(Transcribed from a Q & A Facebook Live video with Sarah, dated 2/2/22)
My homeschooling adventure began when I was 14 years old, and really struggling in the public school that I was going to, back in 1991. And we didn’t know anybody else who was homeschooling and hadn’t really heard of anybody else who was homeschooling. My parents actually looked into homeschooling because of some health issues my little sister had. I wonder how many of you started homeschooling because of sickness going around and you weren’t even planning on it? Let me know in the comments!
So, my sister had health problems that couldn’t be handled well in school, and so my mom brought her home, and I was then going to school all alone. It was boring. There was a lot of bullying. I was kind of small for my age and kind of awkward. I only wanted to do art and hated math. So many things I didn’t like about school.
I saw my sister staying home and getting her work done so fast and then getting to do all the things that kids like to do. She got to be with my mom and dad all day. I’d come home from being at school all day long and have to do all the super boring homework that took me as long to get done as my sister’s entire school day. So I started asking my parents to please let me homeschool. They said we’d have to wait until we got our tax return because they had spent a lot of money on my sister’s curriculum. My reply to that was, “Who needs a tax return and who needs curriculum? Aren’t there enough books at the library?”
We had a library just a couple blocks away and what I said made sense to my parents, so after Christmas I got a library card and didn’t go back to school. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. My mom got me 5 or 6 composition journals from the store, and I wrote on the cover of every one of those the subjects I was interested in, and took them to the library with me. I asked the librarian to help me find books on each subject. I had my journals, colored pencils and a giant stack of library books—it looked nothing like a standardized education.
I actually thought I was kind of a dumb, hopeless kid. I failed third grade, I often got Cs and Ds in school. I was so proud of my A in art, and that’s what mattered to me. That first year I got to study what I wanted to study, and that’s the heart of Fun-Schooling. That is what inspired me to create journals specifically for our kids to study their passions.
That first year I studied Ancient Egypt for History and designed my own mummy cases. My parents took me to a couple museums that had displays on Ancient Egypt and I got books on hieroglyphics—I was a super happy kid! But I discovered that I wanted to do much more. I was really interested in the history of fashion and I loved fashion design. So I got a big pile of books on that topic. All of that also qualified for Geography because I was interested in fashion around the world. There was a lot of Social Studies involved in fashion and fashion design as well. I also joined 4H and learned about photography and sewing. I had an interest in genetics. I wanted to learn about what makes us who we are. As part of that I got a bunch of mice from the pet store and started breeding them for my 4H project, and that was my Science. At that point I also fell in love with poetry and I started writing my own poems and copying poetry into my journals, and that was my Language Arts.
The only thing my parents ended up buying curriculum for was some Math stuff, and it was super boring and they didn’t really notice that I didn’t do it that year. My little sister needed a lot of attention, and they’d see me sitting there with my big pile of books and journals. There was a different way I was going to learn Math. (click Page 2 to continue reading)