Be, Do, But Most of All… Try It! Meet the Daring Homeschooler, Miss Kendall MurphyMay 27th, 2012 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles, Student Showcase
A freshman high school student with Bridgeway Academy, Kendall makes the most of every day, through both scholarly and athletic pursuits. As an avid member of a local competitive swim team, Kendall practices every evening. She also participates on a debate team, and has been playing the piano since the age of 6. “My mom had a rule,” said Kendall. “Each of us had to select one sport and one instrument to round out the homeschooling curriculum.”
The Murphy family chose homeschooling when their older son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, began struggling within a private Christian school system. Asperger’s is a form of autism where, although intellect is often way above average, learning styles and social adjustments can make traditional teaching methods and social interactions extremely difficult and frustrating. Kendall herself went through 1st and 2nd grade within the private school system, but also found she was just not challenged enough for her inquisitive nature. The Murphy family then embraced homeschooling through Bridgeway Academy with open arms – and their children began to fly!
“I love Bridgeway because I can get my work done earlier in the day. Every evening I swim – and when I get home I am really tired – but my homework is already complete,” said Kendall. Although she is a competitive swimmer – lately earning 1st and 2nd place medals at her meets, Kendall feels very strongly that swimming is the best way for her to stay healthy AND have fun while doing so. Kendall’s swim team is not connected with a public school, so it’s perfect for homeschoolers.
“I tried gymnastics first, but I wasn’t too crazy about it. But as soon as I started swimming, I thought – this is for me!” Her coaches thought she had talent, and Kendall just kept on improving. Now in her fourth year of competitive swimming, Kendall hopes for the possibility of a college scholarship.
Kendall also enjoys piano as her instrument of choice. “It definitely has given me an appreciation for music and has even improved my math skills. Even if don’t follow piano in college, it is still a great skill to have.” Kendall enjoys both contemporary and classical music pieces.
Deciding to join a Debate Team was a new and unfamiliar move for Kendall – but she went for it anyway. “I just started to debate this year, and it has certainly been a challenge for me. It takes up quite a bit of time, but you learn how to research effectively online, and it builds great skills like how to utilize ‘thinktanks’. This year the debate topic was taxes – and now I probably know more about taxes than most adults! I literally knew nothing about the topic when I began. Some tax issues are still a little confusing (as even most accountants would agree), but I learned the way government works. My public speaking skills have improved much, considering I used to be very afraid of speaking in front of people! “
Out of all her extra-curricular activities, Kendall feels that debate is increasing her skills the most rapidly. It has helped her to think quickly, and make logical conclusions about information. “It definitely gives you a certain sense of confidence,” she said, “and if you’re nervous, if you do mess up, you only have to tell yourself that nothing bad is going to happen as a result – and just laugh it off. Every tournament you see improvement. I can see my speeches becoming more eloquent and better structured.”
One of the biggest fears many parents and students have about homeschooling is a feeling of isolation or lack of social and extra-curricular involvement . Kendall Murphy proves to us that this is not the case at all. All you need to do is get your feet wet – and then dive right in. The water’s great!
Additional homeschooling posts:
Homeschooling Student Spotlight: Ashley Zinsmeyer – Teaching and Learning are a Never-Ending Circle of Love, Faith, and Growth
Ashley Zinsmeyer both began and finished her high-school curriculum through homeschooling, and found it to be a rewarding experience that bolstered her faith and fostered joy in both learning and teaching others.
Homeschooling on the Road-Rocky Mountain National Park
Days Four and Five