Life before Home Schooling

Dana over at Principled Discovery is hosting Home Education Week. Today’s topic is Looking Back.

Share your personal history…before you were a home educator. What was life like? Think about things you miss and things you and your family have gained.

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What was it like? I forget.  Okay maybe I don’t but as we decided to home school when we realized I was pregnant it has been nearly 11 years.

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I hated, hated, hated school. Elementary school and high school were a misery. I spent most of my time struggling to figure out what was going on and being retaught everything when I got home from school. I was different from everyone else and knew it. I thought there was something wrong with me. I loved art and writing research papers and reading and dance and that was it. I valued my alone time at home and spent much time on my computer or reading and even more avoiding all things school.

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College was an amazing thing for me. Here was something I could handle. By mistake I ended up in the wrong section in orientation–I planned to do elementary with early childhood but ended up in the room with special ed and elementary ed–I never looked back.

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It was in my special ed classes that I learned that there was nothing wrong with me–that I had a legitimate reason for struggling the way I did in school. My parents knew I had a learning disability but were both teachers and didn’t want me labeled and sent to the special school in the district so I had never been tested. In college I was tested and suddenly everything made sense and my grades went from C’s to A’s. I still struggled with math but when the teacher let me write a paper for extra credit I got an A. I was still different but here I could be myself. I spent my free time hanging out in the classical literature stacks in the library reading all the books I had longed to read. I also had a great many opinions about the way things should be done–most of which I know were wrong now. In my third year I took up art as a minor which afforded me the opportunity to study art for 3 months in Poland. I also spent several of my college years working as a nanny for a family with 5 children, did lots of volunteer work in my parents’ classrooms, worked in a used record store, among other things. I did my student teaching in two different classrooms. I spent the summer working for UCP dealing with their most severely disabled members. It was all good experience but I learned that just because others dealt with kids or were accredited teachers didn’t make them good at their jobs or mean they actually cared about the kids.

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One month after I graduated I married the guy I started dating my senior year in high school. I started teaching and then had my first classroom all my own. At that time my mother-in-law was home schooling my bil due to issues with his teacher. After some horrible experiences in the teachers lounge I decided I didn’t want those people anywhere near my children. I liked them, well most of them, but the way they handled my special ed students and the way they talked about all their students changed my mind about the benefits of public school (also, some of them had been my own teachers). Three months after I graduated I was pregnant and I only went back to teaching once, and then God called me completely home and I never went back. I would share but that is a different story.

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The best part of home schooling is the freedom to learn and help my children learn the way we actually learn instead of the way someone else things we should. The freedom to read and talk, to play and gain understanding, to research those things that interest us both individually and as a family. It is a joy to be free in Christ and to be free to be ourselves regardless of what others think or say.

 

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* The pictures in this post were taken today at my dad’s property. This is where I grew up and this is where my real learning took place.