homeschooling, interview with a homeschool graduate

Interview with a Homeschool Graduate no. 4

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.


Interview with Alyssa

What year did your family begin homeschooling? 1986

How did your parents hear about homeschooling? Mom had a good friend who homeschooled her daughter.

What was your parents’ motivation for homeschooling (what made them choose to begin?) Mom was sure she could do better. She kept seeing me come home with all my homework.

What age and grade were you? 7 years old, 2nd grade; I went back to school for 3rd and 4th grade; home schooled for 5th grade. When we moved [to Oregon], my brother and I managed 3 weeks in public school before we were BEGGING to come home!

What curriculum did you use? Rod and Staff, A Beka, Bob Jones, Streams of Civilization, Far Above Rubies, Saxon (math)

Was there a particular curriculum that you found worked better for you than another? I loved Streams of Civilization! I learned a lot from Far Above Rubies (calligraphy, studied gems) but I wasn’t self-motivated enough to stick with it. A Beka Algebra was really hard for me.

Did you experience resistance from family or friends about your family’s’ choice to homeschool? My grandmother was very resistant to homeschool for quite a few years. She is fully supportive now.

What was your favorite course or class? I LOVED art! And history!

Did you have any learning disabilities or challenges? I cried over algebra!

What other activities were you involved with: church, ministry, co-ops, homeschool groups, community groups, sports, etc.? I was involved in gymnastics, art (lots of art!), ballet, babysitting, speech and debate, choirs & plays, Science Fair, piano Syllabus, recitals and Festival, ballet syllabus, working with Dad, and Wooden Shoe Bulb Company

How many siblings do you have? 6

Were they also homeschooled? yes

To your knowledge would they or do they homeschool their children? yes

Did you get your GED or graduate (if you graduated was it a homeschool graduation or through an organization)? no

At what age did you graduate? 19

Did you go to college? I went to a year at Clackamas Community College

Did homeschooling allow you to accomplish something or participate in something public schoolers wouldn’t be able to? Most of my extra curricular activities

What do you see as the advantages of being homeschooled? Being able to explore different interests at different time. School time being flexible.

What do you see as the disadvantages of being homeschooled, if any? Too much family time and/or not enough outside-the-home-time leans toward being a potential for the “ingrown” mentality as I call it.

Were you lonely as a child or did you feel deprived by being home-schooled? I had some lonely years in my teens, but I don’t regret them. I had a lot of peaceful days with my dog, playing out back. I had best friends but I didn’t see them often until I started driving..

My husband I were both home-schooled (he never went to public school) and when we were dating, we never even talked about schooling our children until after we got married! Our two boys are 6 and 4, doing first grade work and kindergarten [in homeschool]. It is most rewarding to see their eyes brighten with the knowledge and understanding. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Stay tuned for more interviews.


Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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interview with a homeschool graduate

An Interview with a Homeschool Graduate No. 3

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.


Interview with Kyle 

What year did your family begin homeschooling? 1983 was when my oldest brother was born and, as they say, a child’s educational journey begins on day one.

How did your parents hear about homeschooling? Through numerous friends in the Polk County area.

What was your parent’s motivation for homeschooling (what made them choose to begin)? My folks were both brought up in the public school system and knew when they got married that they wanted to take a different path for their children.

What age and grade were you? Obviously, I wasn’t around quite yet when my parents first began… but I was around 6 or 7 when my “formal schooling” started.

What curriculum did you use? Ah, yes, curriculum. By the time I came along, we really had quite a diverse collection of material that Mom had put together. I used Abeka for health and history, Saxon for math, Apologia for chemistry, Bob Jones for biology, and for grammar we used Frody Jensen’s “A Journey Through Grammar Land”… just to name a few.

Was there a particular curriculum that you found worked better for you than another? When I began doing Algebra, there was a DVD series we found from a vendor at one of the homeschool conventions called, “Video-text Interactive”. Being a visual kind of person, the way that they illustrated the different problems was unique and definitely helpful for me.

