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A Homeschooler and College

Judah is now a few weeks into his first ever school experience. Here in Washington high school students can attend community college and earn college credit during their Junior and Senior years. Judah is taking: Criminal Justice, English 101 and History. So far he is loving the classroom experience and the competition with fellow students!

His History teacher recently passed out the results from a pop quiz and said, “It couldn’t have been that hard, someone got 10/10”. That someone was Judah! The teacher said the average score on the quiz was 4.5…so yes, he’s doing well.boy scout, homeschool, homeschoolers and college,can homeschoolers go to college, homeschooler at college

Last week Judah asked me to proofread a paper he had written for one of his classes…and I in turn asked if I could quote parts of it here. The paper was a discussion of  Walker Percy’s view on education.  If it sounds a bit broken, it is because I am just quoting the parts about homeschooling, not sharing the entire five-page paper.

Don’t lose heart, dear homeschooling moms! Here is my 16-year-old son’s perspective on homeschooling.

I was homeschooled all my life and this quarter is my first experience of “school”. I put school in quotation marks because I mean the classroom experience. As a homeschooler I did do school, just in a different way than the public schooler.boy scout, homeschool, homeschoolers and college,can homeschoolers go to college, homeschooler at college

Judah circa 2006

Elementary schools seems ridiculous to me; the fact that we have seven year olds sitting in class for however long they sit there does not create a stimulating environment. When I was that age I would play games with my siblings. We had quite a few alternate realities where we pretended to be people we created in our imaginations and would play all sorts of games. I believe this is a much better environment for a developing mind. 

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Judah and friend at Civil War Reenactment circa 2006

We would go in the backyard and catch tadpoles and caterpillars and watch them metamorphosis. My classmates were my siblings- 13 of them! We would do experiments and school work together. I am very  glad I was homeschooled as it was a fantastic experience…

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In response to Percy’s writing, he wrote:

Ironically I dissected a dogfish; however the educational packet was probably a lot less than in public school. My sister and I put on latex gloves and surgical masks. Brandishing scalpels we proceeded to dissect the dogfish. As far as I remember we did not follow any scientific procedures but just cut up the dogfish in any which way, probing and satisfying our curiosity much like the young Falkland Islander.boy scout, homeschool, homeschoolers and college,can homeschoolers go to college, homeschooler at collegeI am very glad I was homeschooled as it was a fantastic experience and I believe that there is also less of an educational packaging involved. It is tough to learn this way in schools because a lot of students see school as boring and their parents are forcing them to do it. I am not saying I never disliked my schoolwork though!


I hope this is encouraging to you fellow homeschool moms. Seven year old boys don’t always like to sit still and “do their schoolwork”. Many times I have wondered if we were “doing enough” and if I was “preparing them”.




  1. Melissa

    Several years ago the New York Times had an article on universities seeking out home-schooled applicants–their education was far superior to that of peers graduating from public schools OR private schools!

  2. Verity

    Did you always want to homeschool Renee? And did you ever have any qualms? I love reading homeschooling blogs & this time next year will have to apply for primary school for my (UK) 4 year old – I’m very very torn right now about what to do. I don’t know primary school developments of phonics or how to teach maths so am scared of failing him (and I also teach high school part time) but equally it seems so little to go to school! How did you make the initial decision to homeschool?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Verity, yes, I was still in high school when I knew I wanted to homeschool my children. I read ton of homeschooling books when I was still in high school.

  3. Anna

    It was nice to read Judah’s perspective today. My oldest is 11 and would be a 6th grader in middle school. Every day I wonder if he would be better off in a learning environment where he had a teacher that could focus on one subject at a time…without having the constant interruptions of the younger siblings (10, 8, 5, 3, 1, and another on the way). I love having them all at home, especially when we have those golden interest-led learning days where everything just works out and you can hear evidence of their learning come out in their play…but those other days…like when they fill out an entire grammar sheet wrong basing their answers on commonly spoken slang instead of proper grammar and then blame me for speaking incorrectly to them their whole lives…oh, those days are hard!

  4. Catherine

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, and always enjoy hearing about your family’s home schooling experiences. As a teacher, I feel that there Is a place for home echooling, and a place for public/private schooling.
    To me, this post borders on putting public schooling in the ‘no use for it’ box – which see.s a little unfair. It worries me that Judah is under the impression that no good can come from public schooling… what if in 10 years time, he and his wife find themselves I the position to not be able to homeschool (much like you did this past year with your younger children.)
    Is he going to send his children to public school but view it as a lesser, that they will not gain much from it, that it is ot as good as home schooling?
    To be honest, I have nothing against home schooling – it can be fantastic. But so can public and private schools. I work damn hard to give ‘my’ kids everything I can, to make sure they experience as many things as possible within the ‘confines’ of school.
    My concern is that because Judah has experienced a great home schooling life, he dismisses traditional schooling as something tbat does that compare, and cannot compare. Send him to spend the day in my classroom and he’d see differently.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Catherine, thank you for taking the time to comment! I totally understand your concern. Please keep in mind that Judah has siblings who have gone to public school (the five younger ones and Ezra who attended high school). And he currently has two siblings in school. In no way in our house to we talk down about public school (as many homeschoolers do…some of my friends included). It was a huge blessing to me last year and is a huge blessing to me now with my special needs kids.

