This weekend, my friend Auveen came over for a sleepover. We have been friends since 5th grade, when we were both avidly reading the Harry Potter series. Yesterday, we made friendship bracelets, watched “The King’s Speech,” (a wonderful movie!) had teatime, and looked through elementary school yearbooks. This morning, Auveen interviewed me about home schooling. I thought her interview would make an interesting post. Here it is.
Auveen: Why did you choose to home school?
Natalie: We began thinking about home schooling as far back as 4th grade. I was very happy at my elementary school, UCLA Lab School (your elementary school too) and the thought of starting at another school in 7th grade, possibly for only two years, did not appeal to any of us. My mom had long found the idea of middle school insensitive and harsh, and my dad and I agreed that it would be fun, interesting, and educational to learn our own way for 7th and 8th grade. In fall of 6th grade, my last year at UCLA Lab School, we toured a local K-8 school, just in case it felt like a good fit. While everybody there seemed friendly and welcoming and the classes interesting, we decided on the way home that we would rather explore, delve, and forge our own educational trail for the next two years. That’s what we did!
Auveen: What was your reaction to finding out you were going to be home schooled?
Natalie: It really came down to a family decision. We had been considering home schooling during middle school for so long that when we finally made our decision, it felt very natural. I was excited, and a few weeks before we began 7th grade, I remember drafting curriculum ideas at 5 o’clock in the morning, jet-lagged after returning from a 2-week trip to England. As far back as 4th grade, I was making lists of classics I wanted to read “when we home schooled.”
Auveen: How would your five-year-old self react if you told her that you would be home schooled during 7th and 8th grade?
Natalie: First, I would probably ask, “What’s home schooling?” Then I’d say, “Well of course we would home school. Don’t we already learn at home anyways?” I might add, “But 7th grade is forever away! I’ll never be 12!”
Auveen: What strategies have you taken from home schooling to high school?
Natalie: I believe home schooling made me a very focused and directed learner, as a day at Applewood was always full and multilayered. Home schooling was also very question based, so that I have carried that inquisitiveness with me to high school. “The Applewood Quarterly” made me very much more comfortable with nonfiction writing than I ever had been before, and I also learned to enjoy research, a skill I have been able to further develop in my first trimester at Vistamar High School. I also became very thorough and detailed with my work while at Applewood, and I’m actually needing to learn to lay back a bit now that I have begun high school, so that I don’t make two hours of homework last four.
We’re now off to bake cookies!