This last interview will cover an additional co-op in St. Louis by the name of the St. Louis Homeschool Network. In this interview, Kayla, a student attending Meramec Community College who was also previously a member of this group, will talk about the differences between things like Homelink and this smaller co-op, as as well as how this group has fit into her unique social experiences and hobbies.
The demographic of this group differs in many ways—particularly the parents of the group, who Kayla mentioned to be much more lax and personable. Kayla said, “I also went to SCCHE, which is basically like HomeLink, but in St. Peters. When I went there for my senior year, it was also very Christian and there were a lot of rules. Rules like, ‘You cannot hug a person for more than two seconds.’ Our group (SLHN) was more like the parents of the group—well, instead of being our teachers they were our parents. They would all talk to us about stuff and be like, ‘In the future you’re probably going to get in trouble and you can call me. At any time.’ They were always there if you needed them. They adopted you, pretty much.” In addition to that, Kayla was very explicit in how she felt about her social connections to the other members in the group. Many of these kids have known each other since a very young age. She said, “I mean, it was like a family. We were so much closer than public schooled people seem to be. We were everybody’s everything.” In this group, parents did teach many of the classes. Kayla said, “Basically we had the different classes we would sign up for—because different parents had different degrees: Biology, writing, whatever. We would all meet up, but it wouldn’t be like a class where we sit and write everything down the teacher says—it was very hands-on learning—more than, you know, I think we would’ve anywhere else. We would spend hours on projects until everyone understood it.” To build off of that, Kayla said being homeschooled in that way made Meramec significantly easier. She said, “If you go to HomeLink or SCCHE, it’s more like a college setting. By doing that, it prepared me for college and it just prepared me for life in general.” Kayla explained that by being homeschooled, she was done with high school English and honors chemistry before she started the 10th grade, but was able to spend time on math, which she struggles with.
In addition to the educational aspect of homeschooling, another area of concern for many oblivious public-schoolers is how homeschooling fits into various hobbies, such as sports. Kayla spent much of her high school career on a homeschool volleyball team, which is just one of the many ways you can become involved in sports. Kayla said, “I did it though The Panthers. It was like a private select team, where you had to be chosen and try out every year. You also had to be homeschooled to be on the team. We played some homeschool teams, but we played most of the public and private schools, and we played teams from Nebraska, Arkansas, Oregon, all-around Missouri, Texas, Florida.”
One of the things Kayla wants people to know about homeschooling, is that many homeschoolers are quite successful, despite the stereotype that they sometimes aren’t. She said, “They look at you like you’re somehow… stupider? I have a lot of relatives who question my education, like ‘Are you really learning?’ It was just a lot of doubt and judgment.” Kayla will be graduating from Meramec next May with a current GPA of 4.1. From there on, she will transfer to a bigger university and work her way towards becoming an occupational therapist for kids with disabilities and special needs.
Shortly, I will post a short summary and explanation of the ideas, insight, and information gathered on homeschooling practices in St. Louis.