Julie Lyles Carr: The Great Social Experiment

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Great Social Experiment

You certainly hope it's going to work.

This whole homeschool thing.

When 1 of 8 asked to come home to school in 1999, I was willing. She wanted to have more time to dance, wanted to be able to take more classes. She wanted more time to read. She wanted more creative time.

We had a great public school experience. Her teachers were loving and supportive. 1 of 8 had lots of dear friends, friends she is still close to today. We didn't make the decision to homeschool based on what was going wrong.

We made the decision to homeschool based on what was going right.

What was going right was 1 of 8's dance experience. What was going right was a strong friendship with another homeschool family and the opportunity to do some traveling with them as part of their family business. What was going right was 1 of 8's creative bent, a creativity that was pushing her to learn more, faster, deeper and farther.

And so she came home.

Now push the fast forward button.

By the time 1 of 8 entered her high school years, homeschooling in general was a far more accepted option than when we had started. But the high school years made me a bit more nervous. It seemed there was more at stake, more paperwork, more of a need to validate all the things she had accomplished.

And there was the daunting question: had this Great Social Experiment actually worked?

1 of 8 entered a major university last week as a sophomore, a sack full of credit hours already earned through a dual credit program with a local college and a smattering of distance learning. She is a double major, in foreign language as a French major and in science as a Neuro-Biology major.

And when her acceptance letter came in the mail, you may have heard me.

It was that big "Whew!"

Because while we knew of 1 of 8's diligence and hard work, we were concerned that those unfamiliar with homeschooling or those philosophically opposed might make the crossing a bit more treacherous.

We needn't have worried.

It's been a delight to see how seamless the transition has been.

1 of 8 has been photo-cataloging her experience and I'll be posting her observations and thoughts here throughout the week. For those of you who homeschool, I'll try to provide answers to the questions I've had throughout the high school years. And for those of you who don't homeschool, perhaps this will provide a peek into how the whole thing works.

But one way or another, it's been exhilarating to watch the process, to see 1 of 8 take command of her education, to find the information, to prep for the tests, to complete the forms and to answer the questions.

And to see our Great Social Experiement come to fruition.

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