Personal Reflections on my Home School Education
Hannah Mead, Division 2, 12th grade #ws18e-s3d2

I have never spent a day of my education in a classroom. You see, for the past fourteen years I’ve had the privilege of being home schooled. So I’m not what you would call a normal high schooler. I don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn to get on a school bus, I just have to wake up in time to clean my room before breakfast. I’m not immersed in a culture that views learning as a necessary evil, instead I have been taught that learning is a privilege and a joy. For me, home schooling has been one of the best experiences of my life. But looking back, is there anything I would change to make my educational experience better?

Perhaps my education has been stunted because of a lack of resources? No, actually not. My parents have made it a priority to always provide the best books, equipment and resources they could afford for my education. As a result, I have my own personal library of hundreds of books that fills an entire wall, the majority of which I have read and formed relationships with. I have my own personal microscope that lives in my garage, ready to be pulled out whenever I have need to investigate the microscopic world. I have a wealth of experiences that can be recalled to memory – visits to museums, animal parks and historic buildings to learn about history and science and the world I live in. So there certainly has been no lack of resources to hinder my education experience. In fact, I would say that being home schooled has opened a whole world through books and experiences.

So perhaps my education would’ve been better had I had a whole teaching staff ready to help me? I would disagree. My mom has been my primary teacher for the past fourteen years of my education, and it has been an absolute joy. Imagine having a deep relationship with a teacher who has personal interest in you and in making that sure you have the best education possible. That has been my experience. Learning from and alongside my mom has deepened and enriched my education in incredibly personal way.

Maybe my education would’ve been better had it been more tailored to my personal needs? Well I don’t know how it could’ve been more personally tailored! You see, my mom knows me better than most people in the world, and as my teacher she has a huge personal investment in my life. She knows what my strengths and weaknesses are, and so over the years she has been able to tailor my education specifically for me. For example, one of my strongest subjects is English, but I don’t get along particularly well with science. Because my Mom knew this, she was able to enrol me in honors English programs that helped me grow in my English skills. She also knew that I struggled with science, so she tailored my science courses to fit me, letting me learn at a slightly slower pace than would probably be accepted in normal high school. In doing this, she helped me thrive in learning. So even though science will never be my favourite subject, I have been able to learn it well and even enjoy it along the way!

So it must’ve been the learning ethos I was brought up with, right? Surely the learning ethos in an organized school would be better than whatever could be conjured up for a one-person home school class? Well, I’m not sure about that… From what I know of school, the environment there is often incredibly difficult to be in. The focus is largely on appearance and social status, and a love for learning is often something that is disdained. My view of learning has been entirely different for the entirety of my years in education. I’ve been taught that learning is a gift and that to embrace learning is a wise thing to do. I have been pushed to excel in every area I possibly can, but I have also been extended grace when I haven’t been able to succeed in every area. In short, my learning ethos has been one of incredible support and positivity. I have been surrounded by the people that love me the most during my education, and they have given me the gift of delighting in learning.

What then, could make my education better? I believe that I have had one of the best educations a person could want, in terms of resources available, teaching, education and learning ethos. But as I look back on my education, there is one thing that I believe could have made my experience better. And what is that one thing? Me.

Personal attitude really can make or break an education. As I look back on my education experience, I have to say that I regret the times that I had a bad attitude about learning. I regret all the time I wasted on social media or browsing YouTube when I should’ve been working. I regret all the times I didn’t bother learning because I was too tired, bored, or uninterested. I regret the times that my lack of diligence had a negative impact on my learning experience. It doesn’t matter how good your education is – if your attitude stinks, your experience probably will too. Speaking from personal experience, I know this to be very true.

I am incredibly grateful to have received the education I did. I honestly do not think that there is anything that could have been done to make my education better, except for improving my personal work ethic and attitude. Because, when it comes down to it, it’s not the resources available or teachers that make or break the education system. No, it is you and me. It is your attitude and my work ethic that is going to decide whether our education is one filled with negative or positive experiences.
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