By guest author Amber Schamel
People considering homeschooling their children often ask me about my experience as a homeschool graduate. They wonder if I ever felt handicapped by my education, or if social interaction was difficult for me. If they will be investing all that time into their child, will it really make a difference?
It did for me.
I’ve never attended public or private school. My parents provided me wtih my initial education and evening continuing education after home high school graduation, and I have to say I never felt handicapped. Au contraire.
I hope that through my testimony in this article, you will see that the freedom and customization of homeschooling and mentorship is an invaluable asset. I also hope it will help you understand why “Homeschool Alumni” is a badge I wear with pride. And if the day and opportunity should come, I will excitedly homeschool my own children.
Besides the strong foundation of faith and conviction that my parents instilled in me, I think the most valuable thing the homeschooling experience gave me was a unique mindset toward learning. I learned how to learn. And usually I didn’t have to go to a class or college to learn.
With the research and communication tools out there today, it is possible for a person to educate himself in almost every subject. Because of this I learned many skills through apprenticeship and informal education. While I do not hold a certification in particular subjects, I have learned from CPAs, business owners, CEOs, and tax attorneys.
My parents taught me that determination and willingness to learn will get you far. They were right. This mindset has propelled me further ahead than any textbook every could, and it is something I likely would not have learned in a traditional school environment.
Homeschool also allowed my parents and me to customize my schooling to fit my interests and callings. Instead of advanced math classes, my parents chose to provide me with business and practical math. This allowed me to take over as the bookkeeper for our family businesses after my graduation from home high school.
The freedom of learning outside a classroom permitted me to hone-in on certain subjects so I not only learned them extensively but also experienced them.
Instead of going through any single history class, I read countless books, attended living history days, visited historical museums, and walked many battlefields. It created in me an almost obsessive love of history—which led me to one of my favorite pursuits, historical fiction writing.
I’ve always had a vivid imagination; my brother claims I was a living musical as a kid! I didn’t consider writing book until I was in home high school, and it wasn’t something I necessarily aspired to do. I feel it was more of a calling on my life.
From a very early age I loved books. I would go to the library and check out a stack of books—some fiction, some nonfiction—and I would read them all! As I grew older, entering home junior and senior high school, I became more and more frustrated with the kinds of books available to me.
I greatly enjoy fiction along with many other genres, but it was getting to where every fiction book I got my hands on had immorality, rebellion, feminism, or anti-biblical worldviews. I would look at the book and think, “This is for adolescent girls?” It grieved me, but I didn’t know what to do.
My epiphany came a few months later when I was reading an old book that I had picked up in an antique shop in Arkansas. In the midst of the story, in a place that felt perfectly natural, I read this:
How long will heartless, soulless wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters waltz moth-like round the consuming flame of fashion, whom by neglecting their duty, and deserting their sphere drive their husbands, sons, and brothers out into the world, reckless and depraved, calloused in heart, and irrevocably laid on the altar of mammon. God help the women of America! (Beulah by Augusta Evans, 1859, Public Domain).
This is what young ladies were reading in their novels in the mid-1800s! Something that encouraged them to go back the Biblical model of femininity and sincerity. It was then that a vision was cast in my life to create stories that would be excellently written with riveting tales, yet upholding the biblical principles I hold dear, and promoting the morality which Christ desires.
I was a scary aspiration, but I said, “Lord, for your servant David you ‘taught his hands to war’ and you honored his efforts. You know why I’m doing this, so I’m asking, ‘Please, Lord. Teach my hands to write.'”
It’s been a long process, and I learn more everyday. Six books later, the Lord has proved Himself faithful. I have been so humbled by the opportunities He has provided me—from interacting with authors I admire, to joining those names in the top 5 of the Amazon Christmas Bestsellers list, to having Dawn of Liberty named Book of the Year by the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). I look back and know that without the Lord’s guidance and the foundation set forth by my parents in homeschool, I would not be where I am today. I pray someday I can recompense them for their investment in me.
Article originally published in the Homeschool Update Magazine vol. 3, issue 99, 2017. You can subscribe to receive the Update for free here.