Memories Of My (mostly) Homeschooled Days

in #ramblewrite2 years ago (edited)

Author's note: I don't want to be constantly cross-posting the same content on both Hive and Steem, but the latest censorship efforts at Steemit Inc. make this a necessary precaution. Thus, I am copying in my Memories Of My (mostly) Homeschooled Days here as well. When it comes to Justin Sun, I haven't exactly kept my thoughts to myself. However, I thought I may as well participate in the new challenge announced in the latest steemitblog post since I don't want to fight the community concept, just its usurpers and the lapdogs at the witness and administration level.

I don't really remember my earliest education. My parents, and my mother especially, were always teaching me long before I entered any formal structured education process. I remember wanting to know what that yellow-haired kid and his tiger were doing in the Sunday Funnies, so my the time I was approaching kindergarten age, I had already begun learning to read.

My parents decided to home-school me early on. In the late 1980s, the choices were limited. Fortunately, my cousins were also being home-schooled, and since they were a few years older than me, my aunt had some useful tips for my mother. I think early on, all my materials were from Bob Jones University Press. However, my home-schooling was briefly interrupted after a move partway through second grade.

My first prison sentence public school experience was Mr. Johnson's second grade class at [school redacted]. It was actually held in the sunday school classrooms of a local church, because the school building was overcrowded, and while construction was under way for a new middle school, there was no way to shoehorn everyone into their existing facilities that year. Every lunch hour, buses came to the church to load us all up for a short ride to the school cafeteria. It wasn't too bad, but I noticed early on that my classes felt a bit repetitive. I was already ahead of my peers in most academic subjects. It was fun to have art and music classes in a school setting, though.

It is also worth noting that my earliest recollection of politics was around this time when Bush Sr. and Clinton were running for office. I recall my conservative-leaning family's disappointment at Clinton's victory, although I can't say whether they felt any special affection for Bush.

Third grade was a return to home-schooling. This may have been when A Beka materials were first introduced to the curriculum. This also revealed a stark contrast between the time it took me to learn at home versus the time it took to slog though the mandated public school schedule. Working at my own pace without being subjected to the arbitrary dictates of the hourly bells was a revelation. It may have been the first spark of the thought that government bureaucracies may not actually know what is best for me.

My mother's health led to my second incarceration public school enrollment, this time for the entirety of the 4th grade. This was not a good experience. While the overcrowding had been addressed by the new middle school, I was in a classroom full of out-of-town kids who were sent to our district because of overcrowding in theirs. I was the new kid in a classroom of exiles, which made me a sort of double-exile. I made a couple friends, though, and this led to another experience with misguided authority. While on the bus, one monkey-brained bully was hurling epithets at one of these new friends, including the term 'ni - - er.' It should be noted that this was a rural midwestern school where 99% of the population was of northern European descent, and no one on the bus was outside that demographic. Racism did exist, but it was largely directed at migrant Hispanic farmer laborers, so I have no idea why this kid chose that term. I'm not even sure I knew exactly what it meant or its historical context. All I could recognize was the intent. At any rate, I decided to stand up for my friend, and I replied to the bully, "He's not a ni - - er." And apparently my response was reported to the principal as the abusive language. I explained my case, and wasn't punished, but the injustice of it rankled. I couldn't even identify who had said the insulting things. I knew that justice could be misguided and authority mistaken, though. That may be the most valuable lesson that year.

I shouldn't make it sound all bad, though. I have nothing against my teacher that year, and he introduced me to many excellent books. Of course, I hated the class reading because most of my fellow pupils couldn't read very well, and it was sheer torture to wait while they plodded through sentences until my turn would roll around. So I read at my own pace while keeping an ear open for my cue to flip back to my sentence so I could read it out loud in turn when the time came. We also created some fun art had had some simple hands-on science lab projects.

