Home Schooling: A Happy Exit from High School

I hated high school.

For the first half of freshman year, I capitalized on my stomach problems to get me out of school. After that stopped working, I wished some life-threatening illness would come and save me.

I was tired of being caged, of being depressed, of feeling like nothing because I would rather read than talk to some guy. I spent every day on the Internet, looking up alternatives to public school. Finally I came across a homeschool website. I fell in love.

For someone who does not do well in crowds, Castro Valley High was the wrong school. It had 2,000 students, and the campus was in no way equipped to handle them -- you didn't walk down the halls, you were "carried" by the river of people.

"I wanted to learn, but I was so bored, I managed to miss any lessons they were able to fit in."
In a school that big, you'd think it would be easy to find friends. It wasn't -- especially if you prefer to hang out with older people. Everyone seemed to ask the same question when picking friends -- are they above me or below me on the social ladder? I guess I was below.

Overcrowded classes meant teachers spent more time yelling, "Stop talking and turn around!" than actually teaching. I wanted to learn, but I was so bored, I managed to miss any lessons they were able to fit in. My homework hardly ever got done, because I didn't want to waste time at home as I did at school. Home was my place to do what school was preventing me from doing: LEARNING something useful.

So I searched for the best way to get out of high school. On websites, I read about home schooling, and it sounded amazing. Like learning about ecology by watching your garden grow. Or learning fractions from recipes. Learning about the real world in the real world seemed like a novel idea

I decided I wanted more than a standard education. I wanted to know useful things, like how to balance a checkbook or do taxes, instead of sitting in a classroom with the football coach shouting something about quadrilaterals.

"Since then, I have taken classes at Chabot Community College, and received a 4.0 my first semester."
I signed up for three online newsletters and telephoned people for information. I read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewellyn (I love the title; it strikes such fear in the hearts of adults). Everyone was open and helpful, and I began to think I might be able to create the life I wanted.

Finally, I presented everything to my mom. As she read the information, I could see the fear in her eyes -- her reason for existing was to make sure I graduated from college. She didn't care if I worked at Taco Bell, as long as I got a degree. But as my mom read more about it and did her own research, she began to love the idea as much as I did. When she said yes, I knew the world was mine. I wrote a letter requesting an "R4 affidavit" from the county. That was all I needed to be free. Once we filled it out and sent it in, we were officially a private school.

Since then, I have taken classes at Chabot Community College, and received a 4.0 my first semester -- something I never achieved in high school. My mom loves to tell everyone who will listen what I'm doing, especially those who told her she was crazy.

By the time my high school class graduates, I will have my Associate of Arts degree and be on my way to a university as a junior. And it is hard to imagine all the life experiences I will have by then. I can do anything and there are no words to describe how great that feels. When I tell people I'm a homeschooler, they have mixed reactions. Many immediately ask, "But what about Prom?" I'm sorry, but if the only reason people go to high school is Prom, there is something incredibly wrong.

A lot of people are supportive. And there's always one who tells me how foolish I am, and how I'm never going to get into college. I just look at them, give them a nice smile, and tell that I'm already in college.

PNS Commentator Megan Moss, 15, is currently homeschooling and attending Chabot Community College in Hayward, CA.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.