Formerly homeschooled students use experiences in high school setting

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

Homeschool is more than kids sitting in their pajamas and watching cartoons — for some, it can be integral to their learning.

Mason High School has many electives tailored towards certain majors, high performing athletics, fantastic music and art programs, and our overall sense of community. Students from all walks of life walk the school’s halls and they didn’t all get here the same way — formerly homeschooled students that have found their way back to public school are taking advantage of these assets.

There are various reasons parents would have their child start homeschooling. In the case of senior Abigail Zimmerman, it was for religious reasons. Her parents felt that they could teach her the needed material for the level she was at, and Zimmerman could also study her religion and spend more time with her family.

“I started homeschooling in first grade,” Zimmerman said. “I went to preschool at Hope Church and kindergarten at Mason. One thing my parents didn’t like was in first grade you started the whole day schedule, so they didn’t like that me as a six, seven year old being away from them for the whole day. They are also both strong Christians, and wanted to be able to teach me about the Bible, which I couldn’t get at regular school.”

An average day in the life of a homeschooled student is not far off a normal day at MHS. Zimmerman was not allowed to sleep in, or lounge around the house. She said that this taught her how to prepare herself for the day without a hard set schedule. Zimmerman then had major subject areas that she and her mom focused on, and Zimmerman had a study group that met once a week to regroup.

“An average day of homeschooling was getting up early, and I was not allowed to stay in my PJ’s,” Zimmerman said. “We would start school with Bible study then we covered the core topics. Sometimes we would go to museums, but I also spent a lot of time alone reading. And once a week I would have a co-op, which is basically a school for homeschoolers.”

Apart from religion and family time, homeschooling can be a better option for some students with conditions that may inhibit their work at traditional schools. Senior Ella Prittie had social anxiety in her younger years, so going to school with 20-30 kids in a class was not a good fit.

“I would end up in the nurse’s office every day cause I was so anxious and I would throw up,” Prittie said. “I started in second grade. I came back to Mason in eighth grade. So [homeschooling] was an easier way for me to get school done. I also did a co-op program and a program seventh and eighth grade called PEP in which is 2 days a week. They give you all your homework, that way your parents don’t have to teach the curriculum.”

Parents want the best for their kids, and they want them to have fun and be involved. In homeschooling, one would think students don’t get out much. But Prittie worked around this flaw and still got to be apart of athletics and friend groups like most children.

“I’m a super outgoing person so it wasn’t really an issue,” Prittie said. “When you are trying to get involved outside of homeschool it can be very limiting but I made it work. I was on a homeschool volleyball team, and the dance team I’m on right now I was on when I was homeschooled. So it wasn’t too bad.”

Homeschooling and public school prepare students for different areas. College prep is a huge reason many homeschoolers rejoin the system. Students have to decide what major they want to study in college, write their essays, get teacher recommendations, state tests, AP and or honors courses are all very important and contributing factors to why Zimmerman came back to Mason.

“I think MHS has prepared me wonderfully for college and I wouldn’t be the same student without it,” Zimmerman said. “This school has given me a lot of opportunities, but if I was still homeschooled I don’t think I would be less prepared for college because my parents would have found the best way to prepare me for that. The college I’m going to is small, so Mason has prepared me for the big class size and homeschool prepared me for the smaller class size.”

Photos by Mia Sweitzer.