I was traditionally public schooled until eighth grade when I decided that I’d had enough of sitting in class for eight hours a day being taught semi-irrelevant information in a grossly ineffective manner. I was tired of memorizing facts just long enough to do well on the test and then never using the information again. I wanted to get inside the heads of the philosophers. I wanted to explore the parallels between modern America and Rome. Not only did I want to truly get an education, I wanted to learn more and do it faster. I am graduating high school this year, two years ahead of my peers.
This process wasn’t and still isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Convincing my parents was the first, and arguably hardest, step. I developed a long term plan; presenting the pros and cons of both schooling systems. I researched the legality and other technicalities. After presenting my parents with the facts and figures, I pulled out the personal stuff: I was bored, unchallenged, and generally unsatisfied with traveling along the conveyor belt passively absorbing information. After a number of discussions and much research, they finally allowed it. I was out of school the next week and started putting together my curriculum the week after that.
I tried many different curricula over the past couple of years, and after substantial trial and error, I finally have a system. I use Khan Academy for all of my math and science courses and I use the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum for history. Weekly, I am reading one classic and writing a piece on it for English (which I will be publishing on here in addition to my regular posts). In addition to my core classes, I am gearing up to start a teen entrepreneurship course done by Praxis http://discoverpraxis.com/ .
Another important aspect of my education is that school I do through a curriculum takes up far less time than my other projects. Launching various websites, publishing fiction online , reading books and watching lectures on every topic that piques my interest take up the majority of my time.
I handle my day to day schedule one hundred percent. My core class courses are chosen in collaboration with my parents, with other “extra” courses handled and chosen by me. This arrangement has taught me an immeasurable amount of responsibility. My parents receive an update on what I’ve done weekly. Although I’ve failed more times than I care to admit; I’ve learned and grown from those experiences.
Not only have I learned responsibility but I’ve been able to explore and develop my interests. Some interests I have now would never have even crossed my mind if I had been in a traditional school setting. Podcasting is something that I have taken an interest in this past year that I wouldn’t have even considered before. Entrepreneurship is another idea that I had never thought twice about before stumbling across a business course, which in turn led to my attending a FEE seminar this past June. (A topic that will be covered in tomorrow’s post). These experiences have given me a more stable foundation to base my values and goals on. I feel my traditionally schooled friends are missing the ability to explore what truly interests them inside the boundaries of public school and may have no idea what they truly want to do with their lives.
In summary, being self-schooled is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
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