It might surprise you to learn that I am home-schooled. Yes, this (almost) sixteen year old does not go to a regular brick-and-mortar public high school. Homeschooling can take a lot of effort and commitment, and it is definitely not for everyone. So, for this blog post, I’ll be talking about the pros and cons of homeschooling based on my own experiences.
First of all, I’ll answer the question what is homeschooling? Everyone has a basic idea, but unless you actually experience it yourself, you don’t really have a clear understanding. For starters, while yes, I technically home-school, no, I don’t. I attend a cyber-school, which means that I do everything over the computer. I have real teachers, and the school sends out real textbooks. We have things called Livelessons which are basically a skype session with your teacher, except, she can’t see you. Think of Livelessons as a very interactive video tutorial on your lessons. They can be very helpful (what am I saying, I don’t even go to these things), but, if you seriously dislike the fact that there are sometimes up to one-hundred people in your class, you can just watch the recordings (which is what I do). So, yes, I go to school, in a sense, just not physically like the rest of you.
I’m a gifted student (I’m not bragging, this is to simply show how cyber school has benefited me) and I often had problems with my public school either not following my I.E.P or just going too slow for me. Cyber school places me in classes with other gifted students and you go at your own pace. If I get done with all my schoolwork in a ridiculously short amount of time, I can move on to tomorrow’s work and so on. I work at my own pace and I set my own boundaries. I don’t have to deal with other students complaining or misbehaving, as I am the only student, in a sense.
I live in a house where I am the oldest of six kids. Two of my siblings also cyber school, but they’re in kindergarten and first grade, so they don’t have any previous experiences to compare it too. My other two siblings do not want to cyber school because they will miss their friends. This is a con, if you see it as such. When people find out that I cyber school, their first concern is always that I don’t get enough socially. I’m not a social butterfly. I’ll talk to you, but I’ll also tell you what’s on my mind. I can be seen as rude at times because of this, but I don’t care. I’d much rather spend my nights watching South Korean music videos and reading novels than going out with friends. Another thing is that it is hard to find people in my particular area who I can really connect with. Because of my likes and hobbies, it is easier for me to connect with people online than in real life. That isn’t to say that I don’t have friends. I have friends in my Taekwondo school (if you can call a 30-something year old ahjussi, an Unni, multiple instructors, and several dongsaeng, friends). That just isn’t me. The school offers field trips and such to better connect students, but if you are someone who is seeing your friends every day, cyber school might not be for you.
My teachers are very interactive. We webmail for questions and they have phone calls, and of course you can always communicate through livelessons (you know, if you go). Our coursework is done online, but we still get physical textbooks in addition to the online ones and I take physical notes with every class. I don’t know how this works for every cyber school, but mine is like this. For PSSA’s and Keystone Exams, students will meet at a specifically set place such as a nearby hotel or conference room and these tests will be taken just like in a brick and mortar school setting. We still have to pass Keystones in order to graduate high school. I was lucky to take Algebra in eight grade, so I took that Keystone at the end of the year and I took Biology in ninth grade, which is typically a tenth grade subject, so I was able to take that keystone last year. I’m glad because I would have had to take two this year with English 10, but I now only have to take one since I took Biology a year earlier.
Cyber school allows me to adjust my schedule to how I want it. If I were to go to my public high school I would have to get up at six every morning (I really value my sleep. If it’s still dark out, I have no business being up.) in order to catch the bus at seven. I would then be in school until it was left out at two thirty. I would get home close to three, which would give me three and a half hours to do chores, homework, and to get any leisure time in before I have to get ready for Taekwondo. I would spend the next hour in class, get home around eight-fifteen, do whatever chores or homework I would have left, get a shower, and go to bed. Where does that leave time to do things that I like? With cyber school, I have the time and flexibility to do the things I like. After I finish my schoolwork, I can write my blog, I can work on my writing, and I have time to learn K-Pop dances.
So, being cyber schooled definitely is not for everyone. I don’t have a limit to what I can do, which is good. A lot of people have misconceptions about homeschooling and cyber school, but if you ask someone who has experienced it, you’ll often find that it’s different than what you imaged. What do you think? If you have questions, comment below!