My Life as a Home-Educated Student: Exposed
by Megan Frame
As I approached my high school graduation, I began to realize that many people wondered how I would adjust to life and whether I would come to resent being homeschooled. Some people were curious, others genuinely worried. To be honest, I don’t blame them at all for their concern. Homeschooling isn’t really the norm and can seem intimidating if you aren’t familiar with how it works. Now that I am graduating and a new chapter in post-homeschooling is beginning, I would like to shed some light on the past thirteen-plus years of my life. I want to make it clear from the beginning that while I hope this encourages some to consider homeschooling their own children, this is also intended to bring glory to my Savior, Jesus Christ, because it is by His Grace alone that “I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
My name is Megan, and I am almost eighteen years old. My parents began homeschooling me before kindergarten, so I have been homeschooled all the way through. I am a first-generation homeschooler – meaning both of my parents went through the public school system. It was a hard decision for my parents to begin homeschooling me. The only homeschoolers they knew were my mom’s brother and his wife.
My parents never even considered homeschooling as an option until I was three years old. They began wrestling with the idea, and after a lot of research, hours of prayer, and sleepless nights, my parents said they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was calling them to homeschool.
So began a thirteen-year journey of home education.
During the course of my homeschooling experience, many people had concerns. The top three were usually making sure I was “socialized,” wondering how I would have an impact, and fearing I would miss out on the “high-school experience”—sometimes all of the above. Now that I am graduating and looking back, I will try to explain my personal feelings about all three.
A common misconception is that homeschoolers will miss out on being socialized. However, being homeschooled gave me a wonderful opportunity to interact with people of all ages, not just my own age group. Sure, I had plenty of friends my own age (and still do), but my parents were also very intentional to help me desire and pursue friendships with people of all ages. As a result, I have learned many life lessons and words of wisdom from the older and wiser friends I have made, and I have meaningful relationships with numerous kids younger than me.
It really is not a question of whether kids will be socialized, but rather by whom they will be socialized and whom they will learn to imitate. I did not really need a group of thirteen-year-olds to teach me how to be a teenager – when the time came, I already had that down pretty well. What I needed most were older, mature adults to imitate, and for them to teach me how to develop mature character. I am so thankful for the relationships I made during that time, and how they still continue to help me grow today.
Another concern is worrying how homeschoolers can make an impact. In turn, I will say that children always make an impact – but whether that impact is good or bad is the question. Among the many reasons people choose to homeschool, my parents’ biggest reason was so they could raise me in the fear and admonition of the Lord, building a strong foundation to stand on. They felt they could do this best if they were the ones choosing what went into my impressionable little mind from the beginning, so that one day, when they weren’t the ones choosing, I would make my own decisions based on the foundation of the Word of God they had laid under me. I am forever grateful that homeschooling has given me so many incredible opportunities to make an impact. God has allowed me to be involved in many different things.
For example, my dad got a job at the Gassaway Armory in 2013. Since homeschooling allows for flexibility, we were able to go down during work hours and take snacks to the U.S. Army personnel stationed there. As a result, we have been blessed to establish personal relationships with at least thirty-eight different active duty members of the military, as well as most of their families! We have had twenty-two of them in our home, including the highest ranking enlisted U.S. Air Force officer in West Virginia at the time! Talk about an incredible learning experience.
My parents have always emphasized the importance of being a servant, so I have been involved in the community since I was young. My mom and I have been able to serve with the program Christmas From the Heart for several years now, and, despite being homeschooled, I have even been involved in local school events. As a junior I was given the opportunity to be a speaker for an FCA meeting at Braxton County Middle School and have made many connections by volunteering at high school sporting events. Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that homeschooling has given me to impact others.
