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Commentary | VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES

For Her, Home School Is in a Class All by Itself

November 29, 2003|Ashley Semler | Ashley Semler, 15, lives in Malibu.

Home schooling works. You might think it would be so boring, sitting around all day. But that's not all it is. I don't get to go to school dances or football games or hang out with friends like students do in regular schools, but I found that I can do a lot more. Children who are home-schooled have advantages over those who aren't.

I have more one-on-one attention, which has led to better grades. With better grades and more time on my hands, I am able to go out on weekends with friends, spend more time with family members and just get much more done.

I still get to go on field trips to museums and to plays and musicals. I'm motivated to get things done. I also don't have to worry about getting beat up or teased on the bus ride to and from school.

With my mother as my teacher, it does get tough sometimes, as we scream across the "classroom." Maybe a downside is you can't copy off your best friend's paper, if she has geometry the period before you. But at a traditional school, you go to class and have a daily routine. I'm sure that would get boring after a few weeks.

I am learning the same things they teach at a traditional school: how to prove this and that in geometry, how cells divide in biology and what happened 200 years ago. However, I also have everyday situations that I wouldn't otherwise have until I was older and out of school.

I can volunteer at my younger brother and sisters' school one day a week or go to art class with my mom and sometimes get other adult feedback on my schoolwork. I had the opportunity to put together an entire charity drive.

Another point on the bright side is I don't get homework. Well, I guess you could call it homework because all the work I do is at home, but I have more time. I'm still studying as many hours as my friends, because they have wasted hours during the day. If you calculate all the time going to and from school, the time between classes, lunch, nutrition and breaks in class, that is almost three hours a day that they're not doing schoolwork and I am.

I don't just sit around like a couch potato all day. I go out and do things that benefit me. Instead of PE class, I can go to the gym and work out or go surfing with my brother, Shane. That's exercise too. I even get to take part in an out-of-school sport, AYSO soccer.

Finally, studies have shown that children who are home-schooled and have decent SAT scores have a higher probability of getting into college than someone in a traditional school with the same scores. I think children who are home-schooled have an advantage because colleges are looking for more diversity.

All of this is why I think home schooling is a success.

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