I am not the only one my age that feels this way: I hated virtual school with a passion. So, here I am, a 7th grade homeschooler who is not only following an academic curriculum, but also learning to run a small business. After a year and a half of a chaotic learning environment, I decided on a completely new path; an unusual path. Luckily, my parents were able to adjust their days to accommodate this and thus began our adventure.
Homeschooling is a type of learning that may be a bit uncommon, but provides, in my opinion, a better format and environment for the learning experience. Homeschooling opens up infinite possibilities, especially in New Jersey, where you don’t have to follow any real guidelines, though we are loosely following the curriculum of my former private school. Parents and students can really explore whatever skills they feel are necessary to grow, at any speed that suits them, as they are not restricted by a rigid lesson plan or set schedule. Instead of sitting at a desk for 7 hours straight, lessons go by in a fraction of the time. This leaves more opportunity for greater development and mentally feels much better. I can go through a lesson anywhere, at any time of the day, while moving or dancing or tossing a ball. Some days we do an Italian lesson on the couch after dinner or a Latin lesson while cuddling with our foster kittens. Learning occurs at every step of the way.
Even though it's flexible, homeschool does still take up a good portion of the day, which makes it difficult for my mom to run her small business, Deep Breath In, making and selling soaps, deodorant, salves, balms; all sorts of natural body products (deepbreathin.com). Apologies for the shameless plug. Originally she thought she would have to pause her business but instead we incorporated it into my lessons: introduction to free market capitalism and economics is one of the more crucial things a child should be learning if we are preparing for an adult life. In order to have the full experience, I am involved in all parts of the business from product development, to sourcing materials, to manufacturing, marketing, web design, bookkeeping and everything in between. And I get to keep 50% of the profits!
I’ve experienced public school, I’ve experienced private school and I can say I fully recommend homeschooling as a better option. I feel as if traditional schooling has become distorted over time and kids aren't learning what they need to succeed. School’s main purpose is to prepare you for life, and I personally think homeschooling does a better job. Of course, it may not work for everyone, but over the past 3 months, I have explored so many different topics, learned so much and I have even helped my peers with their homework! I'm not sure if I'll return to traditional school next year yet. It will certainly be difficult to adjust if I do.
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