Did you experience resistance from family or friends about your family’s choice to homeschool? From whom? Can you describe an incident related to this? Actually, we were very well supported, all things considered. Even my great Aunt and Uncle, both public school teachers, were agreeable to the idea. A bit cautious in their approval… but still agreeable nonetheless.

What was your favorite course or class? The co-op classes I took…, literature and composition, win hands down on this one. I also found chemistry enjoyable because it wasn’t just math… but rather math in action.

Did you have any learning disabilities or challenges? If bad handwriting is considered a disability, then yes.

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 use?) Math was, and probably still is, my weakest subject and so as I would be at the table slaving away at (what seemed like) the 647th problem on my sheet, Mom would have me take a break and clear my frazzled mind by running a few laps around the house or simply switching subjects for awhile.

What other activities were you involved with: church, ministry, co-ops, homeschool groups, community groups, sports, etc.? Oh boy, what wasn’t I involved in? My family participated in copious amounts of “outside the home” activities that ranged from visiting nursing homes to homeschool band and choir, co-op Spanish classes to church league softball, Bible memory programs (AWANA) and 4-H clubs were some of the main focuses my brothers and I had.

How many siblings do you have? I am blessed to be one of seven boys. I was the youngest of my parent’s original four, but when we adopted three younger boys from the foster care system I happily became the middle child.

Were they also homeschooled? Yes.

To your knowledge would they or do they homeschool their children? Although I’m uncertain where my oldest brother would stand, I know for certain that the rest of the guys all have a heart for home education and will definitely continue the legacy when they have kids of their own.

Did you get your GED or graduate (if you graduated was it a homeschool graduation or through an organization?) At what age did you graduate? I was 17 when I graduated and received a very handsome diploma from my parents. To make the day extra special, my close friend Steven Johnston and I had a joint celebration that we planned together.

Did you go to college? No, not a bona fide college. But by volunteering through our local fire dept. I’ve been certified as a firefighter level 1 as well as an emergency medical responder (EMR). Recently, I also completed the test for a class B commercial driver’s license.

Did homeschooling allow you to accomplish something or participate in something public schoolers wouldn’t be able to? Since my Dad has owned his own business for some time, the greatest opportunity I received was learning the meaning of an arduous day’s work and seeing my Dad serve his customers and gain their respect. Operating all kinds of tools and equipment was another benefit that flowed naturally out of that. Home education gave me the flexibility to travel during the school year and yet not fall behind. A couple of examples would be; when I was 15, I went to Southern Mexico with a team of local people to help build a bible school. And when I was 16, I traveled to Northern Washington to help lead a pro-life outreach on a university campus. Wonderful experiences. Really, I’ve been so exceedingly blessed.

What do you see as the advantages of being homeschooled? Any Christian family who has been homeschooling for awhile could probably tell you that the heart of education is discipleship. Over and over and over again in the book of Proverbs we see variations of the phrase “My son, give ear to my understanding…” It’s through the prayerful ( and sometimes painful ) years of pouring themselves into their children that parents win their hearts and raise them up to love the Lord. In regards to academics, schooling at home gives you immense amounts of flexibility as a parent. Where children excel naturally, it’s easy to spur them on and not be hindered by an age and a grade that are out of proportion. And when a child struggles, the parent can either focus more one-on-one time with them or, if necessary, call in someone else who’s more skilled in instructing that particular subject. Overall, you’re given the freedom to see that your children are getting their individual needs met in just the right way.

What do you see as the disadvantages of being homeschooled, if any? For myself, I look back and realize that there were some subjects where I simply didn’t push myself to excellence and I’m afraid only laziness is to blame for that. It’s easy for parents to get busy and let their kids (especially older kids) go through their day’s work basically on their own. Normally, this works marvelously! However, if a young person lacks motivation (or diligence in my case) it can lead to doing work that’s sloppy and just-the-bare-minimum-to-get-by.

Were you lonely as a child or did you feel deprived by being homeschooled? Oh goodness, no! In fact, I usually respond to the old “socialization question” with a chuckle, “If I had any more friends… my parents would’ve probably gone insane.” Seriously, though, regardless of where a child gets their education, it seems to me that they’re only as socially gifted as their parents teach them to be. The “socially deprived homeschooler” is simply a grossly erroneous perception.

