If you’ve been following along here for a while, you probably know at this point that I was homeschooled. When we started out, it was not really a thing that people did. My brother went to a Catholic school for kindergarten, learned something on the bus my dad didn’t like, and next thing you know, we were homeschooling. Something you should probably know, us Franers, well we’re nothing if not decisive. Because of that decision, my first time sitting in a classroom was day 1 of my Freshman year of college. While it’s not for everybody, I absolutely loved it…most of the time. So buckle up kids, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly, according to me!
By now, I’m used to all of the typical homeschool kid questions…when you go to the grocery at 10am and everyone wants to know “what holiday it is that you’re off of school,” or, “what musical instrument do you play,” or when someone asks, “do you do your schoolwork in your pjs?” Ok, how about we just start off with a disclaimer, everyone homeschools differently. There are probably people who did schoolwork in their pjs and are proficient in the oboe. Nothing wrong with that. However…my parents preferred to run our household just a TINY bit differently.
Different as in…we got up at 5am everyday for daily Mass. We wore uniforms, because what you wear affects your attitude towards your task. We memorized quotes from Aristotle and recited them for our Mom every morning. We took schoolwork in the car, and sometimes took “field trips” to appointments with my Dad. Probably should have payed a little more attention, maybe some of that financial planning would have rubbed off ;) My oldest nephew knew Latin words by the time he was 2 from hanging out in our classroom. My brother read Lord of the Rings like 16 times by the time he was 12.
Ok, so reading that back, I get that it sounds just a teeny tiny bit crazy…but we honestly had SO much fun. When we were little, my mom would “pack” snacks for our lunch, and we would sit in the classroom eating them while she read aloud to us. We were able to finish our schoolwork by noon each day because there was no waiting on anyone else. We played sports and did all the things during the day while everyone else was in school, and it was cheaper and less crowded. Sometimes we drove my Mom crazy, (Sorry Mom!!) but sometimes, on nice days, we had “field days,” and created obstacle courses and rode our bikes and just generally were raised how I imagine cage free chickens to be, minus the awkward slaughtering part at the end.
Contrary to popular belief, we did NOT live under a rock, we played sports, listened to music and had friends. Were we different? Honestly, yes. And I would still consider myself “different.” But here’s why I’m not mad about that.
1) My brother and I grew up as best friends. We are very different people, but I know he has my back, always.
2) I learned to work independently. I actually feel that college was easier for me in this regard, since it is mostly problem solving/independent work.
3) I learned to love reading. My brother has me beat in this regard, and he also remembers everything he reads, and is also just generally smarter than me all the way around, but regardless…I do love reading.
4) My parents were able to give us a strong foundation in what they believed. They also encouraged us to think for ourselves. When college rolled around, and it was time for me to really decide what was important to me for myself, I had the building blocks to do it. As I get older, I appreciate this foundation so much.
5) Besides my brother, my best friends were two brothers. The four of us were always together. We were different ages, 3 boys and 1 girl, none of that mattered. We were just the four musketeers. They didn’t shut me out of things because I was a girl, and I grew up literally not caring about makeup, or worrying about my weight, or any of that because, well, zero peer pressure. While some of that changed through natural progression a bit in high school, the foundation was already there.
6) I got to spend tons of time with my sister’s kids when they were little, and honestly, even now, that’s been one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I am NOT saying that you can’t get all of these things in school. And for some people, homeschooling simply isn’t feasible or appealing. But for us, it worked, and I loved it. Now I’m just waiting for that point in my life when the, “wow, you’re so well adjusted for a homeschooler!” comments stop ;)