      As I said, I only included portions of his five page paper. Also, the paper was not about homeschooling, but Walker Percy’s views on education. Here is another quote from Judah’s paper: “Overall I agree with what Percy says about education, I am not saying that if you are a pubic schooler you are not as smart or will have more problems that a homeschooler. I know a lot of awesome and very smart public schoolers; however, they do have more educational packaging to deal with”.

      I am also the first one to say (and I’ve said it on the blog) how very impressed I was with my children’s teachers last year. They really went above and beyond in my opinion. All five had great teachers and a great year. It was obvious the teachers: loved teaching, lovede my kids, and loved their other students.

      This post was intended to share Judah’s perspective, as well as encourage homeschool moms going through a rough patch. I also know homeschoolers who are doing it badly…and their children would be better off in school.

      I am also totally okay with my future grandchildren attending school if that is what their parents deem best for them.

      • Catherine

        Really good to read your response – I hope that my comment didn’t come across as rude, just as me voicing my concerns – which you’ve helped clear up!
        Judah sounds like he’s got a well balanced view of the education system – and I have to congratulate you and your husband on helping your kids to see the value of all education systems – I’ve taught kids in the past, who have come from a home schooling background, that for one reason or another have ended up in public school, and some of their parents have been incredibly unsupportive about the experience of being in a school, and talked it down to their kids!

        I love what Judah said about ‘more educational packaging to deal with’ – SO TRUE.
        Apart from what the kids have to deal with, I think it’s also what the teachers deal with. Honestly, if I could work with a group of 10 -15 children, with less paperwork and meetings, I’d teach in a much more creative and enthusiastic way. As it is, I barely have enough time to plan the basics for each day with all of the other paperwork and the number of meetings I have to do to. I say bring on less educational packaging! 🙂
        Thanks for responding!!

  5. Bridget

    In our 15th year of homeschooling, I am extremely grateful to have the freedom to teach our kids at home.
    I may be the friend Renee mentioned in her post whose kids would be better off in school! At least that is what our kids have been told on occasion by well meaning observers.

    I also fess up to being a friend whose opinion of public education is low. I am concerned with the broad acceptance of population control and sexual (im)morality ‘curriculum’ our school systems.

    Ultimately, parents are their kids’ primary teachers, whether they homeschool or send them to school, and this God given responsibility is modelled very well by you & Chuck, Renee.

    Thank you for sharing Judah’s writing, I enjoyed his work.

    My husband just read, “The Underground History of Public Education” by Gatto, and found it to be incredibly enlightening.

    • Kara

      I’m probably one of those friends too, Bridget! I’m often told that I don’t really homeschool my kids and they would be better off in public school. Usually by people who can’t even comprehend that children can learn by doing anything other than what public schools do. I love John Taylor Gattos books, John Holts too!
      My low opinion of public school was largely shaped by my and my husbands negative experiences there. I do readily admit that not all schools and teachers are like that though.
      I also admit that I sometimes wish private schools didn’t cost so much!

    • Catherine

      Hi Bridget,
      As a public school teacher, I’d have to say I disagree with some of your comments – I’m uncertain as to exactly what you meant by ‘broad acceptance of population control and sexual (im)morality ‘curriculum’ our school systems.’
      Are you referring to behaviour management? I can absolutely guarantee that (at least in my school) every student is treated as an individual, and we treat any incidents on an individual basis – and work out what is best for the children involved, as to what consequences are appropriate.
      As for the ‘sexual (im)morality curriculum’ in schools… uh what?

      I would agree that parents SHOULD be their child’s primary teacher, however in many families, this is not the case. Realistically, children spend 6 – 7 hours of their waking day with their teacher, and far fewer than that with their parents.
      It’s not ideal, and in many cases, it’s unfortunate, however most people cannot afford to homeschool due to financial situations, and many others do not have the desire to do so.
      Therefore, the education systems we have in place, SHOULD be providing for these children in the best way they can – and I believe that while all education systems have flaws (as I’d say all homeschooling education systems do too), there’s also a lot of really positive things that can come out of them.

  6. Sarah Faulkner

    Love it. As we are entering into 6th grade, i am looking forward to the high school years, and wondering how we are going to “pull it off “. 🙂 i am sure we will… some how.

    I went to a rich public school~it was better than privet ~ and had the best teachers. But it wasnt the teachers that made me homeschool. It was the social life. I hated it, and all the rules. I was well liked, but felt the pecking order was dumb, and the time management was lacking. It annoys me that i spent 12 years there to not know how a mortage works, or how to balance my money! Now as an adult i love my freedom and couldnt imagine denying my kids that freedom.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Sarah, your comment hits right on one of the two reasons I chose (while still in high school) to homeschool my own children. I could NOT stand the drama. I remember my senior year, the girls discussing for TWO MONTHS straight prom…that is ALL they talked about. I remember sitting there thinking, “don’t they realize it is *just* prom…one night of their lives that isn’t even going to matter in 20 years?” I have no issue with kids enjoying prom, but this was ridiculous!

      The other reason was the sheer waste of time. I read and did my work quickly…which meant I would spend lot of time just sitting…not in one class but in class after class, day after day. I hated it.

      And as far as teachers, I had several inspiring teachers who I remember to this day…and I know ILR several amazing teachers. They have my complete respect.

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