“I believe that requiring my parents to have more than a high school education would have made a significant difference, as well as requiring a state-certified or licensed professional to evaluate an annual portfolio. It was far too easy to outright lie in the portfolios we submitted to our umbrella school. Simply being asked to take a standardized test is not enough.”
I was homeschooled from 1st grade until my high school “graduation” in 2005. I was homeschooled in Iceland, New Mexico, and Florida.
My education was inadequate in the following ways:
My parents did not know how to teach me any form of math beyond basic arithmetic, and once I reached algebra in high school I was forced to try to teach it to myself. I was unsuccessful, but attributed my inability to being a woman, as I’d been taught that women were innately incapable of understanding higher math.
My science education is nonexistent. Because I did not understand algebra, I also didn’t understand physics. I had grown up wanting to be an astrophysicist, but I knew that with no math or science background in high school I wouldn’t be able to survive college courses, and I didn’t have the money to “waste time” on taking remedial courses. My year studying “biology” was mostly a waste as the textbook focused on ridiculing straw men they’d built of Evolutionary theory. The rest of it was an argument for literal 6-day young earth Creationism. I didn’t even attempt any other science courses in high school.
I read many “classic” books in high school, but I read them without any form of guidance and graduated without any understanding about themes, motifs, poetic imagery, or how literature can function as social criticism. I also did not read anything written by a non-white person who lived after 1910.
My high school education took place in Florida, and we took advantage of the “umbrella school” option, which meant that we faced no requirements on our education whatsoever. Technically we were supposed to maintain a “portfolio” but no one asked to look at it the entire 10 years my parents were homeschooling me and my sister in the state of Florida.
My parents were not qualified to teach me any of the high school subjects, as my mother had only a high school diploma and my father had a GED. They could barely remember their own high school educations, so any request for their help resulted in them trying to re-teach themselves the concept before attempting to explain it to me; however, because they didn’t understand these concepts well enough, they couldn’t explain it in a way I could understand.
I believe that requiring my parents to have more than a high school education would have made a significant difference, as well as requiring a state-certified or licensed professional to evaluate an annual portfolio. It was far too easy to outright lie in the portfolios we submitted to our umbrella school. Simply being asked to take a standardized test is not enough, as I took them every year and got better-than-average scores in every subject; I knew enough about spelling and grammar and arithmetic to get by.
Samantha Field was homeschooled from 1993 through 2005 in Iceland, New Mexico, and Florida. For additional thoughts and experiences from other homeschool alumni, see our Testimonials page.