Finally, did I “miss out” in high school? First, I really am not sure what the technical definition of the “high school experience” is, but I’m pretty sure there are a variety of opinions. So did I miss out? Well, in my opinion, yes – I did miss out. But here’s how that was actually a good thing. Although I have a lot of homeschooled friends, I have almost an equal amount, if not more, friends who are in public school. Because of that, I am very well informed about the happenings and goings-on at the local high school. I hear all about the constant drama – bullying, sexual harassment, corrupt language, and teen pregnancies. Oh, and yes I had the opportunity to attend prom more than once and I politely declined. I have also been in the school more than once for events or to take a test, and my conclusions are the same every time I leave – that I am so glad I missed out on the “high school experience,” whatever that may include. No regrets here!
The Struggle is Real (but so are the benefits)
Homeschooling isn’t a perfect world. It’s hard and there are struggles. My family doesn’t always get along, and God has definitely shown us all the character qualities we lack – and in doing so made clear our need for reliance on His grace in our weakness.
However, in the midst of all the chaos, the rewards have been incredible. My parents have sought from the beginning to have my heart, and I so value my relationship with them. Along with that, I have an incredible relationship with my sister as well. As I mentioned earlier, the primary reason that my parents chose to homeschool was spiritual training, but there are innumerable other benefits that come from homeschooling. Since it makes for a flexible schedule, vacations did not have to take place during peak season (mid-September beach trips are the best), nor did field trips with our homeschool group (like going to Gritts Farm at 10:00 am on a Thursday). “Double-up” is a common homeschooler phrase that’s definition is most easily explained as “temporary freedom for future heart-ache.” As in, I could be off Tuesday for the homeschool cookie-swap, as long as I did double the school work the next day. See what I mean? People would sometimes ask whether I got snow days. Actually no, we didn’t take snow days, but that didn’t bother me. Here’s why: I was home anyway, so why would I not just go ahead and do school? We took “sun-days” instead. I would much rather take off on a pretty day in the spring!
Homeschoolers are often accused of doing school in their pajamas. I have to say, guilty as charged. To say I have never completed a full day of school in my pj’s would be a total lie… but who wouldn’t do their school in pajamas if given the chance?! Also, did I mention that since I was able to work non-stop on my school work, I was able to complete it in half the time it takes in a public school classroom? No lines, no walking from classroom to classroom or waiting on help from the teacher. It was great, and gave me more time to spend pursuing things that interested me. But then again, I was also able to work intermittently throughout the day as well. As in, I could work a few hours in the morning, take a few off in the afternoon to go fishing, and then come back and finish my work. The options were endless! My education itself was fantastic too – no need to hurry up and move on if I didn’t understand just because everyone else had. I had one-on-one tutoring the whole way through. If I did not understand my math lesson, we just took an extra few days to learn it completely, no big deal. Mom chose curriculum that fit with my learning style, and when I was older I even got to choose electives that interested me – like photography and apologetics – which made my learning experience an A+. Most importantly, we were able to choose curriculum that approached the subjects from a biblical worldview and helped me grow in my walk with the Lord.
Spiritual training is a huge benefit that comes from homeschooling. There is no doubt being raised in a Christian environment and being under the constant influence of my parents affected me. The writer of Psalms knew the impact of raising children with a strong foundation so that they could go out into the culture as warriors and trained witnesses for Jesus Christ. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:4-5). In June, I will be a legal adult. I have already started doing many things on my own, and depending on what God’s Will is for me, it might not be long before I am out from under my parents’ guidance and protection. I personally am so very thankful for the foundation they diligently worked to build under me.
My prayer and earnest desire in writing this is that my story would be an encouragement. If you are currently homeschooling, be encouraged to keep pressing on, despite the hard days – it’s worth it! If you are considering homeschooling or have never even thought of the idea, I hope that you would prayerfully consider it as an option. Homeschooling is not for everyone, and it is a decision between you and the Lord, but for me, I truly believe that I would not be who I am today without it. It’s been a long road, and I am so excited to see what the next chapter of my life will be. To God be the glory!
“You shall love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in the house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-7