What homeschooling is really like


Pictured is now senior, Grace Flock, when she was thirteen. She is presenting her geography project on Hawaii to her geography homeschool group.

Sitting in the cafeteria eating a lunchable or playing the parachute game during gym are key memories in many people’s childhoods. At least the childhoods of those that went to public school.

I never got to participate in these fun memories everyone else seems to share; instead I grew up with memories of doing math in a grocery store and geography and science experiments in the basement of my church. Birthday and Valentine’s Day parties were thrown in the living room during what would be considered school hours. There were no such thing as a snow day while I sat in my basement with my very own workspace. 

Being homeschooled is more than just staying at home in your pajamas and working at your own pace. It takes discipline and a parent who knows what homeschooling entails.

Every year my mom took us to the library. My siblings and I got to roam the shelves, picking books to read while we waited or played with the toys provided. As for my mom, it took organizing all of the school work and places we visited in order to show them to a government worker to prove we were learning. 

My mom worked hard to provide schooling for us. She went to conventions and joined groups in order to expand our education. She always made sure that if we were interested in a subject, she would do her best to supply us with the curriculum to learn it. 

I was content with being homeschooled and the freedoms it entailed. Even though I was happy, I was still interested in what public school had to offer. 

For years, I begged my mom to let me attend a public school, convinced it was going to be like the movies. (Spoiler alert, it is not.) 

But In January 2019, I got my wish. My mom decided that she wanted to go back to school to be a nurse. Because of how rigorous the course was, there was no way for my mom to focus on her own studies and her kids’. She enrolled us and soon enough, I was on my way to school on a big yellow bus.

Even though I was in basically the same subjects and learning the same content, it was given to me in a different format. Instead of doing science with a group of people and doing an experiment together to learn the topic, I was expected to take notes and color in charts in a notebook every single class as an assignment. Instead of working through math at my own pace and taking the time to fix and comprehend each problem, the class moved as one. I was too busy writing down how to do the problem instead of actually learning how to do it, resulting in a trial by error way of doing math. 

I was used to working by myself and at my own pace. The first week of school, I sat through kids presenting projects on the different works of Edgar Allan Poe. I was excused from the science fair because by the time I had joined the school district I did not have any material to base the project on, so I never entered. I even had to drop my favorite class, fashion, in order to take a health credit. 

The way the school day was run was not the only adjustment I had to deal with. Trying to find a group of people to “fit in with” became a big deal. The only person I knew going into public school was the one girl I had shadowed. She went to a youth group I was a part of but we never really talked. After the first week, I strayed away from her and started hanging out with a much different crowd. That friend group did not last either. 

Until the end of sophomore and beginning of my  junior year, I did not have any stable or steady friendships at school, making it hard for everyday activities like finding someone to sit with at lunch. The pandemic was especially hard, not because I did not have any friends from school to talk to, but because it reminded me of being homeschooled. 

Online learning worked similar to how I was homeschooled, and I reverted into my normal ways of doing work. I got used to working from home and alone on projects. I did not have to worry about what other people thought because I was not really in front of anyone. I was back in my comfort zone. This is what made sophomore year harder for me and it felt like starting public school for the first time again. 

Everything turned around the summer before my junior year. I had reconnected with past friends from homeschool days and grew more in my religion. Being able to get back to how I was before public school gave me a big boost of confidence and allowed me to grow in myself. I started connecting with more people at school and strengthening the friendships I already had.

A lot of things happened during the school year of my junior year. I got over past toxic friendships, found out I “didn’t need no man” and ultimately started learning more about myself and how I wanted my life to be. Other people noticed the change in my behavior and the way I held myself, which only made me more confident and really propelled my physical and mental glow up. 

While I was completely miserable in my underclassmen years, I’m glad I got to have the experience of going through a public high school. It has opened me up to new subjects that I probably would not have studied while being homeschooled. It has pushed me to be more independent and to get out of my comfort zone. I have learned about the ever changing flow of fashion and activities and learned more about the skills and education needed for my career.

While high school is nothing like the movies, it is something that has shaped me as a person and really has prepared me for the real world, or at least something close to it.