Interview with a Homeschool Graduate: Morgan
It’s been awhile since I’ve done an interview with a homeschool graduate, but I think you’ll find that this interview was worth the wait. Today, I’m talking to Morgan, who was homeschooled from Kindergarten through high school. As an education major in college, Morgan offers a unique perspective on the differences between a public school and a homeschool education.
WUHS: Morgan, you’re the first homeschool grad that I’ve interviewed who was homeschooled from K-12. Can you tell us a bit about your family’s homeschool?
Morgan: Our homeschooling style really evolved over the years. In general, we were the “at the kitchen table” type homeschoolers. We never had a room devoted to homeschooling, as much as my mother would have loved one. For the most part we worked out of textbooks, although we did have a run with Sonlight Curriculum when I was in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, I believe.
When I was in 7th grade, we joined a homeschool co-op. This was truly a Godsend for us. My parents felt they couldn’t deal with the higher-level math and science on their own and planned to send me (with my younger sister to follow) to school. The co-op ended up drastically expanding the next year, and paid teachers were hired to teach math, science, English, and foreign languages classes, twice a week. Because of that we were able to stick with homeschooling, and I loved the experience.
WUHS: I know that you’re going into your senior year of college as an education major. What made you decide to pursue a career in public education?
Morgan: There is a reason the tag line on my blog ends with “what was I thinking?” I had always considered being a teacher as a child, but even as a high school senior, I wasn’t sure. I decided to take the intro to teaching class my freshman year, and the rest is history.
I love kids, and I love teaching and learning, so it seemed like a good match. Although, I’m not going to lie, now that I have the knowledge that I do about teaching and the education system, I’m not 100% sure I would have gone back and picked it. But I still, believe it will be a career I will enjoy and find rewarding. Other deciding factors were also that I would always be guaranteed a job somewhere, and if needed, it would be a career that would work well with kids (having holidays, summers off, etc.)
WUH: Do you feel that you were prepared, academically and socially, for college after having been homeschooled exclusively?
Morgan: Yes, absolutely! I honestly feel that I probably was more prepared than most of my public school peers. I was very used to working and thinking on my own and being responsible for myself, which I noticed many fellow students struggle with. I feel that the curriculum used in schools is really watered down, and even the challenging stuff, isn’t stuff that I think I would consider challenging. Students also get really used to people “holding their hands” a lot throughout their educational experience, and really struggle thinking and doing on their own. This is something I have seen over and over throughout college.
One thing that I believe speaks volumes to my homeschool experience is that I am ADHD and Dyslexic and have been able to stay on the Dean’s List throughout my entire college career (6 semesters, and you must maintain a 3.5 with 12+ credits, my typical load was 15-18 credits). I wasn’t diagnosed until the winter of my freshman year in college and if it wasn’t for a very random chain of events, I probably would have never been diagnosed at all.
All of this, I believe, goes back to my homeschool experience. I grew up having to be, often, responsible for my own learning, and I didn’t grow up in school where I constantly had people make excuses for me (I’ve seen this quite often sadly). Honestly, I’d be quite scared to know where I would be now if I had attended school instead.
WUHS: How has your college experience affected your views on homeschooling and public education?
Morgan: I wouldn’t say college itself has really been a factor, more the internship experiences I’ve had through my major. When I went into education I always told people, “oh yeah, if I work in a good public school, I’ll just send my kids there.” Little did I know, there is no such thing. Now that I have worked in various public schools, from high scoring schools, to rough city schools, and in between, I know that I will never trust the public education system with educating my children.
When you delve deeper, you discover that our public education system is really all about politics, and no one is truly all that concerned with the kids. It’s all about funding, and test score bonuses, and the Republicans vs. the Democrats. It’s also anything but a wholesome education, very, very little science is taught, and probably no true history (at least in Maryland), and half the day is spent telling students to pay attention, stop talking, and turn the page, over and over again. Personally I find it incredibly sad that we, as a society, have been “tricked” into thinking that our public schools offer the best education possible.
WUHS: Have the reactions from college professors and fellow students been generally positive or negative when they find out you were homeschooled?
