Homeschooling: Better than you think

Tabitha Reddekop doing school at home Feb, 2001. Photo courtesy of Janice Reddekop.

“She isn’t going to be able to go to college.” These were the words repeated by many people throughout my life – including my own grandmother. The reason was because I was homeschooled my whole life. I am now a second-year journalism student at Durham College and I am doing fine – thank you very much. Even though there was a lot of pressure going to college as a life-long homeschooler, homeschooling ultimately prepared me for school by making me adaptable to different schedules and allowing me to focus on the subjects I wanted to pursue as my career.

The pressure going to school for the first time was heavier than a first-year student’s stack of textbooks. For the first time my grades were going to be critiqued by someone other than my own mother. Those grades would prove if I was a success or a failure. I would find out if what people had been saying about me my whole life was true but I was determined to prove them wrong.

One of the reasons people were so worried for my future was because I wasn’t taught the same subjects as the kids my age in the school system. They said I wouldn’t know enough when I graduated and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the people who went to public school. My list of classes was different from public schooler’s because my home-ec class was cooking dinner for the family and my gym class was climbing trees or playing tag in the backyard. I never did a proper geography course and I couldn’t say anymore than a basic introduction in French. But homeschooling gave me the chance to focus my interests instead. I learned all the basics, math, science and English but I also got to dive deeper into reading about the subjects that interested me. I spent hours pouring over science books about the human body, leafing through history books about the ancient Egyptians and indulging in the fantasy worlds of C.S Lewis to George Orwell. I would read on average five books a week, more than most school kids would read in a year! The number of books I read filled in any gaps of education I lacked and I had fun while doing it too. You also couldn’t help but pick up a few tricks of the story telling trade along the way.

Another worry was I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a sometimes-strenuous college school schedule. After all, how can you expect a kid who is used to starting school in their pajamas at 11 am to be able to be up and ready for an eight am class? But homeschooling made this possible. As a homeschooler, you have to be used to doing school in variety of circumstances. Often I would cram all my schoolwork into one morning so I could go out and play in the afternoon. My family would double up on school work a week before a family trip in the fall or even do some school during our vacation. I learned the motivation to get things done in order to reach a goal. I was taught to work around schedules and figure out how to get things done in a time frame by myself. I could then achieve my goals whether those goals in the past were more time to go play pirates in the backyard or now, the goal of finishing an assignment before work. Not having a strict and consistent school schedule made me have to figure out how to use my own time wisely. This combined with motivation has been useful for me when it comes to balancing homework in between my work and school schedule, even if it means getting up before the sun is up.

Homeschooling is not an obstacle to success, if anything it leaves you more prepared for any education or career goal. Even though a lot of people thought I couldn’t make it in the “real world,” I’ve so far proved them wrong. I haven’t had an issue transitioning to college. I have been given all the motivation and tools I need for success. I’m planning on graduating as an honour student in 2016. So far, my 4.64 GPA isn’t too shabby either.


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Tabitha Reddekop is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. When it comes to writing and reporting, she enjoys covering stories that really pull at the heartstrings. She likes to spend her spare time reading, watching documentaries and taking pictures of her cats. Tabitha hopes to become a reporter for a small community newspaper following graduation.