Friday, August 08, 2008

Homeschooled All the Way (Part 2)

(Read Part 1)

In addition to allowing me excellent time to learn the academic parts of education, homeschooling has allowed me to pursue so many other non-academic things that have shaped and prepared me for life.

Music was one of the first kind of lessons we were allowed to take. In fact, it was pretty much a family rule that we had to be taking some kind of music lessons each year. I started at age 6 with violin, following in the steps of my older sister Lydia. The teacher I first took from used the Suzuki method while also teaching me to read colors and number over or under the music instead of the notes themselves. That may not have been bad to begin with, but no one ever really explained how to go from that to reading the notes themselves. When we switched to another teacher after a year or two, the new teacher expected me to read the notes right away. I got really discouraged... and stopped violin.

That wasn't the end of music for me, however. When I was 8, I played recorder in a very small homeschool band, then after stopping violin, started taking piano. I really enjoyed it and actually learned how to read the music notes really well! After a year, however, my wonderful and fun teacher moved away. So, we tried another teacher, but the change was hard. It just wasn't the same, so I stopped piano lessons and began flute in the homeschool band.

Though at first I wasn't that interested in the homeschool band, in which my older siblings played in the advanced level, when I was 12, I learned that Miriam Hart would be playing flute in it, so I also took up flute and joined. It was one of the best decisions I made, for I've been playing flute ever since and enjoyed it immensely!

Piano wasn't over for me either; I played around for a few years on-and-off on my own, then took lessons again this last year. The years of flute, in which I learned a lot of theory and musical terms, really helped, and I so enjoyed learning piano again! I also learned more about singing, being in a homeschool choir two years ago, and taking voice lessons my senior year. It taught me things I still put into practice with any singing I do.

Then there was dance. Like many little girls, I dreamed of being a beautiful ballerina. Beginning at age 5 or 6, I was a part of a worship dance group for a few years, which used a lot of sign language and arm movements. I was a part of another similar group later on, took a summer of gymnastics lessons when I was 9, and took baton twirling lessons when I was 10. Much as I enjoyed all of these, it still wasn't ballet, something my heart ached to do. Finally, the summer I turned 11, my dreams came true. We found a Christian praise ballet teacher, and I began lessons. I took from her for 5 years, with the last 3 years also taking pointe from other teachers. Then, as I needed more advance classes, I switched and took two more years of pointe and technique from a new teacher. During the past 2 years I also started The King's Praise Ballet, teaching dance classes of my own.

There was also drama. (Are you sensing an "artsy" theme here? =) I did take soccer one fall when I was 8, but sports have never interested me that much. ) I was in various little dramas growing up, including a church Christmas play when I was 9. I took a spring drama class at age 13, then went to a two-week drama camp that summer. Much as I enjoyed theater, we just couldn't find many good-quality opportunities that I could be a part of. So, through God's amazing timing and the support of so many others, I started directing things myself. I directed "Esther-Ordinary Faith" and played Esther the summer of 2005, wrote and directed "Ruth: From Rejection to Redemption" and played Ruth the summer of 2007, wrote and directed "Mary: Chosen by God" the fall of 2007, and directed "Fat Fat Jehoshaphat" the summer of 2008.

As you can see, I've been involved in many activities over the years! It's been amazing to look back and see how God was working through and building on each one, preparing me for the next step and scene in the script He is writing of my life.

Without being homeschooled, I doubt that I'd have even been able to take or had time for half of these activities. Of course, it's also important to not get too busy and to take time to actually be home, but the fact that our school work didn't take 7 hours each day left us time to take different lessons and practice at home. Sometimes I wish I'd narrowed my pursuit to one or two interests, but all of the different things I've learned have shaped me into who I am today.

Also, had I not been home educated, I don't think I could have ever started teaching ballet or directing musicals. I taught classes during hours I would have otherwise been at school and had time other days to plan and prepare. Being homeschooled allowed me to escape the mold a school often presses one into, and, along with the Rebelution's message of "rebelling against low expectations," I was able, by God's grace, to do many things that I would have otherwise thought too hard for me.

Really, the question of "What about socialization?" makes me laugh. As you read, I was a part of so many activities that allowed me to get to know and interact with many others. Home life itself provided plenty of training ground to learn how to get along with others. And the beauty of it all was that I got to know and interact with people of all ages. Yes, I had some lessons for just my age group and had some close friends among my peers. But more things were done as families, and now I am blessed to be able to relate to people from those my parent's age down to babies and toddlers.

The fact that I was home educated also taught me a lot about home life. Being home so much of the time allowed me to learn the skills needed to run a home from the best people: my mother and sisters. I can cook, clean, sew, and care for children because I have had daily hands-on experience. Because I was homeschooled, I had time to babysit others' children, which gave me essential experience with youngsters, as I only have one younger sibling of my own. Being home gave me the time to really learn how to sew well, cook well, and clean well, and the daily practice helped me to learn to do it quickly and competently.

There are different situations that sometimes seem to necessitate different methods of schooling. But as for me, I am ever so grateful that I was homeschooled all the way through. I didn't only survive home education - I thrived. Now the question is: would I homeschool my own children? If the Lord blesses me with children, then absolutely! It is one of my biggest dreams to be their mother and their teacher.

Thank you Mom and Dad, for the time, effort, and money you invested in teaching and discipling me at home!


Tiffany said...

That was so nice to read! Both of my girls take ballet now and I would love for them to take piano too. I don't know how we would be able to afford it though. That is the problem. My mother was a piano teacher but she lives almost two hours away. I thought of trying to teach them myself but I only play a little bit. I agree there are so many opportunities for homeschooled children that they wouldn't be able to do going to a public or private school. If my girls are ever blessed with children of their own I certainly hope they have the desire to homeschool as well.

Anonymous said...

I played the clarinet when I was younger and I loved it! (Except when I had to clean out the spit valve. Yuck!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your homeschooling story, Anna! You really inspire me to pursue the homemaking skills you excel in.

BTW, I will keep your suggestion in mind, though it might be a little while before I have time to post that...

Maria Pauline

Cecilia Rose said...

Your "Homeschooled All the Way" posts were beautiful! It really warmed my heart because I also was homeschooled "all the way." Although I did get quite restless near the end of high school, I am SO grateful and happy that I kept schooling at home. Now I am about to enter my senior year of college at the Peabody music conservatory, which has also been a wonderful experience. If and when I am married and have children, I will most certainly be homeschooling them as well!
God Bless, and savor your college years! It is a big transition, but they have been some of the best years of my life so far.