Would you change something about your homeschool experience? If so, what? Regrettably, it wasn’t ’til I was high school aged that I started pursuing deep and honest conversations with my parents about what it meant to be created in God’s image and how he made our beautifully designed bodies to work. Puberty made no sense to me and I didn’t understand why all these changes were taking place. ( You see, my Grandfather was a very quiet man and never taught his sons how one is to grow up and honor the Lord as a masculine creature. And, In turn, that’s something that my Dad never instructed me in either.) As Dad and I talk now and look back on those days, I believe there were many foolish, emotional mistakes I could have avoided had those lessons started happening earlier.

The only other bleak spot in my (otherwise blessed and absolutely fantastic) time as a homeschooled student was what I alluded to earlier. At times, I know that I squeaked my way through a class, not really pushing myself to learn, but apathetically doing just enough to get a decent grade. I needed to be reminded that especially in schoolwork the principle of Col. 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” Yep, that also includes arithmetic.


Stay tuned for more interviews in the future.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

interview with a homeschool graduate

An Interview with a Homeschool Graduate No. 2

In 2012, I was writing for local homeschool newsletters. This was one of the most enjoyable articles I wrote. It is a series of interviews with homeschool graduates. Although five years have passed and some things have changed, I am leaving these in their original condition.

In this edition, I am proud to bring you an interview with my husband’s youngest brother, David. I have had the privilege of knowing David since he was seven years old.

He is currently enrolled in Pensacola Christian College, Florida and is planning to go into the ministry.


Interview with David

What year did you begin homeschooling? in kindergarten (1996).

What curriculum did you use? Was there a particular curriculum that you found worked better for you than another? We mostly used Abeka with some Bob Jones and Saxon math Abeka was the best curriculum by far. I really struggled with English, but when we switched to Abeka in 9th grade it really made a difference.

Did you experience resistance from family or friends about your family’s choice to homeschool? there was some hostility from some family members, but that was about it. The were a few people here and there who were intrigued that I was home schooled.

What was your favorite course or class? probably a toss up between history and speech.

What other activities were you involved with: church, ministry, co-ops, homeschool groups, community groups, sports, etc.? I was involved in Karate for many years, football, and roller hockey. In high school, I did Sound Jubilee. Our family did a co-op biology and a speech co-op (which has proved to be invaluable to me).

Did you get your GED or graduate (if you graduated was it a homeschool graduation or through an organization?) I got my GED when I finished 10th grade and then attended Chemeketa. After a while there, I transferred to Pensacola.

Did homeschooling allow you to accomplish something or participate in something public schoolers wouldn’t be able to? What do you see as the advantages of being homeschooled?What do you see as the disadvantages of being homeschooled, if any? Did you feel deprived by being homeschooled? Probably one of the biggest advantages of being home schooled was that I could help my Dad [in his family business] whenever he needed it. Disadvantages would be that you don’t see your friends all the time, which can be an advantage depending on your friends. Also I think it helps develop certain good things like finding ways to entertain yourself, and it brings the family closer together. As far as being deprived– I don’t think so. It made church a better place to go because I was looking forward to seeing friends. I had friends around, and I could and did do things with them often.

Would you change something about your homeschool experience? If so, what? I would have put more emphasis on English, and writing. that was probably my biggest hurdle going into Chemeketa, but I was able to get over it. being able to articulate, and argue well through writing helps out in more ways than I ever imagined.


I have a more interviews coming in the future, so keep your eye open for them.

I hope these encourage you that homeschooling works –even through high school.

Between my and my husband’s parents, they graduated eight homeschoolers.

All of us have attended college or some kind of continuing education. We are all well-adjusted adults, walking with the Lord.

Our careers include one engineer, two tradesmen (both of whom also have associates degrees in Biblical Studies), one healthcare worker (I can’t remember her official title), two computer technicians, one author (me), and one pastor (in seminary as of this post).

Homeschooling works!

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

PS Click here for all homeschool graduate interviews.

interview with a homeschool graduate

An Interview with a Homeschool Graduate, No. 1

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!

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes