As homeschooling becomes more and more popular nationwide, even secular universities are seeing an increase of matriculating homeschoolers. This article comes from the Truman State Index:
Homeschooled students adjust to life on campus by Emily Wichmer
Freshman Bethany Boyle’s high school football team is undefeated. She was at the top — and bottom — of her class and her mom was her teacher. Boyle was homeschooled.
This year, many students made the transition from a class size of one to a campus of about 6,000. For these students, the transition has been eye-opening.
“I was homeschooled my entire life, kindergarten through twelfth grade,” Boyle said. “The first week at Truman [State], I had a bit of a culture shock. I just wasn’t used to being around so many people all the time, but it wasn’t bad at all. It just makes college so much more exciting.”
Boyle said she enjoys the different learning styles from her homeschooling experience, even if it required some adjustment. During her military science class, she said all the hands-on work made this course her favorite class.
Freshman Junia Weatherbie, who also was homeschooled, said she enjoys the community at Truman, too.
“I’ve really enjoyed talking to people who are so different than me and having conversations about crazy interesting things that I’ve never heard about,” she said.
College has offered new academic experiences to homeschoolers because it has allowed her to enjoy a variety of classes, Weatherbie said.
Weatherbie said her math class helped her discover a new passion for the subject. She said she didn’t enjoy math while she was homeschooled because she learned everything from a book. At Truman, she said, her calculus teacher presented the concepts in a new and exciting way. She said she enjoyed it so much, she is now considering becoming a math major.
Even though larger class sizes and active participation in class might take some getting used to, Boyle said there are advantages to homeschooling that have helped students in college. She credits her ability to keep up with assignments to her homeschooling experiences.
“The last two years of high school, my mom just gave me my curriculum and I had to pace myself on it, so I know how fast I can get through stuff,” Boyle said. “For example, I know I have to start reading pretty far in advance. I think homeschooling helped me develop study habits and know what I’m capable of.”
Sophomore Stephanie Bleikamp said she thinks homeschooling gave her a leg up during college. She said that homeschoolers have to be self-motivated and responsible for their own education. She said the transition to college was easy because of homeschooling.
Bleikamp said she has found it easy to make friends.
“There are a lot of cool people here,” she said. “It’s funny, though — a lot of people know me for a while before they find out I was homeschooled. They’re really surprised and say that I ‘don’t seem like a homeschooler,’ which is probably meant as a compliment.”
Boyle said she thinks some people have a stereotype associated with homeschoolers — and not a positive one. She said other people have told her that the ‘homeschool stereotype’ is someone who doesn’t know how to relate to people, is a nerd, only stays in his or her room and doesn’t get involved in anything.
“It’s a stereotype from a while ago that hasn’t been re-defined to what homeschoolers are really like today,” she said.
Boyle thinks the “homeschool stereotype” needs to be re-defined, pointing out that homeschoolers are involved around campus.
Boyle is involved with several on-campus groups, including TSODA and University Swingers. She’s also applying for Casa Hispánica, the Spanish Romance Language House in Missouri Hall.
“I think a lot of people I’ve talked to were surprised that I was in band and played soccer in high school, or that I had a graduation ceremony,” she said.
Boyle said the Truman community has been welcoming to homeschoolers and recommends the university to any homeschoolers looking at colleges.
“Truman is a great, friendly place where you can enter college and feel just like everyone else,” Boyle said. “I love it here.”