I recently posted an entry from Myra Schjelderup, of Salt Lake City, who reflected on the transition from home school to college at 16. Her mother (and my good friend) Kathy comments on the comments!
“Thanks so much for posting Myra’s article. After reading all the other home schooling posts, I think it fits in nicely. I was impressed that you used her entire article as written.
I have been amused observing the comments surrounding Myra’s post. There have been several perceptive posts by both public and home schooled students. The first comments were by a mom who lamented Myra being pushed into adult life, and missing out on ‘a magical time’. My daughter’s friend had a different reaction. She is about to graduate high school and said she wondered if it’s magical to be “forced to sit in a classroom for hours on end, being bored to tears.” She told us in no uncertain terms that she would have graduated at 16, and would have home schooled if she could have. She is at the top of her class and will graduate this spring with honors and scholarships. But rather than relish the magical time she has spent in high school, she feels these years have been stolen from her.
I’ve heard many people speak nostalgically about their high school experience. They often wonder if my girls were sad they ‘missed out’ on things like proms and social life. But I believe this is not the norm. Most people I know were thrilled to put the immature antics of high school behind them. I had no such nostalgia for proms and such, and my husband felt exactly the same. When we asked our girls, they expressed surprise that anyone would feel they missed out due to not attending high school.
Many people who aren’t familiar with home schooling, have some misconceptions about how it works. Many are confused about the student’s role. In our home school, as the child grows up, her education becomes increasingly self-managed. It was Myra’s choice, for example, when and where to go to college, although we advised her, as all parents do. When she was 15, she felt she was ready to start looking at a classroom setting for the near future. Academically, there was nothing that high school could offer her, so she and her older sister started looking into higher education. They planned and executed their tactics for applying to the institution of their choice. They studied together continuously for their ACTs and then, subsequently, for CLEP tests (for college credits).
As Myra mentioned in her posting, she was ready to have more social involvement, which the college setting provided. It brought her into contact with other inquisitive people; and was the place where she met her very closest friends.
Myra, now 21, has been out of college for two years. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Westminster in Economics and is in marketing at a software company. She is happy with her life and achievements. She is accomplished in voice and piano, she dances and studies Tae-Kwon-Do, creates Youtube videos, continues her novel writing, is well read, and socializes often with friends and family.
Our other two ‘graduates’ are also doing well. Myra’s older sister graduated Magna Cum Laude from Westminster and is now a programmer with a software developer. Our third child graduated from SLCC with High Honors, and is now a biology major at the University of Utah. Our fourth child is still at home, planning to begin at SLCC in the Fall.
There is no “one right path” for a quality education. It would be nice if more children had real choices in their education. Our focus was giving our children those choices, and to instill in them a love of learning, which we have achieved. They will never forget that education is personal and although “schooling” (which includes college), offers educational opportunities, it is by no means the only path.”