Greetings from Michigan! It’s a long way from here to Lexington, but I promise I have a SHIELD connection – I was homeschooled in Lexington for twelve years and my parents were members of SHIELD from the very beginning. I’ve now graduated from both homeschool and college and moved to Michigan to work full-time doing marketing for a local business.
I wanted to write a little bit about a practical benefit I gained from being homeschooled. It’s not a commonly-cited benefit (as far as I’ve heard), but it’s made quite a difference to me in the time since I graduated homeschool. It’s the benefit of knowing how to set your own work and keep yourself on task when you’re the one who’s decided what the task is.
To be honest, in high school I didn’t appreciate my mother’s insistence that I take responsibility for scheduling my daily work. She still set the due dates, but she wouldn’t tell me each day what to do in order to meet those deadlines. Since my self-discipline skills weren’t perfect, I didn’t always get things done on time. Eventually, that resulted in my spending the summer after 11th grade finishing up chemistry, math, and foreign language classes rather than getting a break. But I made that mistake and learned that lesson in high school rather than college because our system of educating gave the teacher, my mom, the ability to hand over some of the work to me and make me responsible for my own schedule.
It’s true that high school students in public or private schools are also responsible for setting their own schedule to finish homework on time. But there’s a world of difference between having a full class schedule every day, as in traditional K-12 schools, and having a schedule of classes on certain days and not on others, as in college. Here again, homeschooling helped make the transition to college a lot easier for me. I took classes at the Midlands Homeschool Resource Center throughout high school, so I was already used to a college-like system of attending class two or three times a week and then working on homework and long-term projects independently. College classes gave more work, but the system was already familiar.
This flexibility and enforced self-scheduling has even helped me in my new job – my company’s culture is such that as long as I work my forty hours and get things done on time, I have very broad discretion about how I allocate my time. I’m responsible for knowing what needs to be done, and making the plan for how to get them done. That much independence might be intimidating to some, but I love it because it’s the way I’ve grown accustomed to working. And I credit homeschooling in large measure with giving me the skills to be able to work well in such an environment.
So if you ever wonder whether homeschooling actually equips people for the “real world” of college and the workplace, I would say it definitely does. Granted, not every company is as free from micromanagement as mine; I am quite blessed in that regard. But I think my broader point – that homeschooling can give students not just the knowledge they need to enter college but also the work habits and skills that will serve them in college and beyond – still stands. I pray these examples can be of encouragement to you as you undertake another year of teaching or learning at home.