Last week, daughter, homeschool graduate and now blogger, Lauren Meeks, started to share some of the less-academic things she learned from her years as a homeschooled student. This week she finishes up the list…for now, at least ;-)!
7) You learned the value of family. My siblings and I fought like cats and dogs. Sometimes my parents, as well. But despite all of the crap that we put each other through for so many years, we are all still around. We’re all still here, and eager to be in each other’s lives. I can’t say the same for a single friend I had in middle school or high school, and very few friends are still around even from the college years. The old adage “blood is thicker than water” is definitely true. Your family may drive you absolutely crazy, you may scream and yell at each other or simply be passive aggressive when you’re together, but they’re still your family, and they still love you. And that’s an incredible gift. Don’t take it for granted.
8) You learned how to become a trend-setter, not a trend-follower. Or at the very least, learn how to march to the beat of your own drum and be okay with your own music. I never wore a jean jumper or had my mom cut my hair. But I did wear scrunchies in my hair and boy shorts and didn’t wear makeup or heels or any of the other “cool” stuff that the popular girls in school were doing. But I didn’t even realize that that was odd because I was surrounded by people who accepted me for who I was. Now that I’m older, I still feel no pressure to follow the trends. I’ve developed my own style – a woman who wears shirts with lots of geometric cutouts and simple jewelry and light makeup and sensible but cute shoes. And, judging from the amount of compliments that I get on my style, I think I’m doing just fine not following the trends.
9) You learned the value of delayed gratification. I started asking my parents to pierce my ears when I was 7. Asking is an understatement. I begged and pleaded with them most ardently. I wanted it soooo badly. But it was 5 years before they relented. Similarly, I had to endure 3 years of begging before they let me get a cell phone. At the time, that waiting seemed like absolute torture. But now I’ve learned how to wait when I want things – I’ve learned the value of delayed gratification. It’s an invaluable lesson, especially when you are an adult with access to thousands of dollars of credit lines that can really get you into trouble if you’re not careful. Rather than charging anything that interests me to my credit card and then worrying about paying for it later, I have learned to wait and save my money until I can afford to buy something outright.
10) You learned how to notice and take care of people less fortunate than yourself. Volunteering was big in my homeschool community. We went to soup kitchens, read bingo numbers for senior citizens on bingo night, did car wash fundraisers for community and global outreach programs, picked up trash on the side of highways, and more. Reaching out to and helping people less fortunate than myself taught me that life isn’t all about me. I am not the center of the universe, and in fact the best way to get the most out of my own life is to give it away and help someone else.
11) You learned how to stand up to peer pressure. The statement that homeschoolers don’t experience peer pressure is a lie. But many of them don’t experience peer pressure until after they’ve graduated high school. This was definitely the case for me. I had tons of peer pressure in college – to skip class, drink, smoke, do drugs, have sex, and all sorts of other things that went against my beliefs. But by that time I had had 17 years of time to build a solid foundation. I was no longer worried about fitting in or being cool – I knew who I was and I liked who I was, and if you weren’t ok with that then we probably just weren’t going to be friends. While peer pressure existed in my life, it was not a concern, and I was still able to consistently make good choices, even when I was no longer under the watchful eyes of my parents.
12) You learned how to have an imagination. I didn’t have a lot of fancy toys growing up. I also didn’t have all of the fun extracurricular activities built right into my schedule, like you’d find at a more traditional school. So I had to get creative. I made characters and stories out of anything I could find in the backyard. I sought out community groups that I could get plugged into – dance, acting, soccer, baseball, yearbook committees, party planning, volunteering…you name it, I probably did it in high school. I didn’t do it because it was easy or “just there;” quite the contrary, actually. I did it because I didn’t have a lot of activities right at my fingertips, and so I had to be creative and inventive in the ways I entertained myself. That skill has served me well throughout my life. After all, boredom is nothing more than a lack of creativity!
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Lauren Meeks is a travel junkie and life enthusiast. She believes that everyone has a story, and writes to share her story and help others develop theirs. To get more inspiring articles delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for her newsletter at Forging Significance. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
Latest posts by Lauren Meeks (see all)
- Letter from a Homeschool Graduate – April 25, 2017
- 12 Things You Learned if You Were Homeschooled – Part 2 – April 12, 2016
- 12 Things You Learned if You Were Homeschooled – Part 1 – April 5, 2016