From the 5th grade on, I was home-schooled. My younger sister was also being home-schooled, and she was quite the attention sponge, so more and more, I had to be self-directed. We were definitely using A Beka materials by this time, and we eventually settled on Saxon Math. Over the years, I took more and more responsibility in selecting my own curriculum from book catalogs and home school book swap events. This continued when we moved west. We continued home-schooling from the apartment my parents rented while we looked for a new home, and then worked though our books during the move to that new home they eventually chose and through the slow process of remodeling and unpacking.

It was at this new home where we met many other home-schoolers The skating rink the nearest major town was the site of monthly home-schooler meetings where kids could get some exercise and have fun while the parents discussed whatever parents discussed. We didn't care. We were skating! I had a neat pair of rollerblades, and became, well, not proficient, but semi-competent. I didn't fall much, I could dodge around the little kids pretty well, and I could go reasonably fast. What more could you ask for? If you don't know what a roller skating rink was, check out this music video shot in a very familiar-looking environment.

I also joined the local chapter of the Young Marines as a result of this home-schooling group. I have mixed feelings about that organization. A lot of the activities were fun, but the military structure chafed my soul. It was also at this time I really noticed my undiagnosed health problems. Weekly meetings and exercise left me so drained that I could hardly recover by the time the next week's meeting came around. Chronic fatigue is a bitch and a half. You can't power through something that drains you like that. Eventually, this was diagnosed as a thyroid disease, and treatment helped to an extent. But only to an extent.

As we were planning my senior curriculum, one of my friends mentioned that he would be attending the local community college as a dual-enrolled student. that seemed like a much more interesting idea than putting together a 12th grade curriculum. I took their entrance exam and tested out of English 101 and 102 entirely, It also suggested I was ready to dive into Calculus I. I elected instead to take Pre-Calculus, because I didn't feel confident enough in my Algebra and Trigonometry. That class essentially blended college algebra and trig into a single busy semester. It was worthwhile. However, the next semester, Calc I did not go well. The professor assumed everyone had already taken high school calculus, and did a terrible job explaining concepts to those of us who had not been introduced to them at all. I stuck it out through the semester even though most of the class dropped out. Apparently I wasn't the only one having a rough go of it then. There may have been about six of us left for the final. I still only managed a D.

The next academic year, I re-took the class under a different professor, and of course I had to buy the next edition of the textbook because that publishing sector a racket. It went far better, and I passed with a solid B. Good enough. But that is getting beyond my story, since I wasn't partially a high-schooler anymore by then. I eventually graduated with an Associates Degree in drafting, and entered a career of architectural drafting shortly before the housing bubble burst in 2008. That event led to my exploration of economics and politics, which eventually led me to exploring philosophical anarchism and market economics. I also eventually returned to the same school for further study of mechanical drafting and design. But those stories are for another day.


Sounds like you were a good kid making your parents' life easy doing all your bookwork XD All my kids hate bookwork so I've been having to muddle around making sure we have everything covered x_x because we're in soft lockdown and can't do our normal things I've set them an assignment to make sure the IEPs I've got for them are still relevant/accurate and it's like pulling teeth with my boys XD

I'm guessing from your choice of language you didn't particularly enjoy school? :)

It's a bit uncomfortable over on the other side atm isn't it :S

I just had the inclination to academics. I can't say the same for my siblings though.

Did you enjoy being homeschooled and did you find it a hurdle to go back in the system afterward?

I definitely preferred the homeschooling experience. I think the self-directed nature it eventually took helped prepare me for college, too, since the prof isn't there to hold your hand and spoon-feed you.

It's really interesting to read about the homeschooling experience from the student side.

The description of your time with the first calc prof reminds me of my German A level class. I think there were only a couple of us who actually completed it in the end and barely passed, with an E.

I don't know how your letter grades work. At my college, an A, B, or C were passing grades in descending order. D grades overall in a class were not sufficient to proceed to the next level of coursework. An F was a complete failure.

what a struggle full life you had

More struggles than some. Less struggles than others.