In 2012, I joined the administration of a large homeschool group in my area. As part of that, I began writing for their homeschool newsletter. One of the most enjoyable articles I wrote was a series of interviews with homeschool graduates.
This is one such article.
This is an interview essentially with myself. I thought that it was only fair to ask myself the same questions I asked my interviewees.
This was about 5 years ago, so understandably some things have changed. I left it in its original form and resisted the urge to edit it to make it up to date.
Interview with Sarah Forbes
What year did your family begin homeschooling? 1989
How did your parents hear about homeschooling? Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast in the 1980s
What was your parents motivation for homeschooling (what made them choose to begin)? I had ADHD (which was a fairly new idea when I was in grade school). My 2nd grade public school teacher did not have the time to devote to working with me one-on-one. She wanted to hold me back a grade. My parents were not impressed… especially when she showed them the file full of work she had chosen not to give me because it was too much trouble to teach me. My parents moved me to private school, but that didn’t work out either (the teacher to student ratio was even higher at the private school). Then we began to homeschool.
What age/grade were you when you start homeschooling? I was in the 4th grade.
What curriculum did you use? In the 80s there were really only 2 choices: Abeka or Bob Jones. We used Abeka. When I was 12 we enrolled in Abeka’s Video School program.
Was there a particular curriculum that you found worked better for you than another? When I was in 6th grade we tried Saxon math which I hated. I am a visual learner. The lack of pictures and color was very frustrating for me.
Did you experience resistance from others about your families choice to homeschool? From whom? Can you describe an incident related to this?
1) In the 80s there were no laws about homeschooling where we lived– neither for nor against. I can remember sitting in a waiting room listening to my mother argue with a school district employee about homeschooling. My mom must have won, because we didn’t stop homeschooling!
2) At the beach once, a lady called the truancy officer on us! But all my mom had to do was say we were homeschooled.
3) We lived in a small community where the parents were very involved in the local public school. By pulling us out of the public school, we stepped on the toes of many of our neighbors. Neighborhood children weren’t allowed to play with us. Neighbors were often rude to us; so we children quickly learned which neighbors to avoid!
What was your favorite course or class? Literature, Creative Writing, and History
Did you have any learning disabilities or challenges? ADHD. Until I was about 12, my mother sat with me and worked through my assignments one by one, as I simply didn’t have the attention or the follow through. Ooohhh…. look…a butterfly…
Did you have challenges with any classes for which your parents found creative solutions to help you? (perhaps a method that the public schools wouldn’t/couldn’t use?) My senior year, my mother allowed me to pursue my interest. I took Drafting instead of a standard math class. I didn’t really “get” math (I needed a visual explanation. I love Math-u-see and use it for my boys). That same year I took a Creative Writing class from another homeschool mom. It was a great encouragement for me to pursue publishing my work.
What other activities were you involved with: church, ministry, co-ops, homeschool groups, community groups, sports, etc.? In grade school, I attended the HIS Academy Friday School (a homeschool group). We were very involved in our church: Bible Quizzing, Choir, Youth Group, Mission Trips, Evangelism, etc.
How many siblings do you have? 2: an older brother and a younger sister
Were they also homeschooled? Yes
To your knowledge would they or do they homeschool their children? My sister chose to send her children to public school. My brother does not have any children yet, but he and his wife plan to homeschool.
Did you get your GED or graduate (if you graduated was it a homeschool graduation or through an organization)? I had a homeschool graduation at my church but it was not through any homeschool organization.
At what age did you graduate? 17
Did you go to college? Where? I attended Biblion College-Seminary in Silverton Oregon (the school was part of Canyonview Camp; the Bible college is no longer operating).
If you completed college, what was your degree and at what age did you graduate? I did not complete college, instead I got my MRS. at 20 (ie. I got married).
Did homeschooling allow you to accomplish something or participate in something public schoolers wouldn’t be able to? I was able to devote a large portion of my time during my highschool years to writing. I was published when I was 19. I doubt this would have been possible had I been attending a traditional school for 8 hours a day.
What do you see as the advantages of being homeschooled?
1) It takes so much less time. When I attended private high school (for my 10th grade year), I noticed how much time was wasted each day for discipline, moving from room to room, assembly, etc. I asked my mom to homeschool me again because I could learn more in 3 hours at home than all day at the private school.
2) There was also a lot of negative influences, even in the private Christian school setting. I was not swayed in my faith, but I was daily bombarded by these influences which were so strong they made my private school experience a negative one.
3)Those negative influences also made focusing on learning very challenging. At home I was emotionally secure and did not have to be on my (spiritual) guard, which allowed more energy for learning.
4) I was able to learn to be a woman by being with a Godly woman: my mother. There is no better education in the world than this type of one-on-one discipleship.
What do you see as the disadvantages of being homeschooled? NONE! I can say honestly I have no regrets. In fact, I wish I hadn’t waited until the end of the private school year to return to homeschooling! I now homeschool my own children.
Were you lonely as a child or did you feel deprived by being homeschooled? NO. In fact, I knew I was loved because of the time and attention my mother devoted to me every day. (I may not have acted like it at the time, but I knew.) I was not lonely. We had plenty of friends, homeschoolers and not.
Would you change something about your homeschool experience? If so, what? Looking back…. I should have spent my free time as a young person pursuing learning rather than hobbies. I should have pursued topics I wished to learn about, but weren’t covered in our classes. I put that off, thinking I would have plenty of time as an adult. Now as a busy mother I can say I DO NOT have the time I once thought I would!
Is there any advice or word of encouragement you could give our readers? Don’t lose heart! Homeschooling is HARD. But it is so worth it. It is the best thing you can do for your children. They will care about the opinions of the people they spend the most time with. That should be you! You are not depriving them by homeschooling, rather you are empowering them by giving them the tools they need for the future.
I will post more interviews in the future, so be on the lookout!