Monday, September 3, 2012

The “Tortured” Student (Guest Post)

This week we have a special guest with us! Nishoni Harvey from Becoming a Humble Homemaker will be doing a series on What I Have Learned From Homeschooling. Today's post is about her journey as a homeschooled child. Wednesday she will talk about how she became the homeschool mom and some of her learning experiences with that. She wraps up the series on Friday with some encouragement for all homeschool moms!

The “Tortured” Student

Having been part of a worldly family—a family that drank, smoked, swore, and more—I was not ready for everything that would change when God got a hold of my parents’ hearts and changed our lives forever. I did not expect to hear, “We will be attending church every service,” or, “We are throwing all of your pants away. You will only wear dresses from now on.” I was baffled by the turn-around in my parents’ vocabulary and amazed at how quickly the drinking, smoking, and partying with family became a thing of the past. All of these changes were good. I liked them. There was one change, however, that I was quite a bit more unsure about… the change in our schooling.

“I’m half way through the year, though,” I was trying to talk reason into my mom, who had just told me she and Dad were considering pulling us out of the public school. “My friends are there, and I really like my teacher… And…” I searched for a valid reason. I knew there had to be one. “…Why homeschooling?”

My mom looked me over, arms crossed and leaning back on one leg, as was her custom. I was not trying to be disrespectful, and I had hoped she knew that. I was just trying to understand. There had been so many changes between this new “God thing”, Grandpa having just died, my changing in the ways Sixth Graders’ did, and now we were going to do school from home? It was all too much, especially for a teen who hated change.

“You’ll be fine,” she said as she pulled me in for a hug. “You’ll be fine. You will learn a lot of things. We’ll learn a lot together. It’ll be okay.”

As a teenager standing in the back

I was not sure if she was trying to convince me or herself, but it turned out that she was right. We were okay. In fact, we were more than okay! I ended up loving homeschooling so much that I now homeschool my own children. She was right about something else too. We… I… did learn a lot, and not just academically. I learned a lot about myself as a person, I learned how to better myself, and I learned to love the new me.

The first thing that comes to my mind that I learned as a homeschooled student is focus. When you are working on your schooling, the world does not stop for your benefit. Life still goes on. I could hear the scratch, scratch, scratch of my sister’s pencil as she scribbled her answers in her own books and the noises my brother made as his pencil become a rocket ship pointed towards the moon. I could hear the television in the living room, although Dad tried to keep it low. Outside, the dogs were barking at the squirrels, and the squirrels were barking at the dogs. With the windows open, I could hear the birds singing and the cattle in the pasture behind our house mooing. There was noise from the kitchen as my mom did her work. There was distraction, but it did not make learning impossible. Instead, it taught me something all of its own. It forced me to hone the ability to focus so I can get tasks completed quicker and with less effort.

Because we used a self-paced curriculum, A.C.E., I also learned self-discipline. I learned how to keep myself on task all the way to the finish. This self-discipline cultivated honesty and responsibility. It kept me from looking ahead in the score keys when I was scoring my own work and simply writing the answers in my book. It taught me to follow a pattern, reach for a goal, and achieve it.

I learned how to study. Many people say they know how to study, but many times homeschooled students actually do. Some colleges prefer a homeschooled student because of their advanced study skills. I became accustomed to using many different resources when studying and learned how to study independently. These are skills that served me well as a college student, later as a teacher, and currently as a writer and Homeschooling Mom.

Although there are many other things I learned as a student, I have only one more thing that I want to focus on. The last thing that I learned was how to branch out and pursue my interests. Because I was homeschooled, I was able to take extra classes that focused on my interests, which included writing, drawing, and painting. At sixteen, I was able to start writing for a local newspaper, called The Blacksburg Times. At seventeen, I was offered a job on staff with another newspaper in a neighboring town as the Crime Journalist. I continued writing throughout college, at which time I was also able to use my learned skills drawing for a curriculum office in Florida. I now have a few poems and a book, “The Fanatics”, published, and a few more books are in the works. I have been able to pursue my passions, and I was able to press on regardless of the bumpy roads I had to journey on. I give God the glory, but I believe He used my homeschooling years as a tool to pave that road. If it had not been for the things I learned through my homeschooling days, none of these may have been possible for me.

There are many other things I also learned as a homeschooling student, and I am sure you can think of many things of your own to add to this small list of mine. What things have you learned as a student? What things have you been able to do because of them?

"Nishoni L. Harvey is a saved, sanctified, and soul-winning Baptist. Her husband, Matthew Harvey, and their three young children serve faithfully at Hope Baptist Church in Harrison, Michigan, where they are active members. A graduate of Landmark Baptist College, Nishoni loves teaching, writing stories and poetry, playing her instruments, and being a homeschooling Mommy.

Nishoni's love for writing started as a young child, at which time she wrote imaginative stories that kept her family in suspense and eager for each new chapter to be completed so they could know what happened next in each tale. She went on to write for the "Blacksburg Times", a newspaper, as a teenager. She further culminated her writing skills by taking a course through the "Institute of Children's Literature" and by gaining her Bachelors in Secondary Education with a major in English. She continues to write often and is always in search of ways to use her talents for GOD.

You can visit her over at Becoming A Humble Homemaker where she blogs about life as a homeschooling homemaker. You can also find her on Facebook.

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