Amelia Freidline was homeschooled from first grade through 12th grade. Since 2008 when she graduated college, Amelia has worked as a copy editor and page designer for The Packer, a weekly business newspaper for the fresh produce industry, and has also worked as a freelance copy editor for Darling Magazine since 2012. She lives with her parents and Scottish terrier and is involved with ministries at her church. She wants to keep developing her writing and photography skills to glorify God and serve others.
What years were you homeschooled?
I was homeschooled grades 1-12. I didn’t have formal preschool/kindergarten years.
Did you have any experience with other schooling systems: public school/private school/charter school/etc.?
In my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I took science classes with a group of other homeschoolers. I took courses at our local community college during my junior and senior years and graduated high school with a year of college completed.
How does homeschooling compare with those other experiences?
Since I’m an only child, it was certainly different to have classmates in my science classes and college courses. Learning in an environment with other people made for some distractions and less individual time with instructors, but it also gave me an opportunity to hear different perspectives and experiences.
I think the quality of all three forms of education was equal, given the subjects and circumstances. I certainly didn’t feel like homeschooling left me ill-prepared for higher learning.
How did homeschooling affect the person you are today?
Opportunities and experiences I was able to have as a homeschooler helped me discover my love (and, so my parents said, my gift) for writing, which, in turn, allowed me to take college-level writing courses in my last two years of high school. That was when I decided I was going to be a copy editor (I’d decided on a journalism major already), so being homeschooled had a direct effect on my career choice.
The flexibility of homeschooling also allowed us to travel or attend events during “normal” school hours, and many of those experiences helped shape my interests, passions and understanding of the world.
Knowing what you do now, is there anything you would have wanted to change during your homeschooling years?
I discovered in college that time management is not one of my strong points, and I often caused myself unnecessary stress or problems by procrastinating on assignments or projects. I wish I would have taken this weak point more seriously in my homeschooling years than I did and learned to plan my time better.
What advantages, if any, do you see with homeschooling?
Flexibility; the ability to tailor curricula to your family’s and children’s needs and interests; more one-on-one time between teachers and students; the ability to be directly involved in your child’s education and choose what they do or don’t learn and from what perspective.
What disadvantages, if any, do you see with homeschooling?
For parents: It takes a lot of time, energy and dedication, so things can sometimes get pushed under the rug or problems or difficulties can go unnoticed or unaddressed.
For kids: If we’re not careful, I think homeschoolers can adopt the (very wrong) attitude that we’re superior to those who aren’t homeschooled and that other methods of education are by their very nature “wrong.” Homeschooling has many advantages to other forms of education in terms of quality, personal attention and encouraging instruction in God’s truth, but kids who go to private or public school can also be brilliant, well-instructed and dedicated to God.
What surprised/challenged you the most about homeschooling?
Since homeschooling was my first and primary education experience until college, nothing sticks out as surprising or challenging specifically in regard to homeschooling. The learning process brought surprises and challenges of its own, but that’s to be expected for any child in any situation.
Would you homeschool your own kids? Why or why not?
In a heartbeat! I loved being homeschooled and I appreciate all the effort and sacrifice my parents put in to giving me the best education they possibly could.
There are so many disciplines and subjects that well-educated people of centuries (or even decades) past learned that modern teachers simply don’t have time for (logic, rhetoric, Latin … even handwriting!). If I have kids someday, I want to raise them to be men and women who will influence the world for good – and I think well-shaped, well-trained, well-disciplined minds are a crucial part of that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
As much as I love homeschooling and would encourage people to explore it as an education option, I would have to say it’s not for everyone or every scenario.
Some children might greatly benefit from homeschooling and flourish through it, while others might need resources, training, special programs, etc., not available in a homeschooling context.
My mom has always said that it’s a parent’s responsibility to be a “student of their child,” to get to know and understand how each individual child learns and processes, what their passions, strengths and weaknesses are, etc.
Being a good student of your child requires choosing the best method of education for them and having the humility to recognize areas where you might need outside or additional help.
Also: There are plenty of stereotypes of homeschoolers, many of which are just silly, but some which ring true on closer examination. Don’t be afraid of stereotypes, but don’t unnecessarily play into them, either.
We’re always looking for more people to feature on our “Homeschool Alumni” series. If you know anyone who would be a great candidate for us to consider, feel free to submit a guest post query. Thanks!