Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Homeschool Journey

My 15-year-old self
Happy Wednesday! I have been reading through the feedback you shared on my "Ask Ellie" post. Quite a few readers requested more information about my personal life, and several asked if I was homeschooled as a child. Well, let me tell you!

From Kindergarten through my sophomore year of high school, I attended public school. My parents were always intrigued by the idea of homeschooling but never seriously considered it because our local school system was considered to be excellent. My brother, who is three years older than myself, and I had both had a solid group of school friends and were plugged in at church, so my parents saw no need to change our routine.

I enjoyed school through eighth grade, but in freshman year, things changed. Contrary to what I had been expecting, my classmates seemed to have grown less mature over the summer (maybe due to hormones?).

For that reason, the teachers were often forced to spend the first 10-15 minutes of class dealing with ornery students. Combined with bus rides and lengthy passing periods, a lot of time was wasted each day. There had to be a more efficient way to learn! 

After researching different options, I realized that home education was exactly the solution I had been looking for. I presented my case to my parents, and they agreed. Below is a journal entry I wrote on my last day of public school.

Summer is here, and I am officially done with my sophomore year. Yahoo! I have been in public school for 11 years, but I don't plan on going back next year. I am convinced that homeschooling my last two year of high school will turn out to be the best decision of my academic life.

This summer, I will be working 16 hours a week for an interior designer. Her office is in need of an overhaul, so she has hired me to clean it up. (I absolutely love organizing and cleaning.) I have also been hired by my orthodontist as an office assistant for 6 hours a week. With the flexibility of homeschooling, I will be able to continue working several hours a week during the school year.


Homeschooling required an extra ounce of diligence and self-discipline, but the journey was edifying and exhilarating, and I ended up learning so much more than I would have in public school. I was also blessed to have a stay-at-home mom who was able to oversee my studies.

42 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/11/2015

    That's cool do u plan on Homeschooling or Privatw schooling ur future children?

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    Replies
    1. We hope to homeschool our children. :)

      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous11/11/2015

    "Less mature"....I love it :-) I have been blessed to have been homeschool my entire life but what I have seen at like Walmart and the like as made me realize it is so true that kids became less mature. Sad but true. Well put :-)

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  3. Anonymous11/11/2015

    Thank you for sharing. Do you wish you would have started earlier? Do you plan on homeschooling when you have your own children?
    Alexis

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alexis,

      I do wish I had started earlier! It was a wonderful experience. My husband was homeschooled for most of his childhood, and we plan to homeschool our children.

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
  4. Shela G11/11/2015

    What a great story!! Appreciate you sharing it with us😉 Gives us a chance to get to know more about you. Thank you.

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  5. Anonymous11/11/2015

    Thanks for sharing! What was the case you made to your parents? How long did your schoolwork take you each day once you were homeschooled?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      I explained how inefficient classes seemed to be at my high school, and I presented several homeschool curriculums that I had researched. I told my parents that if I could eliminate all the time I was currently wasting in public school, I would have more time to work, be involved at church, and prepare for college and the ACT.

      The length of my schooldays varied, but I ended up spending significantly less time studying than I had in public school, yet I learned much more.

      Ellie

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    2. What amazing initiative! I love hearing homeschool stories. Did you find coops helpful or other homeschool friends from your church, or did you find it most efficient to mainly have your mom as your primary teacher when you needed a little direction? Did you miss seeing former school friends at all or were most of your friends from church anyways? I am sure that your initiative and learning to learn on your own helped you a ton in college! Did you find getting a portfolio together for college pretty easy - were they easy and open to homeschooling? I have heard that some colleges are really easy to work with, some require a little more record-keeping. Love to hear the stories!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Sonya! I had a hard time finding a co-op because there were very few homeschoolers in our area. Most of my studying was self-directed, with my parents providing guidance. That seems to be the norm among older homeschoolers. "Apologia" was wonderful because it provided a hotline that students could call for academic help. And "Teaching Textbooks" was great because every single math problem had a step-by-step solution. I rarely had to seek help, although it was readily available.

      I was still able to keep up with my closest school friends, and I had a solid youth group that I was very involved in. Based on my research, colleges are very open to homeschoolers. Some want to see a portfolio, but I found that most schools admit students based on their ACT/SAT scores and admissions essays.

      Hope this helps!
      Ellie

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    4. Thank you! - I have heard such great reviews on both Apologia and Teaching Textbooks - I didn't know about the Apologia hotline, though - that is a really nice feature!

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    5. I have used Apologia for the past four years. I have done their Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Physic programs. I loved every single one of them! I love hearing other people praise them because they are awesome textbooks that deserve the praise.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous11/11/2015

    Wonderful story! I'd love to hear (read) your testimony sometime!

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  7. Anonymous11/12/2015

    When are your birthdays?

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    Replies
    1. Mine is at the beginning of April, and Mr. Handsome's is at the end of November. :)

      Ellie

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  8. Thanks for sharing this! I remember the blog you used to write about your homeschooling experience. I always enjoyed it and was sorry when you stopped adding to it.

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  9. Anonymous11/13/2015

    If you don't mind my asking, what curriculum did you end up using?

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    Replies
    1. I used a combination of several, including Teaching Textbooks, Rosetta Stone, and Apologia. I also took a few English and history classes through Memoria Press.

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
  10. Anonymous11/13/2015

    What program homeschooling did u use?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      I used a combination of curriculums. My favorites were Apologia, Teaching Textbooks, and Rosetta Stone.

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11/16/2015

      What curriculum will u use for ur future children may i recommend ACE that's what i used?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11/16/2015

      Wow! elementary school-6th grade i homeschooled. I used Teaching Textbooks for math and Rosetta stone (french) and a easy program called My Fathers World. I especially enjoyed Teaching Textbooks. Jr. high-high school (7th-12th) i private schooled at a christian school. Both were fun experiences!

