Personal Essay On Homeschooling

The following is an essay by homeschooled student Joy James Home schooling is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. Families choose to home school their children for a variety of reasons, including religious beliefs and a desire for their children to have a better education. There are many groups throughout the country that assist home schooling families by offering classes that would be difficult to take at home. Many people in this country choose to home school their children instead of sending them to public school for religious reasons. At home, the parents can choose what curricula they use in their school work, which in many cases is based on their religion. Some families home school because they found that public school was too easy. When someone home schools, the student can learn at his or her own rate. Meaning, if the particular subject is easy, the student can continue on though the course without being held back by the rest of the class. On the same note, if he or she is having trouble with a subject, the student can work on it until the subject is understood fully without having to worry about falling behind in a class. There are many stereotypes that home schoolers have to deal with. One is that home schooling is easier than public school. The majority of the time this isn’t true, because the parents push their children much harder to succeed then a public school teacher might. Another myth is that all home schoolers get to sleep in and do school in their pajamas. In truth, most home schoolers get up at the same time if not earlier than public school kids and get dressed for school just like them. Another is that they have no friends or social life. This is probably the most annoying stereotype. Home schoolers usually take several classes out and have friends at those classes, as well as church. There are many home schooling organizations throughout this state, as well as the country. Some of these organizations meet in churches and offer classes that would be difficult to take at home, like drama and chemistry lab. OCHEC, the Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation, helps home schooling families statewide and hosts a state-wide home educator’s convention every spring. Home schooled teens often take other classes besides those offered in a home schooling organization and at home. Francis Tuttle Technology Center offers their classes to home school teens, as well as public school teens, ranging from pre-engineering to carpentry. There has been recent opposition to homeschooling. California recently passed a law that makes it almost impossible to home school your children there, with criminal penalties if you try. Many parents in California are now faced with the decision of whether to move out of state to continue home schooling their children. Many feel that this is violating the parent’s right to educate their children. There are dances and graduation for home schooled students. The Class of 2009 has already started meeting this year in plans for graduation. The graduation ceremony is just about the same as public school, only it includes religion and prayers. Whether it is religious reasons or a quality of education that the parents want, home schooling is a popular alternative to public schools. Home schooled students do have friends and a social life despite what people say.
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 How to Find the
Homeschooling Advantage
in College Application Essays

I received an email from a student named Hannah who told me she was homeschooled, and that she had been advised to write about that for her college application essay.

Hannah said she was having “trouble thinking of anything unique or super meaningful” from her homeschooling experience.

I gave this some thought, and here’s what I would advise:

Homeschooling is something unique and special in itself.

And that’s a good thing.

But as an essay topic, it’s way too broad and most likely written about by a lot by other homeschooled students, so it risks being overdone already. (More than 3 percent of school age kids are home-schools; more than 1.5 million.)

I would put homeschooling in the list of topics that are often red-flagged by those in the college admissions industry because it is either cliche, or written about too often or too general.

But like some of those other red-flagged topic ideas—such as experiencing an intense personal issue, such as death, illness or injury, or an extreme background, such as being a triplet, or being raised in an extreme religion or unusual culture—these issues often cannot helped but to have defined or shaped the student in some fundamental way.

It’s almost as though you can’t help but write about that issue.

I think being taught at home, usually by a parent, falls in that category. And it’s even more relevant since you are applying to college and homeschooling addresses the essence of education and learning.

Homeschooling Can Be an Edge, But You Need to Sharpen It

Also, when you are trying to standout from other students, having a homeschooling (or “unschooling”) background already helps set you apart.

You just need to take that another step forward, and show your unique homeschooling experience and personality as well.

My advice for anyone considering writing about a red-flag topic is to make sure not to just write about that topic (“How I was homeschooled…”), but to find something specific and meaningful that happened while you were homeschooled.

Then you can use that real-life moment or incident as a platform to not only illustrate something larger about yourself or the homeschooling experience, but also to help engage and connect with the reader with a relatable story.

To give your essay about your homeschooling experience a sharp focus and make sure it reveals something specific about yourself, I would try to think of a real-life mini-story that reflects one of your defining qualifies or characteristics.

Another way to find a compelling story to share would be to think of “a time” that homeschooling was a problem for you, or that you encountered some type of problem related to your homeschooling experience.

That will make sure the moment you share was interesting and something happened, and it will also involve at least one of your defining qualities or characteristics.

The Trick is To Focus Your Topic

So those are a few ways to approach the general topic of homeschooling, and find a focus that will narrow the topic into something compelling to write about.

And your essay will be interesting to read, and also give you a place to reflect and analyze your broader experience as someone who was homeschooled.

Do you see the difference?

There’s a huge chance that being homeschooled shaped you in a fundamental way, especially how you think about the world and learn.

If you can find a specific unusual or unexpected example from your experience, and share that in your essay, it will not only help us understand you, and what you value, but also showcase your “intellectual vitality,” which colleges love.

And remember (Hannah!) that smaller experience did not need to have been momentous, impressive or dramatic. Often, the simple, everyday (mundane) moments or interactions can fuel the more effective essays.

Let’s brainstorm some examples:

How about debunking some of the myths around homeschooling?

  • Off the top of my head, I would think people think students don’t get as much socialization. Maybe write about that, and share some of the extremes your parent-teacher went to to make sure you were around other kids. Bet there are some interesting moments from those efforts.
  • Or how about that students who are homeschooled didn’t learn the “right things?” You could write your essay about the unusual types of things you learned, and how they are actually more relevant or meaningful. Start with an example of something esoteric you learned about, and go into how it turned out to be very relevant in your life.
  • Another idea. How about that homeschooled students won’t be able to learn in a traditional school environment. Was there “a time” when you had this tested? Share that experience and what you learned.
  • Some people might assume students who are homeschooled are all alike, and come from families with similar values and practices. If your family did not fit this stereotype, write about that. Start with an example of how your family is not like other homeschooling families, and share the good and bad of that experience, and what you learned.
  • Last one. What about the reason you were homeschooled in the first place. Did it involve some type of problem (bullied at old school; dyslexia; live in middle of nowhere…)? That could be a great place to start with your essay.

See! Tons of ways to write about homeschooling and find unusual or unexpected angles to share your unique experience. Like all effective college application essays, the key is to make them highly personal.

Remember, make your essay about you and something specific about your unique homeschooling experience, and not only about the virtues of homeschooling.

There’s no better way to set yourself apart from others.

And prove that yes, homeschoolers do go to college—and get into some of the best ones!







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