Staying in PJs, eating a homemade lunch and having multiple recesses are only a few benefits of homeschooling. Even though homeschooling is not as easy as it sounds, it is worth every frustration and struggle – for me, as well as my parents. There were challenges like drawing and labeling the world from memory, giving an oral presentation every week and debating in the OK Supreme Court courtroom. With a classical home education, I learned to facilitate philosophical discussions, evaluate art pieces, challenge theories and analyze subjects from a Biblical perspective.
Homeschooling was the best fit for me because of the flexibility in schedule and work, the encouragement of my community and the ability to build tight relationships with my siblings.
bdpq – left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg. This kinesthetic exercise was one of many vision therapy tools I had to practice for more than two years. Early on, my mom noticed that I sounded out letters in reverse order, forgetting words and skipping lines while reading. My eyes were intermittently shutting off the visual pictures my brain was trying to receive and were not focusing on the same object at the same time. Thankfully, because of homeschooling, I could pause my reading and participate fully in eye therapy. Homeschooling allowed me to alter my workload when I needed to spend more time learning to read. But on the other hand, I was able to move ahead in science. Even as a 3rd grader, I was invited into my brother’s 7th grade group to help dissect frogs and fetal pigs. Because I had a flexible schedule, I could take my time drawing and labeling internal organs rather than completing worksheets.
The highlight of my junior high years was having my entire homeschool group over to my house and learning formal logic together. By far, this was the most challenging subject any of us had tackled. Sitting in a comfortable home setting with my friends every Wednesday afternoon, we wrestled with syllogisms, validity and fallacies. Formal logic was a challenge for each of us, but we teamed up and ensured that we all conquered it. Other memorable moments spent learning together included simulating earthquakes with graham crackers and cake frosting, chemistry study groups, impromptu medieval dramas in the living room, book clubs with Laura Ingalls theme days, outdoor relay races to practice history and math and visiting nursing homes.
Additionally, the time I spent learning with my siblings was invaluable. Mornings consisted of devotion time together. We’d all play a math game called Number Knockout in the afternoons. There was always a healthy dose of competition – not in earning the best grades but rather in doing hard things. My older brothers would quiz me with my Latin memory work or history timeline sequence, and now I do that for my younger sisters. Even today, my brother will FaceTime me when I have a question about my math homework. Yes, occasionally, we needed a bit of space from each other or push each other’s buttons. However, the minutes we have invested in each other have resulted in quality relationships as teenagers and young adults.
Growing academically at my own pace, learning within a caring community and developing strong family ties are a few reasons why homeschooling was the best choice for me. There’s no perfect curriculum or environment, but I am thankful I could flourish at home. Not only am I prepared for college but also for work, citizenship, ministry and adulthood. Graduation is drawing near. It is not an end to my education – just a milestone to celebrate in my lifelong learning journey.
Noël Schrader, who appeared on the cover of MetroFamily Magazine as a kindergartner in 2011, will be graduating in May 2023. She has earned academic scholarships at several colleges and will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.