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    4. I'm not sure what curricula we will use for our children, but I have heard that ACE is great!

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous11/13/2015

    I have homeschooled all of my life! I am in 8th grade now so I still have a few years! I'm so glad my parents chose to homeschool us. I was just thinking today how wonderful it is that we aren't in public school. Please tell Mr. Handsome happy birthday from me!
    Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      I agree! Homeschooling is a huge blessing. I'll give my husband the message. :)

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
  12. Anonymous11/13/2015

    how long are you planning to wait before (maybe God permitting) start a family? and/or are you going to post birthdays/middle names of you/Mr. Handsome/future family?
    blessing Beth

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    Replies
    1. Hi Beth,

      We're just enjoying life as newlyweds and waiting for direction from the Lord. :) My birthday is in early April, and Mr. Handsome's is next week. When we have children, I'll be happy to share their birthdays.

      Blessings
      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous11/16/2015

      thanks...
      i love how you answer comments with such love and grace
      blessings, Beth (i just realized i forgot my 's' on my last post)

      Delete
  13. Anonymous11/14/2015

    I enjoyed reading your story. Do you plan to home school future children you may have?

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my story! We do plan to homeschool our future children. Both my husband and I had great homeschool experiences. :)

      Ellie

      Delete
  14. Anonymous11/16/2015

    HI Ellie,
    I have read on other blogs that people who homeschool will sometimes attend public school for part of or all of high school to receive a diploma. The reasoning being it is easier to apply for university with one. I'm curious about how this works if you homeschool all the way through or the last two years like you did. Is it more difficult to apply? Do you have to take special considerations on what curriculum you use, or take online courses to still get a diploma? I'm writing form Canada so it might be a different application system (Sorry if I've got this wrong, I thought I read on the blog you went to university for journalism).
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      You're correct! I earned a degree in journalism. :) The university application process was very friendly to homeschoolers. I found that most schools base their decisions on SAT/ACT scores and admissions essays. I actually ended up applying and being accepted to a school in Canada, as well, although I opted to attend a school in my home state.

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2/29/2016

      Please do not take advice from an American on acceptance to Canadian schools. Our system is at least one year ahead of the American. We do not have a general first year; acceptance is based on marks on provincial approved courses; with standardized marking scheme. Our students do not take SAT or ACT nor write entrance essays.

      Acceptance into university, especially the first-tier ones, is very competitive. Home schoolers would be best to try at a second or third tier although, because of the high demand, they have upped their requirements. But stay away from the few Christian private institutions. The education is not considered as good as in the public universities and employment afterwards would be difficult.

      Suggestion..to optimize your child's post-secondary opportunities, enroll them in high school, either public or privare, for atleast the last two years so they can earn a provincial-approved high school certificate. He or she has to learn to write exams. Inability to write exams and finish assignments on time is one of the failings of many homeschoolers and many of them struggle to adapt. I would also make sure that your child has minimum second language requirement prior to grade 10.

      Some of the provinces now have e-learning with exams marked by certified teachers. At the very least, look into that.

      Please do not judge Canadian schools on the bad press American schools receive. My children went to a public school which was 50% immigrants. It was an extremely safe and good school. They and all their friends successfully attended post-secondary education programs.

      Delete
    3. Hi there,

      I agree that it would be best to talk to a homeschooler from Canada. However, I applied to and was accepted into the journalism school at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada. (I am a Canadian citizen, and my dad was working there at the time that I applied. He changed jobs, so I ended up attending a school in the U.S.) To my understanding, Carleton is a prestigious university.

      I can't speak for the other schools in Canada, but Carleton accepted my ACT score without any problem, although perhaps that was only because I was living in the United States at the time.

      I recommend that any homeschooler, whether in Canada or the United States, talk with the admissions department of the college they hope to attend, preferably at the beginning of high school. But from my experience, colleges love home school students.

      Ellie

      Delete
    4. Anonymous4/03/2016

      Ellie is correct. Carleton journalism is a highly respected program. Ontario (40% of Canadians) and Quebec (25% of Canadian population) do not have provincial exams whereas BC and a few others do. There are very different requirements for trades, arts, sciences, engineering, nursing etc. Most of the "top" Canadian universities accept homeschoolers. We are lucky in Canada that we have an excellent school system but some families prefer homeschooling for many reasons (religion, language, living in a remote or rural area, etc).
      Canadians can write American SAT or ACT exams but they are not required if you have attended a regular school but are useful if you homeschool.
      The reality is whether you attend a school or homeschool, you need to look into admissions a year before you apply for anything. I hope this helps!

      Delete
  15. Anonymous11/16/2015

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. HANDSOME!!!!!

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  16. Ellie, did you move away from home to spend four years at a University? It just seems so scary for young girls to do that nowadays.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Johnna,

      I did move away from home to attend University, but I lived in a house with a few dozen other Christan girls, so it was a wonderful experience.

      Ellie

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  17. This story was so encouraging! As a high school senior, homeschooled all the way, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in comments on our way of doing things. But it is so refreshing to hear about someone else with possitive things to say about it. I can relate to your experience on finding your friends to be less mature. I spent two years at a preparatory school (in addition to being homeschooled), and I was so excited to be going back for a second year, when I realized that the people I knew were not as I had left them three months before.
    It is always encouraging to hear experiences from other Christian girls...I'm not alone!

    Thank you for what you do Ellie!
    Luci

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    1. Hi Luci,

      Glad to hear you enjoyed my post! You're definitely not alone. :) Are you entering senior year or finishing it?

      Ellie

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    2. Starting:)
      The end of the academic road draws near!

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    3. That's great, Luci! Have you considered what you will do post-graduation?

      Ellie

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