Q&A with a home-schooled student

Homeschooler+Alyssa+White+

Homeschooler Alyssa White

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What’s your schedule like?

At the beginning of the week, I look at our curriculum and subjects and I start organizing my week. On Tuesdays I am enrolled in Chemistry and English classes with other homeschoolers and receive homework that is due usually the following week—it is similar to a college setting.

8 a.m: Wake up, eat breakfast.

9 a.m: start school.

2-4 p.m: end school depending on how much I have scheduled for the day.

How are your classes structured?

Math: I read the lesson and then work on about 25 problems. I have a test every five to ten lessons, and there are 106 lessons and 12 tests throughout the year. I am enrolled in Geometry this year and finished Algebra 1 and 2 in previous years.

Chemistry: I have a teacher other than my mom for this subject. We meet at a church every Tuesday for one and a half hours in a class of about ten people. We work through one of 16 modules and then she assigns us “on your own problems” (problems to work on as we read the module) and/or review or practice problems. After completing these, we take a test for that module.

Spanish: [I am currently using] Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish online, which I enjoy. I previously took two years of Spanish in the aforementioned program.

History: We do the Tapestry of Grace curriculum: a Christian-based curriculum that is spread throughout four years studies from 500 B.C. to modern day (it is updated every year to stay current). I have books that I need to read each week and then answer questions about whatever I read. My mom lectures me on other things I need to know about the material and then at the end of the week I take a test. At the end of every quarter I take a test on everything I learned in the past nine weeks.

English: The class setting is structured so I can CLEP out receive college credit. It is similar to the chemistry class in that we meet once a week in a class of about 20 people. We get homework that must be completed by the next week. We have to memorize vocabulary, literary terms and various quotes. We also read about 30 books over the course of the year; such as Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit, Heart of Darkness and Hound of the Baskervilles and write about 20 essays ranging from 500-1800 words.

Music: I play guitar so I work on that about ten to 15 minutes every day.

How much time do you spend on homework and classwork?

About five to six hours [a day].

What are your parents’ requirements?

I have to do the work and get good grades (A’s or B’s) and I can’t be disrespectful to my mom and other teachers.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being home schooled?

I have school all day in my PJs, more opportunities to make money because of flexibility, [there is] no sitting in school for seven hours then doing three hours of homework and I can dual enroll at NOVA to earn high school and college credits at the same time. I am able to pursue interests at my own pace. I do have to work harder to make friends, but contrary to popular belief I think that has made me more outgoing. It’s also harder to get along with my family because I’m in constant contact with them.

How is the social experience different than at a regular school?

The classes I’m enrolled in consist of around 200-300 people so there is not a shortage of homeschoolers in VA, but I also have many public school friends, I just have to actively seek them out.

Why did you decide to be home-schooled?

I believed the advantages outweighed the disadvantages and as a Christian, I thought homeschooling would help me to grow in my faith.

How has being home-schooled prepared you for the world?

I think I won’t have a problem adjusting to college because of the classes I take and the planning I do for my week. I’ve handled the world pretty well so far, but I guess I won’t really know that until I’m on my own.

Do you think that you more intelligent than most kids because of being home schooled, or do you think it is the opposite way around?

I take a standardized test at the end of every year similar to the public school’s SOLs. Unlike the SOLs, this test compares my scores to others’ in the nation, and I consistently score in the top 25 percent of the nation. I think I get a great education being home schooled.