Student Profile: How Homeschooling Helped This Student See The WorldMar 10th, 2014 | By Kimberly Kulp | Category: Featured Articles, Guest Spotlight, Homeschooling and Family Relationships, Lead Article
Removed from negative peer pressure, homeschooled students are often more confident and more willing to explore extracurricular activities. They are able to interact and learn from a wide range of age groups and often have more access to leadership opportunities. And oftentimes, with such a flexible schedule, students are able to explore the world with their parents better preparing them to integrate into the adult world ready to make a lasting impact.
A great example of this is one of our Bridgeway Academy students, Karri Ann Peiscop-Grau, who’s been a member of the Bridgeway community for several years. Kari-Ann is one of our brightest stars and is committed to being active outside the home. What’s really neat about Kari-Ann is that she hasn’t let being an international student stop her from connecting with others and living out her passions. She’s a leader in Girl Scouts and an active participant in the International Model United Nations Conference in Doha, Qatar. The conference is a fast-paced, real-world simulation of the teamwork, nerves of steel, and research that goes into a general assembly meeting at the United Nations.
Recently, Kari Ann shared with us how her own homeschooling experience helped her become more independent and self-confident. We hope you are as inspired by her drive, focus, and commitment to leadership as we are!
Homeschool: Valid Choice Worth Considering
Many ask my parents the question of whether or not the decision to homeschool me was the right choice. My parents will start by saying that it began as a choice out of necessity rather than a choice for better education.
When most people think of the term homeschooling, many think of a room full of siblings — all getting no social interaction outside of the home and where your “siblings are your best friends.” They also envision no leadership skills, self-esteem problems, and most importantly, the inability to integrate into society. This cannot be further from the truth.
My family moved overseas when I was entering the seventh grade. Our new destination was Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was a difficult transition for us as a family. The cultural, religious, and language differences where only a few of the contrasts to be taken in consideration. I joined the only American International School available. Not only was I in a school with little creativity, inspiration, the books were even outdated, I felt l that I was not growing as a person. I discussed the options that I had with my parents. There was only one real option: homeschool. It was time to weigh the options and consider the prospects of homeschooling. One of the biggest worries was the fact that I am an only child and the lack of social interaction was considered a major drawback.
After searching for a proper school, my parents finally found an online homeschool school, Bridgeway Academy. Many might be surprised of the idea that homeschooling can actually be done online with counselors, tutoring, and programs that are tailored to the student needs and learning style. Online schooling it is just one of the many options available for homeschooling. It was also our top choice.
As to those wondering about the real issues of social interaction, education quality, and overall results, I will make references to Dr. Bryan D. Ray and a study result published on January 11, 2011. Dr. Ray is an internationally known researcher in the field of homeschooling. Here are some of the facts presented in his study.
There were about 2.4 million home educated students in the U.S. by 2011. Some of the reasons for homeschooling children of all levels were individualized and tailored programs, safer environment, and to be able to impart a particular set of values. The study showed that in the academic performance homeschoolers typically scored 15 to 30 percentile points above public school in standardized testing and above average on SAT and ACT test scoring. In social, emotional, and psychological development homeschool students are typically above average on all measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. The research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, continued participation in the community as adults, and self-esteem.
On my part, I do believe that homeschool helped me develop study skills, better writing, improved overall scores in all school subjects, and better education in general. The one-on-one programs allow me to cover far more material than in a regular school setting. The ability to work ahead, slow down when needed, and have a program that can be tailored has been vital to help me achieve my immediate goals and I am sure it will help me in my future college years. The lack of negative peer pressure has helped me develop higher self-esteem and ability to address any problem. I have been able to develop my leadership skills to a greater level with the Girls Scouts, Youth Volunteer Programs, and continuing voluntarism. If I was in a regular school setting I may of have missed some of these great opportunities because of schedule conflicts. Another great benefit of homeschool is the quality of education that is obtained. But do you want to know the best part? Well, as a teen, I like the idea of being able to do school work in my pajamas now and then.
With such a great flexible schedule, I was able to have a greater social interaction. It also allowed us, as a family, to travel around the world. Going to far-away lands to see their beauty and have a better understanding about the history and different cultures. This enabled me to open up a new world of wonder and respect toward the places I visit. Cultural education is important and to experience it firsthand, has no equal. My school program is not only up to date, but challenges me in every way, preparing me for college, and for the world that is ahead. Many people do have misconceptions of homeschool, and getting educated on the subject is the best way to make the right decision that will work for your family.
In the end, homeschooling is a choice that should not be overlooked. It is a lifestyle choice that it is not for everyone. Dedication, effort, and perseverance are essential parts of homeschool. Whatever decision a parent makes regarding education they should always remember that homeschooling provides a learning experience that can never be simulated in a classroom. This includes, but is not limited to cultural education, life experiences, and a top-notch education. I will leave you with the words of Nelson Mandela when he said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us Kari Ann!
Additional homeschooling posts:
Autism Awareness Month: Keep Your Labels Off My Child
If you have experience educating a special needs child, you know, or at least suspect, that children labeled as “learning disabled” possess certain strengths that far exceed those of an average or even advanced student.
Homeschool Student Spotlight: On the Hunt for Big Adventure with McKenzie Sims
Did you ever imagine that the world of homeschooling could be filled with big game animals, dangerous hunts, and wild adventure on far away continents? Bridgeway Academy student McKenzie Sims of Evanston, Wyoming – and star of the television show “Young Blood” on the Outdoor Channel - tells us firsthand how exciting the life of a homeschooler can actually be with the right opportunities! McKenzie’s extreme love for the outdoors, animals, and the sport of hunting began on his family’s 90 acre ranch in Wyoming.