2016 Emmett Comer Scholarship Winning Essay by VALARI BRITT WESTEREN

Valari WesterenHomeschooling—The Best Choice For Me

Until I entered the Running Start program for my senior year, I had always enjoyed a homeschool education. When I began high school, I started taking online classes with The Potter’s School; before that, my parents had taught me all my subjects. While I have always enjoyed my homeschooling experience, I did not fully appreciate the many advantages of my unique education until high school.

My father worked for the U.S. military until recently; consequently, my family has had to move all across the world. Sometimes these moves occurred during the school year, which would have really hampered my education if I was not homeschooled. Instead, I could always take my school with me and keep up my studies, especially since I could readily call upon my teachers (my parents) if I needed help. When I moved to Madrid, Spain, just before entering eighth grade, my unique opportunities increased. Now I could take field trips to famous European museums, monuments, and cities to supplement my education. My mother could fit these field trips in at any time during the school year or summer as she saw fit, an advantage less prominent to those enrolled in public or private school. Homeschooling really has offered many opportunities to adapt and even advance my education according to my outward circumstances.

In addition, homeschooling has taught me how to basically teach myself. Without a classroom full of other students, I could learn at my own pace, adjusting my schedule to meet my own needs accordingly. This independence has taught me great time management skills, which I now find essential in the Running Start program. Since I could take most of my subjects without having to speed up or slow down for the convenience of other students, I feel my education has almost always suited itself to me specifically, allowing me to excel to the maximum of my abilities. This also distinguishes me from my peers in public or private school, many of whom have not experienced this individuality in their studies.

I know I have had a unique educational experience for most of my life, and I am proud to share that fact with others. My education never had to suffer heavily from my constantly mobile lifestyle; in fact, in some ways this lifestyle added to my overall academic experience. I have also seen how my time management and individual study skills especially aid me in community college; I have full confidence this advantage will help equip me when I transfer to a four-year university. Even when I have completed college, I know my unique skills and experiences will continue to shape my life and prepare me for the world beyond my home, all thanks to homeschooling.