Homeschooled students given a voice


Kae Yoshii making notes in her notebook at Skyline College

As homeschooling becomes more mainstream the stigma surrounding it slowly fades away.

A growing number of students, in the United States, are being home-schooled. According to a survey conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute, (NHERI), more than 2 million students in 2010 were home-educated. They predict the numbers will continue to grow.

Parents homeschool their children because they want to provide moral teachings and take a nontraditional approach to education, stated by the National Center for Education Statistics.

In the 2011–12 school year, 91 percent of home-schooled students had parents who said that a concern about the environment of other schools was an important reason for home schooling their child, stated NCES.

There are many students in the San Mateo county who’ve been home schooled and transitioned to community college and each individual had a different experience.

Nathan Dubuk, a College of San Mateo student, enjoyed being home-schooled. As a child, he felt his family was able to do things out of the ordinary. He was home schooled by his mother and she’d often plan trips for him and his younger brother.

As Dubuk went into his high school years, he appreciated the fact that he was independent due to his experience with home schooling.

“I feel I have a lot of extra study skills which many students my age lack,” Dubuk said. “I can look at something, which I completely don’t understand and (through) studying and research and I am able to teach it to myself.”

Dubuk, a Communications and Fire Science major, felt the best part of his experience was the flexibility in his curriculum.

“I got to take my time with the subjects I struggled with,” Dubuk said. “Which had I not had the chance, I would’ve fallen behind or given up (on schooling) altogether.”

Because of the unconventional schooling, Dubuk faced difficulties in the operational side of college. The idea of bluebooks and scantrons were foreign to him.

As far as the social aspect, in retrospect, he feels he didn’t miss out, though he did wish he had more of a chance to play sports.

Dubuk felt he spent more time in the world, learning and exploring rather than being stuck in a classroom.

However, he felt those who home school you greatly dictate your experience. The parents have to take initiative to add a social aspect to their children’s lives. It is easy to feel alone and stuck in a hole.

While home schooling is great option for some, it isn’t for everybody.

Hannah Coston, a Skyline College student, experience differed to Dubuk’s.

“I am thankful in hindsight, but it was lonely,” Coston said.

As a child, she liked being home-schooled and growing up with her siblings, but as she got older, she felt deprived of social interaction and craved more structure.

Her mother, the one who home-schooled her, felt that public school’s political ideologies are pushed upon people, which may or may not agree with their family values and beliefs.

As an extroverted individual, it was the hardest for her to not have many social outlets. Due to state regulations, Coston wasn’t able to play sports.

She feels her home schooling experience was greatly impacted by her family’s geographical location, if she had more of home-schoolers in her area, her experience probably would’ve been different.

As difficult transition has been, Coston remains grateful for the experience.

“…not having the peer pressure, really helped me to know who I am,” Coston said. “It wasn’t like I’m trying to be somebody else, and I had time to figure out who I wanted to be.”

Although she feels other societal influences would have challenged her beliefs, which would’ve been beneficial, home schooling gave her a strong moral base.

Jason Ramos, another College of San Mateo student, was not traditionally homeschooled.

Ramos was unschooled, a subset of homeschooling, where the curriculum is chosen by the student themselves. He felt he had freedom to do whatever he wanted and wasn’t forced to sit in a classroom only to come home to do more homework.

“My curriculum was my life, and I learned from everything I did” Ramos said, a math major who plans to transfer to UC Berkeley.

He had the freedom to pursue his curiosities, and wasn’t forced to sit in a classroom only to come home to do more homework. Because of this liberty, Ramos feels his life is much better than it would have been otherwise.

“Being home-schooled helped me understand that every experience can be a learning experience,” Ramos said.