My Home Schooling Experience

by Heidi Wickersheim

During the course of my education, people have often asked me, "Where do you go to school?" I think that my answer is quite simple: I am home schooled. For a long time, homeschooling was almost socially unacceptable. People assumed that you were weird and that your parents were crazy for even thinking such a thing. Fortunately, many of my friends and relatives have come to realize that there is more than one way to get an education.

Through the years, I have had many opportunities to discuss my education with inquisitive people. One of the most common questions that I am asked is, "How do you get socialized?" My parents made sure that I was exposed to a variety of experiences as well as social opportunities. For example, when I was twelve years old, my Dad worked for a candy distribution company. He took me on a few business trips and introduced me to the business atmosphere. Business men and women were curious. They asked, "How did you get out of school?" Even though I was not at home doing school work, I was still learning! I was learning how to communicate with others. I was also learning how to sell a product and conduct myself properly in the business world.

My mother also provided opportunities for me to learn at her feet. My mother is a true homemaker. She made certain that I learned to serve others. Because of her tender teaching, I know how to run a household, cook, clean, manage money, and care for children. I am very thankful for all of the instruction she has provided for me.

My parents planned and scheduled additional activities. These included: summer camp, four years of piano lessons, hosting get togethers and parties, community service, and helping in our family business. All of these experiences have been invaluable to me.

Now, I am getting ready for college. As I look back on my education, I have some observations to make. First, it has not been easy to school at home. Just like people who have been educated in the public schools, I have had my share of struggles and discouragements. Some of those struggles have required extra help from outside our home. These struggles have helped me to become a more humble and understanding person.

Second, some people have made unfair assumptions about homeschoolers. Contrary to popular belief, not all homeschoolers are brilliant. There are times when I think that people expect homeschoolers to be "really smart" or a "grade ahead." In fact, many parents choose to homeschool because their children are challenged in a particular way. Onthe other hand, some have concluded that homeschoolers are socially awkward, and very bashful. While these circumstances may exist, it is unfair to place homeschoolers at large in any of these categories.

Third, I am glad to have had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time with my family. This is definitely one of the additional values of home education. I have had the rare opportunity to really know my family. There were times when being in such close proximity to one another was not always pleasant, but looking back, I would not have wanted it any other way. When I leave for college, I will truly miss my family and the encouragement that they have constantly shown me.

On the whole, my homeschooling experience has been a good one. Socially, I feel very prepared to go out into the world and represent the homeschooling community with integrity. Academically, I feel prepared to to enter college life and study with diligence. Intellectually, I feel prepared to defend what I believe in, because I have been taught to use reason. But most importantly, I am prepared spiritually. Since the time that I was a small child, my parents made serving God a priority. Everything that we did was for the glory of God and for His service. I can now reflect on the past and feel truly blessed to have been educated at home. Had I not been homeschooled, I am convinced that my life as I know it would be very different. As John Milton once said, "The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him."

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 Note: Heidi wrote this article just before the end of her "senior year" in school. She is now a student at Florica College.