Public School Was the Worst — Luckily I Had Options
Clara M. Brashear, Foundation for Economic Education
Having the choice of where and how to get my education has been a fantastic journey for me so far. Even though I’ve never been technically homeschooled, I started schooling at home when I was in 6th grade. My experience in traditional public school taught me that overall, my natural curiosity and desire to learn was deteriorating due to many reasons, including early start times and a lack of sleep, lack of free time due to excess busy work, negative peer influences, and other environmental factors not conducive to learning.
Like most kids, I used to be excited about many topics but, with time, I came to dread going to school. My mom would help me with my math until late into the night. I remember crying most nights because I was so tired. I only seemed to truly understand my homework when mom would help me and, as a result, we saw no point in going to school when I was doing most of my learning at home.
Options Lead to More Options
I started taking online classes through a virtual public charter school. This was not an easy transition: it took a year to really get used to this new way of learning and my mom was helping me a lot with academics both inside and outside our house. We went on tons of field trips. We toured museums, dairy farms, did glass blowing, saw shows at the theater, toured radio and tv stations, and attended many other events with other homeschoolers. The best part was that this new way of schooling opened up so much free time for me to explore new ideas, sports, and activities.
I started swimming and riding horses competitively and played tennis several times a week. Once a week, I attended a co-op and took classes with other homeschoolers. I learned how to camp, and our group went on trekking excursions on the Appalachian Trail. I also took a biology class that allowed me to participate in messy experiments (like dissections) that mom wouldn’t let me do at home.