As you have already learned from the introductory article, our family transitions our young people to adults at age 12. It doesn’t actually happen all at once, but a lot of things change. Most of the changes as we grow up are some form of increasing responsibility. How does this affect our school studies?
First, the person responsible for the classes changes. When I started to study computers, I was working in a specialized area, (my parents were not able to teach those classes), so, I became the instructor, as well as the student. As I moved forwards in my studies, more of my classes transitioned to self directed studies. I still have an occasional group class, but most of my work is now on my own. I have also started teaching some of the classes. Once I started a full time job, both group classes and my instruction were cut back.
Teaching a class where you are the only student takes a lot of discipline, and a purpose. At first I was not very good at this, so I received a lot of input from both Mom and Dad. During the previous years of instruction I had learned to follow a schedule, this skill proved to be essential. I had to plan out a course of study, then apply myself to it. This required a Goal. So we started with Goal-setting. Even today I do part of my goal-setting with either one of my parents or a sibling. Then we created a schedule with my various classes. That left me with following the schedule. The first class that fully transitioned was one I liked, so it was easy to motivate to work on it. As others have been added, I have sometimes had to work on making myself get the classes done.
One of the most obvious benefits of self directed studies is the range of knowledge that can be acquired. Because it does not require a specific instructor, there are few areas that can not be learned. (Music has proven very difficult, but a good part of that is my fear of enforcing bad habits in my practice). Once you have taught yourself several new topics, you begin to gain a confidence that allows you to reach for even higher academic goals. Knowing how to teach myself has proven very helpful as I have moved on to a work setting. This is one of the stellar results that becomes possible with a home based education.
“I have not yet begun to learn” - Jeremiah Stover
Having been home educated for my entire education, how do I fit into a work-place? With “Normal” people.
Well, first of all, let me describe my workplace. I work in the computer field for a fortune 500 company. I started with a basic “level one” helpdesk position, answering phone. (I had no ‘previous job experience’ but I did bring a healthy set of certifications with me). My initial training went quickly, and I was able to start taking calls. I was able to consistently meet quotas, and had little difficulty working with the other agents. I was however in for some culture shock, but the job was strenuous enough to discourage idle conversation. I received several commendations, was cross trained in several support roles, and even became a subject expert in a couple of topics. I volunteered, and was approved, to train new people, and was starting to get bored even with that when I transferred out.
Now, I don’t know what you think, but I think I integrated ok. Two years later, all the managers still remember me. Why did it go smoothly? Well, I have discussed that with my parents seeking some insight and we have several ideas. I am not dependent on my peers, I grew up as the eldest in my home, with few outside friends. I don’t have any trouble working with multiple ages, my closest friends are younger siblings. I have taught multiple classes to mixed ages and learning abilities, and I am familiar with having to approach issues from multiple directions to convey meaning. I am not afraid to learn, and try to continually maintain a teachable spirit. I am honest about my skill level and experience, and I was raised with an excellent work ethic. I seek to be friendly and express gratefulness whenever possible.
When I transferred out, it was a short hop to Level two in another set of cubicles in the same office. I did very well there, and still maintain friends with most of my co-workers (some have moved on). After spending about a year there, I had progressed through content expert in several areas, trained a couple of new people, and joined their UNIX support specialty. At that point I moved again, this time to Level three, application support.
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