Announcing the Winner of the 2015 Emmett Comer Scholarship

The Washington Homeschool Scholarship Selection Committee is pleased to announce the

winner of the 2015 Emmett Comer Scholarship:

Kimberly Ruth

Kimberly lives in Bellevue. She chose the essay topic: “What advantages have you experienced

through your homeschool education”. You will enjoy reading her winning essay here. Kimberly

has won $1,000.00 to be used for her future education goals.


Emmett Comer Scholarship essay:

What Advantages I Have Experienced Through My Homeschool Education

Whenever I’m asked what it’s like to be homeschooled, I feel like a fish asked to describe water. Though I’ve developed a few standard answers over the years, I still find it difficult to explain, in just a few words, what it means to live in a house filled with knowledge, where learning is as natural as breathing.

In my homeschool environment, living and learning go hand in hand. School is not something that happens to me at an outside location; it’s a way of life, and it’s become an integral part of who I am. In my family room, a homemade timeline of world history perches above the fireplace. Maps and graphs cover the walls that aren’t already covered by six-foot bookshelves. Furniture is moved to make room for an 8’x12’ green screen. It’s not uncommon to see a cat sunning itself beside the box of microscope accessories. To the untrained eye, our house looks as if a library, a laboratory, an office supply store, and a tornado took over the interior decorating. To me, everything is exactly where it should be.

I share this world with the rest of my family; we get to spend a lot of time together. Instead of being separated by grade, my brother and I are best friends and study buddies. Homeschooling allows us to analyze literature together, read aloud from The Economist while we prepare dinner, and watch and discuss Great Courses DVD lectures on subjects ranging from philosophy to structural engineering.

My own schoolwork is tailored to my interests. I am an avid math and computer science student, so we designed my curriculum to nurture those interests. Homeschooling also gives me the flexibility to add special projects into the mix. For instance, I started an initiative to help show the elegant side of math to students who are on the fence about the subject; I call it Go Figure. I launched a website,, as well as conducted local presentations and ran an activity booth at the 2014 WHO Convention. Go Figure and other nontraditional projects have been unique learning experiences that are more hands-on and more interdisciplinary than conventional classroom learning.

With this flexible schoolwork comes a flexible schedule as well. I appreciate having the freedom to define my own rhythm for getting things done. What’s more, most of my work is self-study now, so I manage how long I spend on each subject and how much time I allocate for my independent projects, making sure I meet required deadlines. Over the years I’ve built up the responsibility to take charge of my education and become a self-driven learner. I know I will need this autonomy in college and beyond, and I believe this is the most important thing that homeschooling has given me.

Though my homeschooling years are coming to a culmination, I am looking forward to a lifetime of learning and growing ahead of me. I know I will always be a homeschooler at heart.