What Young Adults Who Were Homeschooled Tell Us Today
They were homeschooled in the 70s and 80s, decades before the current explosion in homeschooling across America. Today, they are adults, with lives of their own. In this exclusive Regina Magazine interview, two West Coast young people share their stories, reflecting on the surprising ‘good, bad and ugly’ about homeschooling — in their own personal experience and words.*
REGINA: When were you homeschooled and for how long?
Jennifer: I started being homeschooled in 1973, for nine years.
Keith: I was homeschooled for 12 years, beginning in 1988.
REGINA: Where did you attend university and what are your professions today?
Jennifer: I graduated from Portland State University with a BFA. I am now a freelance fine artist.
Keith: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. University of Portland (2005) and a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. University of Notre Dame (2008) I am now employed as a software engineer with WW Technology Group (government contractor).
REGINA: Looking back on your own experience after all these years, what would you say were the benefits of being homeschooled?
Jennifer: For me, it was the freedom to explore interests and develop skills. And freedom from negative peer pressure. Not to mention free time.
Keith: I would say there were three benefits for me. The first was autonomous learning; I learned how to pursue and acquire knowledge on my own, which led to an easy college transition. Second was customized education; I was able to engage topics of interest in the manner best suited to my learning modality. Finally, there was social skills; I interacted with adults and children of other ages as frequently as with my peers. I learned from them and become comfortable interacting with them.
“Homeschooling gave me the freedom to explore interests and develop skills. And freedom from negative peer pressure. Not to mention free time.”
REGINA: Sounds very impressive. How about the negatives?
Jennifer: I experienced a lack of acceptance/understanding from society at large.
Keith: The three main negatives for me were preconceived biases, assumed cultural knowledge and mornings. (LOL)
“The three main negatives for me were preconceived biases, assumed cultural knowledge and mornings. (LOL)”
REGINA: On balance, would you recommend homeschooling to your friends and family? Why or why not?
Jennifer: I believe the benefits always outweigh any drawbacks. As parents, no one knows our children’s strengths, weaknesses, gifts, abilities and personalities better
than we do. Ideally, we are the ones best equipped to tailor their educational experience and help them flourish as unique individuals.
Keith: Homeschooling amplifies the influence of the parents (and siblings) and reduces the influence of peers. If the parents are likely to be a positive influence on their children, I would recommend that they homeschool.
“Homeschooling amplifies the influence of the parents (and siblings) and reduces the influence of peers. If the parents are likely to be a positive influence on their children, I would recommend that they homeschool.”
* Interviewees’ names have been changed to guarantee their anonymity and to encourage their candor.