Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TMTT- Home-Schooling Interview Part 1

I just can’t start this post without first sharing my heartfelt thanks to you all.  The post I put out on Friday was by far my most read and comment on post since I started blogging.  I was completely overwhelmed by all of the comments, prayers, and support I received.  I felt so much love and so much encouragement from you and I just want you to know that it means the world to me.

And also, thank you for all the birthday wishes!  I had a wonderful day and a nice night out with Jeff.  Looking forward to being 29!

Today is a special post, and I have actually decided to split it up into 2 parts...one for today, and one for next Tuesday.  I interviewed 3 friends of mine that were home-schooled growing up and asked them questions about home-schooling from the perspective of the “kid”.  I am so happy with how this came out- I think it is very informative and helpful if you are a parent and home-schooling, and if not, it is still very amusing to hear the different perspectives.  A special thanks to my friends who took time out of their busy lives to answer all these questions...I am so grateful to them for letting us learn from them!

  1. So we know who you are, please say your name, age, how many siblings you have, how long you were home-schooled/what grades, and if you were not home-schooled for all grades, please say what grades you did public/private school. 
Hallie:  Hi, I’m Hallie McLaughlin, age 30, and I was home-schooled with my 4 siblings (one of them being Darcie Martone!) during grades 11 & 12. Prior to that I attended two different Christian schools. My parents made the decision to home-school, so we all came home at different points in our education.

Darcie:  My name is Darcie Lane Martone (Wiezorek)~ (Hallie's younger sister.) I am 27 years old. I have 4 siblings~ 2 older sisters, an older brother and a younger brother. I was home-schooled 7th- 12th grade. I went to a private Christian school from preschool thru 6th grade.

J:  "J" (not giving out my name on a public blog :P), 25, oldest of 6 children, home-schooled through 10th/11th grade, mixture of homeschool, prep school, and junior college in 10th-12th grades.

  1. What was your favorite thing about being home-schooled?
Hallie:  Flexible schedule (sleeping in, taking December off for “Christmas school,” able to help in ministry, etc.)  Able to spend more time focusing on “most” important things, like character-building, sibling bonding, spiritual growth, life skills, hobbies & interests, etc.

Darcie:  I would have to say that my favorite thing about being home-schooled was having the ability to focus on the subjects I was most interested in. I knew I was called into full-time ministry when I was 12 years old and in 6th grade. I was able to spend a lot of my high school years focusing on things that would prepare me for my future. I also LOVED the flexibility. I was able to start as a part time nanny when I was 16. I would do all my work in the morning and then at 12pm I would head to my job. I also was able to travel and visit my older sisters, help my mom by being the East Coast representative for a company. It was great!

J:  Being the oldest, homeschooling was all I knew, so growing up I didn't have a sense of comparison to public school or private school, or what other kids my age were experiencing. That made it more difficult to say things like "wow, I wish I got to spend 8 hours a day out of this house" or "I'm glad I get to spend my days here"... I hope that makes sense. I did enjoy the freedom to progress at my own pace, but I had no concept of what it would have been like to not have that freedom.

  1. Least favorite thing?
Hallie:  Home-schooling naturally takes on the strengths and weaknesses of the one teaching, so where we had a lot of creativity, spirituality and fun, we lacked academic structure. Having to make-up lost time (night or summer school)

Darcie:  My least favorite part about being home-schooled was not being able to participate in school sports and things like a school play. I also felt intimidated with certain subjects that I didn't feel I was good at and my parents were not either. (aka MATH!)

J:  Unfortunately, my home environment was not a particularly happy one (for reasons unrelated to being home-schooled). As I entered my teenage years I grew more conscious of not wanting to be at home, but since I had accelerated beyond the normal grade level for my age, I never had a wish to attend public school or private school. I guess I would say that I missed the opportunity to do more hands-on science lab type work.  
I would note that in discussing my favorite and least favorite things about being homeschooled, I've tried to answer from the perspective I had at the time. Those were my thoughts, as best as I can recall, at the time I was being homeschooled and I would give quite different answers now after 7 years of college and 3 years of being in the professional world.

  1. Did you feel it helped your family bond or did it have the opposite effect?
Hallie:  Home-schooling did more for our family bond than anything else I can think of. My sibling relationships still reap the benefit of those years spent together, and I am forever grateful.

Darcie:  Home-schooling most definitely helped with our family bond. Anyone who knows our family knows that we are extremely close. I also think that my parent's parenting style in the midst of home-schooling helped direct us to be close. We have a lot of inside jokes and memories linked to our time of home-schooling.

J:  This is a tough question to answer because of the number of other factors that have influenced my family bonds for better or for worse. I think that it did create a common experience among the 4 oldest of us, aspects of a childhood that were shared to an extent not present in every family... we had our own social dynamic that persists to this day. There is a more substantial age gap between the first 4 and the last 2 kids in my family, and starting at around 7th and 6th grades, the youngest two began attending private school. It's interesting to see that they're not as much a part of this bond that we older 4 siblings have.

  1. Did you ever wish you went to public school? Why?
Hallie:  No, I never wished to go to public school. My one brother regretted not being able to get involved in sports (we lived in the city, which was hostile to home-schoolers). I was old enough to understand the reasons my parents decided to bring us home, I had plenty of friends and socialization at that point, and was actually relieved to “be forced” to spend more time with family and God. 

Darcie:  I never wished that I went to a public school. I am grateful for my time at the private Christian school but in my mind public school was not something I felt I needed to experience. I had friends who were a part of public school and I felt they had a lot more drama and friend troubles than I ever had. Also, I never felt I missed out on life simply because I didn't experience public school. Being home-schooled helped me to mature quicker and to start my process of becoming a responsible adult.

J:  No. I had such a sheltered childhood that I honestly couldn't develop a realistic conception of what attending public school would be like. I was aware, however, that it would be distinctly less Christian than my upbringing, and wanted to have no part of that. I was also painfully awkward as a child, had no common interests with other kids my age as far as I could tell, and thus had a fear that I would be the target of unbearable bullying. Although my evaluation of my homeschooling experience is somewhat mixed, I remain quite thankful that I did not attend public school. I think I would have done very poorly in that environment - would have been unable to deal with the social element at that age, and would not have been at all equipped to deal with the level of bullying I think I would have experienced.

Hope you enjoyed this so far, and stay tuned because next week I will post the remaining 5 questions that they answered!

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