars," and mom will work that into the curriculum. I could do the same, but really my interests are not something everyone else would be interested in learning.
|Gathering the invasive Air Potato at Gemini Springs|
Q: What do you think makes your mom and effective homeschool teacher?A: Wow! That's a hard question to answer! I don't know, but I think it's because she really enjoys being around us all the time. She didn't like when we were in school and couldn't wait for breaks and summer. I also think she likes learning with us. She isn't just teaching us; she's learning too.
Q: What is your favorite part of your day, and why?A: I like mornings. The air is crisp and everything is quiet. I enjoy just getting going with the day. I know it's ironic that it's the morning that I like because I have a hard time sleeping and I don't always see the mornings. I think that makes me appreciate it because it's not common for me. I enjoy being able to get up early when I can.
Q: What are you most interested in learning?A: I have several things that I'm really interested in learning. I'm interested in writing. I also like learning about different cultures. My favorite is the Japanese culture. I've been studying the Japanese culture since I was 8 and I've been studying the language for the last 8 months. I enjoy creating anime through drawing and digital art. I love photography too.
|Digital art creation by Alexis when she was 12|
Q: How would you describe who you are? How did homeschooling help define this?A: (laughs) I don't usually talk about myself! I think that I have a very strong imagination and it helps me to write and draw. Being homeschooled helps me keep my imagination alive because I have the freedom to use it.
|Clothing designs by Alexis|
Q: Are most of your friends homeschoolers, too? Or do you have friends from public school?A: I would say it's half and half. I know many homeschoolers but I also know a lot of public school kids through our congregation. If not for our congregation, I would probably only know homeschoolers because there aren't a lot of kids in our neighborhood. But my friends are both schooled and homeschooled.
|Learning a game from the 19th century|
A: The biggest benefit for me would be the freedom to study the things that interest me. I would probably not be able to focus on art, drawing, writing, or learning Japanese if I were being limited by a public school curriculum and bogged down with homework.
Q: What is the biggest benefit you're receiving from homeschooling?
|Alexis at age 13|
Q: Finish this sentence: Homeschooling is _____.A: Freedom.