Morgan: In general, I’ve found people to be fairly naïve, and for most I’m the first homeschooler they have meet, so it’s usually up to me to be the one to break the stereotype. I’ve gotten pretty mixed responses, some people think it’s great, and others wonder why anyone would do that to their child. I think kids in the 10 and under bracket will have it much easier, as hopefully, those my age and those currently in high school, will have already broken the barrier. Plus, there are a lot more homeschoolers now, than there was even when I was homeschooled, and the number are only growing.
My favorite response was from a fellow classmate, who when I said something about both my boyfriend and I being homeschooled K-12, and that we started dating our senior year of high school, she paused, looked at me very puzzled, and went, “But wait, if you were both homeschooled, then how did you meet?” I had to work really, really hard to hold back the laughter.
WUHS: That’s funny – the whole “you must have been locked away since you were homeschooled” mentality. I know that homeschool moms love to talk curriculum. Does any particular book/curriculum stand out in your mind as having been especially effective or enjoyable?
Morgan: I loved the Mind Benders books from the Critical Thinking Co. Being able to think critically is really important, and something that the public school curriculum really lacks. Just a few minutes a day and you will give your kids a huge advantage! (And if you want to know, I have a couple of those books sitting next to me right now, and my boyfriend and I still love doing them, just for fun.)
WUHS: One last question, if you could give homeschooling parents any one piece of advice or word of encouragement, what would it be?
Morgan: Don’t feel that you are under-qualified to teach your kids, because you’re not. You’re qualified just because they are your kids (not the government’s) but also because it really doesn’t take a 4-year degree to be able to teach, as much as everyone will try to convince you otherwise.
WUHS: That’s good to hear. I’ve heard that from several friends who teach or have taught in a public school setting, but it definitely bears repeating because homeschool moms so often buy into the lie that we’re not qualified.
I really appreciate Morgan taking the time to answer some questions for us about her homeschool experience and allowing us to see a public school education through the eyes of a homeschool graduate. Thanks, Morgan!
This was a great interview! Thanks so very much!! This post has given me so much more confidence to homeschool my children. I have always wondered that since children are not forced to sit in a classroom for hours and hours when they are homeschooled if they will be able to handle college. I never thought about the fact that while being homeschooled they are taught how to be responsible for their own learning and to be self driven.
Great interview!! I love that she homeschooled then went on to the inner workings of public school. Great perspective.
ITA with the history statement. I grew up in Maryland. History was my favorite subject (so I paid attention) and I feel I was rather shortchanged.
Fantastic interview! Thanks for sharing!
I love it! I feel very encouraged right now that I am doing the right thing. Oh! We like the Mind Benders too. 🙂
I really loved reading this article! Thanks for sharing!
I agreed with many things about teaching in a public school, having my own B.A. and Masters both in Education (elementary & special ed). I actually haven't been teaching (outside the home) in several years, but just went through a bag of stuff last week with my old teaching stuff in it. I seriously almost got hives because the politics of it made me so stressed (just looking through it!).
There is so much time wasted everyday in the public schools. I think that some schools can be good, but I still think that when you look at how long the kids are there all day, the percentage of actual instructional time is so low.
I recently made the decision to not go through taking 6 credits of college courses to renew my teaching license. I realized that there isn't really anything that would make me go back.
Intriguing interview. I love that she can share her perspective both as a HS grad and a student teacher in the public schools.
Wow, Kris, I loved this interview! My daughter just completed her junior year. Her experience sounds much like Morgan's. When I first started out, I wondered if I could actually homeschool all the way through (we started with pre-school!). With tutorial classes similar to what Morgan mentioned, we have even gotten through Saxon Advanced Math!
Homeschooling is so dear to my heart and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to do it with my 4 daughters. We just graduated our last "student" and will miss homeschooling. She wasn't always sure, but now that she is done with her high school and will be going on to college in the fall, she is so glad we homeschooled her. She can see the difference in herself and the other kids she works with at a local restaurant. I knew the difference was there, but it took her awhile to see it. Homeschooling is so worth any sacrifice our family had to make. Great post!
Thank you for this! I'm considering homeschooling and a lot of what Morgan said helped me a lot. Thank you Thank you!