I was a homeschooler. Every day of my school life, right from day one, I was taught at home with my brothers and sisters. We read Shakespeare’s plays together for fun, we read books and we studied paintings together. And honestly, I wouldn’t have gone to school if you’d given me the choice. Homeschooling was amazing fun. I couldn’t imagine anything better.
But as I got close to the end of my high school homeschooling days I started to wonder, was I going to be ready for university? Did I have the skills that I would need when I started formal learning with a set curriculum? My form of homeschooling didn’t involve textbooks and writing essays on every imaginable, boring subject under the sun. How was I going to cope? Would I be better prepared if I’d been to school?
Well, I don’t know if I’d have been better prepared if I’d been to school, but I was certainly prepared enough through homeschooling. The course I wanted to do is all online, which meant no travelling to tutorials, sitting in long lectures, and travelling on the train every day, which in my mind was great. And because it is a university course, there is no one looking over my shoulder and telling me what to do each day for my work, like a teacher would in a lesson at school.
Homeschooling is so flexible that it allows you the space to learn a lot of skills, both formal and informal. There’s time to work on writing, which is good preparation for essays, even if you’re not writing essays for your school work. For my very first NaNoWriMo I spent most of my school time just writing, because I could. I was homeschooled.
And homeschooling allowed me the space to learn how to work on my own. With so many people of different abilities, you have to go and work on your own at some point while Mum’s attention is with another sibling. And you had to work with people of different ages for some things, just like in university.
Of course, there were difficult things, like submitting assignments to a due date. In our homeschooling there had never been a need for that. And maybe I’d have been more used to that if I went to school. But, thanks to being able to work on my own, I adjusted quickly, and didn’t miss anything. And maybe not being used to submitting on a date was good for me because it meant that I knew I had to be careful not to miss the date and made me work hard so that I hit it early.
I don’t know if I’d have been better prepared for university had I gone to school, but I do know that homeschooling definitely gave me a good start. And when you’re working towards a degree you really want, like I’m working towards a degree in writing and publishing, then you’re willing to work hard to get there.