Homeschooler, speaks 7 languages
As someone who decided to quit formal school and instead become a homeschooled student, I am arguably the right person to recognize the differences between the two.
One main distinction about homeschooling is there is no restriction nor obligation to learn. There is no fixed rule to what, when, how and from whom we should learn. I personally arrange my own schedule, choose what I want to learn and set my own targets. However, of course, my parents have the role in monitoring my progress.
Imagine you are sitting at an empty dining table and your stomach is empty, where then this encourages you to search the menu and pick whatever you want to eat according to your taste. But imagine again that the table is already filled with dishes, preventing you from choosing what you prefer. Even if you do not like the dishes presented in front of you, or worse are allergic to the dishes, you still have to consume what’s offered.
During homeschooling, my parents never compel me to study nor choose the subjects that I should learn – there is no food being served on my table. Yet, I am motivated to study and find it fantastic compared to during my formal schooling days, where I had no desire to learn because the "system" insisted I learn what was not really necessary for me or, sometimes, what I did not really like.
My drive to learn developed ever since I freed up my time, as in not studying anything – just like a starving person at an empty dining table, I became motivated to search and select what I wanted to consume. I am also committed to following my own schedule, which was filled with subjects that I am passionate about and skills that I wanted to pursue professionally.
After becoming a homeschooled student, I am grateful to have more time to study history, writing, foreign languages, religion as well as conducting my own outdoor hobbies such as archery and camping. Homeschooling also enables you to study something using your own learning method and from using any source: books, websites, videos, experiences and professional people around you.
I will be joining this year's national examination and yes, homeschoolers can enroll to higher education. In fact, some have been able to go to college at a much younger age than formally educated students. It’s no surprise, since studying on your own could also result in more effective and faster learning.
As for the preconception that homeschoolers can be socially awkward, I can attest that we socialize – also even with people of different ages and various backgrounds.
However, whether you are being homeschooled or attending a formal school, the most important thing is to seize the opportunity to learn the skills you are truly passionate about, which can lead you to becoming a successful professional in the future.
Alifia Afflatus Zahra is a 13-year-old girl from Semarang, Central Java, who quit formal school two years ago for homeschooling. She blogs at hs-po.blogspot.com and enjoys writing about home education, children, teens, history, nature, politics, religion, social issues and travel.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.