I am the only sibling in the family that won't have been to 'real' school. I always tell people I loved being homeschooled. My mom created a fun and interactive learning space; if we were learning about medieval times she would transform the basement into a castle and make dresses for my sister and I, a knight costume for my brother. If we were learning about first nations, the basement yet again transformed into a magical forest and we made corn husk dolls, visited historic sites and baked corn bread. We learned by seeing, feeling and experiencing, a very hands-on approach.
Thankfully, we never were secluded and in every stage in my life I had some awesome friends. In the beginning years of homeschooling a bunch of other moms in our church were doing it as well so we spent a lot of time with those kids and also participated in homeschool groups, gym days, ballet, drama, sports, art and cooking classes. I loved how it was also centred around how we, as kids, learned as individuals and not a one-size-fits-all model. With homeschooling, I was able to learn the way I learned best. Sure, there were the more difficult subjects every kid had to get through but in my experience, I never had a sense of competition with grades within a peer group. I was also able to focus on subjects I really loved. There were a whole other ton of perks to being homeschooled like PJ days, starting school later than every other kid in the neighbourhood, ending school earlier than most kids, gaining a month of summer, skipping the lines in Canada’s wonderland or DisneyLand because we were able to go when other kids were in school. My most favourite memory from early homeschooling days though, was mom reading to us while having tea with the fancy china tea cups. Sugar cubes and chocolate covered cookies, perfect to dip into the warm roiboos tea and let your mind drift into the worlds of Egyptians, castles and pirates.
Homeschooling definitely contributed to making my family close-knit. My siblings and I would play for hours, imagining we were different characters in different worlds. A skateboard became a dog, a bike became a horse, old cereal boxes became a fake TV and DVD player where we watched fake movies. Most kids have big imaginations and my siblings were the people I imagined and dreamed with most of the time. Both parents were really involved in raising us. Because my dad worked full time, mom did all of the actual school teaching. She was super passionate about it and made it really fun to learn.
In high school we became apart of an awesome co-op program. I was so nervous the first few weeks that I tried to convince my mom to let me quit. I'm glad I stuck it out, I eventually grew to love it. From grade 9 to grade 12 I definitely changed a lot. I made some of the best friends at that co-op and still today, no matter where life has taken us we still make time to get together and catch up. We had the best parties often involving pools, serious manhunt games, ATVs and lots of quality moments. We did canoe trips, laser tag, rock climbing, hikes, drama week, dance raves, last minute adventures - those people definitely shaped my idea of fun at the time. Because I figured out my own schedule during my high school years, I was able to make time to volunteer at a horse stable for kids with special needs who participated in riding therapy. Being a part of this and watching them bond with the horses was awesome!
Sometimes explaining my time at home to my schooled friends felt like a mission. I think most of the time they didn’t understand homeschooling and they thought of me as the naive, goodie-two-shoes that wasn’t 'cool' enough when I was younger. My greatest desire, right or wrong, was to be liked by everyone and to fit in. But oddly, at the same time, I was also always okay with standing out and would often do the opposite of what people were doing just to be different. I was often behind on the latest fashion trends. As I've gotten older my perspective has changed so much. Now, I am so thankful for my roots and I'm happy with the direction I'm headed. Those same friends I always wanted to impress, I don’t feel like I have to prove myself to anymore.
I had a lot of room to think for myself and form my own opinions growing up. Although, like most people I didn't like feeling left out or different, people didn’t sway me much and it feels like I've walked my own path for most of my life. Very early on, I found my passion of singing and songwriting and sometimes now I’m even surprised I’ve stuck with it for so long. Homeschooling gave me time and opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I honestly don’t feel like I missed out much by not going to public school.
Currently, I’m 21, following my passion to be a singer-songwriter and working as a part time video editor in my dad’s company. I am paving my own way. There are pros and cons to everything in life, I have always been thankful my parents decided to homeschool me. I don’t know where exactly I’m going to end up but I know I’ve been given a solid foundation and firm place to put my feet. Things that worried me, don’t anymore. I’ve carried with me the best of friends - people who can go deep, people who inspire me and people who I can be my complete self with and have crazy fun adventures with. I’m thankful for the bond with my family. And yes, sometimes siblings get annoying but after spending this much time together we can get through anything. They are two of my best friends.
Mom's note: This kid works hard. After high school we had offers from every college she checked out for their music programs - in one case the dean was asking for her to please be a part of their program. But she has chosen to go at it her own way. She has created music opportunities for herself that she would never have had if she'd gone the college route. Pursuing a career in the music industry is a road with many highs and lows but she knows there is no other path for her and we cheer her on. And ok, since you asked, here are her socials so you can go check her out :)