My Life-Changing Decision to Homeschool: Guest Post by Eddie MajkowskiSep 24th, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles
The First Day of High School
The bus finally pulled up to my school and as I walked out I saw at least two hundred kids in the courtyard hugging and reacquainting themselves with their friends they haven’t seen in about three months. I walked over to my “crowd” of people who happened to be the football players, and on our way to class we talked about the girls we were going to date, homecoming, and the Nick’s game on Sunday. Luckily, my first class was German and several of my football buddies were in the class with me. By the end of the day everything seemed to be looking up; new friends, cool teachers, and plenty of pretty girls.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as I planned during the months of October and November. The workload began to get overwhelming and I was failing tests left and right. On a positive side, my social life seemed to be booming. I walked down the narrow hallways saying, “Hello” and exchanging inside jokes, all while dodging juniors and seniors. At home, my parents started adding pressure on me to succeed…but it just made things worse. I found myself zoning out and talking in class. My seat was constantly changed due to talking and I cared more about my social life than my academics. In November, I finally started caring about school. But it seemed the harder I tried the worse it got. By January, I found myself skipping lunch and my free time just to keep up with all my schoolwork.
The Challenges of Learning
In the second grade I was classified with a mild learning disability, for which I needed more time and a little extra help. In the spring of eighth grade, as I was getting ready for my first steps into high school, I tested out of the Special Education program and was declassified. Even though I was ecstatic about finally being on my own, I was relieved when the high school counselors reassured me that I would have plenty of support if needed. As time went by, I realized all the help the teachers were promising me faded away. My school guidance counselor didn’t even know me; to them I was just a number in a sea of overachievers and failures. I saw my successful friends get extra help and rewarded by their teachers while I was completely ignored. Most of my teachers gave up on me; therefore, I gave up on myself.
One day after class a teacher pulled me aside to look at a chart. She explained that the chart contained three lanes; the 1st lane consisted of math courses that would guarantee me to get into any good college, the 2nd lane were courses that would knock 23-30 colleges off my list and then there was my lane. “Your lane’” might get you into a state school or an average school.” she snidely remarked. She made me feel like a failure before I even started and to boot, she said, if you start out in this lane you can never switch unless you earn a perfect score and that would be highly unlikely. The feeling was like a pinball machine where the balls fall into different lanes. My ball always fell into the last, never to come out. I felt like the school was going to just let me slip through the cracks and see how I ended up. They were focused on the high achievers – the ones who would most likely attend Ivy League schools.
Changing Learning Lanes
It was now March and I was excited about Saint Patrick’s Day coming up, even though the last several months had been very difficult. My parents were really concerned and decided to formulate a new plan. Again, I found myself in a similar situation as before, with two lanes to choose from – I could continue to be miserable and lose all self-confidence (whatever was left) or I could be homeschooled. My parents went on to explain that this program is only temporary, it could reverse all of my grades, and I will be able to steer my education into whatever lane I chose. The only thought that went through my mind was, “Hey, let’s give it a shot.”
After I made my decision, my parents gave me a day to say goodbye to all my friends. It was pretty hard to do, especially since I knew I would be finding out who truly was my friend and who was not. It’s easy to lose friendships when you’re not in contact every day. The next morning I woke up at an early 10:00 and I began the first day of the rest of my freshman year. It was a hard transition, but I eventually got used to it.
Most of my grades were pretty bad in freshman year but I was able to redo it. I finally completed freshman year before August and I got my first glimpse of summer. Although my summer was extremely short, there was nothing better than earning a 93.8 grade point average! It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it. When I received my report card in August, I was elated and felt on top of the world and in my own lane…one where I have the choice to pass or not!
My future looks pretty bright now. I started playing a new sport – rugby – which has taken the place of football, and I like it so much more! As part of my educational plan, I have the opportunity to do things that I always wanted to do, such as take piano lessons and attend an art school to learn how to oil paint. My extra time has been spent working diligently on becoming an Eagle Scout, along with training for a two-week hike in Philmont,New Mexico. My decision to be homeschooled was a great one, after all, and I hope that my life will continue to look up for me as it has already!
Additional homeschooling posts:
Homeschooling on the Road-Pikes Peak
Forgot to add some of the other lessons we learned while hiking Pike's Peak.
Homeschooling on the Road-Vision
Day Three-Catching the Vision Today we returned to Focus on the Family to take a tour of the administrative buildings (which we were unable to do yesterday) and we were inspired by their vision and by how God has blessed their ministry.