“Wait, you’re only 16?”
“How is that possible?”
“So, like, how does that work?”
“You know, you’re the third homeschooler I’ve met that didn’t freak me out.”
Yes, all of these are things I’ve heard more than once while at school (except for that last one. That was a one time thing :P). I thought in honor of the start 4th semester of community college, I would write up the story of how I ended up where I am now. But to do that, we have to go back to elementary school.
I’ve always loved school. I really enjoy learning and I got pretty good grades easily. School was fun. I was usually one of the teacher’s favorites because I really didn’t get in trouble and I wanted to be there, learning everything that I could. My one problem was that I didn’t test well. I was tested a few times to get into the gifted program, which had accelerated curriculum, but I was always just a few points off from getting in. It didn’t bother me too much, until I hit middle school, but we’ll get to that later.
Middle school is rough for everyone, and I was not an exception. Girls that I had grown up with started drifting away and became popular, while I was left trailing behind and soon forgotten. I had no care for clothes and was having trouble keeping my hair clean (stupid, thin, blonde hair), so having to go through 6th and 7th grade while dealing with my awkward phase wasn’t super fun. I was never openly bullied, but I felt different. I didn’t want to hang out with the kids that were “geeky”, because they got made fun of, but I felt left out when I tried to sit with the popular crowd. Another issue that was happening was that I was bored out of my mind. Remember the gifted program that I couldn’t get into? Well, I was watching kids who slacked off get to have harder work while I was very bored in the classroom. I often would get my work done in about 10 minutes and then read or draw for the rest of the period. In 7th grade, I started thinking about homeschooling. I made multiple lists of pros and cons of leaving public school, and I confided in some of my teachers, who surprisingly encouraged me to do what I thought was best, even if it meant leaving.
During my second half of 7th grade, my mom pulled my little brother out of school to start homeschooling. He is the polar opposite of me: he was super behind in school and needed one on one teaching, while I was an extremely independent learner. I decided around April that I would end my time at public school and start homeschooling as well. The hardest thing for me was saying good bye to my amazing teachers. Some of the best teachers I had were in 7th grade, and to this day I still remember the time and effort they poured into me. But, I had made up my mind. On the first day of 8th grade, I woke up to the sound of kids getting on the bus. It was great.
I spent the next few years homeschooling, and there are many times where I wished I had started sooner. I thrived working independently, and I got to do a lot of extra-curricular activities (including writing two rough drafts of novels and improve on my art). But I really missed the classroom setting. I sure as heck didn’t want to go to public high school, and I started thinking about community college. After a lot of begging and long talks, I took my COMPASS placement test at 15, and started my first semester of college.
During my first semester, I only took 6 credits (English and Speech), just to see if I could handle the college setting. My “brother” Grant and I sat together and learned that the back was not the best place to be, so we moved to the front. There, we met some really cool people, some of who I still see around campus. That first semester, I learned a lot of things about myself and gained more confidence. I continued in the spring, now going full time, and I fell in love with the art program. I got to do my first college level art show and I felt like I was finally really learning in school again.
My third semester was even better. No braces, and I was finally driving myself to school. I joined Art Club, and even though we got super robbed by the other club with our Homecoming Castle, I got to do some really cool projects with them and make good friends. Later in the semester, I also joined CAB, the Colligate Activity Board. The club plans events for students around campus. Through this program, I’ve met amazing people and learned how to be a better leader. But while sitting in a meeting one day, it finally hit me how weird it was that I was there, in the college, doing classes and in a leadership position. I thought about how far I had come, and it’s hard to remember what it was like in public school. It seems like it was a life time ago.
I’m very excited to be starting this Spring semester. Thank you to those who have made the past year and a half really awesome! I’m glad that I’ve been warmly excepted by my peers and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me over the next few months 🙂
Until Next Time,
Special Thanks to some amazing teachers:
Mrs. Fischer, the best elementary teacher ever (5th Grade)
Mrs. DiBlasi, the coolest librarian ever (Elementary School)
Mr. Sheriff, for challenging me and making me a better artist (6th Grade)
Miss Conklin, for encouraging me to write (7th Grade)
Miss Warner, for telling me to keep pursuing art (7th Grade)
Mr. Kalis, for making math fun (7th Grade)
Mike W., for being a wonderful first-college-class-teacher (1st semester)
Carlos, for being the coolest art professor and bringing pizza (2nd Semester)
Raechel F., for challenging me to learn and to dig, and for causing me to strengthen my faith (3rd Semester)
Mom, for always being there, and being an amazing, life time teacher.