I’m starting my final semester of college this year, only a few months away from graduating with my 2-year degree in May.
When I first started back in August two years ago, I was understandably worried that I wouldn’t be able to navigate the public education system after being home schooled my whole life. Not because I wouldn’t know how to socialize or because I’d wear suspenders and a straw hat all the time, but because I’d never had to sit through a lecture or take a class from someone who doesn’t also make my supper and tell me to pick up my socks.
Nearly two years into the college experience, I find that college and home school are actually remarkably similar. While I haven’t had a professor actually make me supper or remark on my socks at this point in time, there are many other comparisons I can draw between the two.
For instance, there are instructors who talk for 15 minutes before realizing they went on about a dozen tangents and tangents of tangents—and they weren’t even doing geometry or math.
Not only does that description fit a few of my past instructors, it also describes Mom to a T.
There are also instructors who will answer any question with an excess of explaining because they wind up repeating themselves at least twice.
Again, Mom. She often ends conversations by asking “Have I used enough words yet?” Usually she has.
Or how about the instructor who spends every class until after 11 am drinking coffee/tea/something out of a ginormous mug? I’ve seen several super-jumbo coffee cups in college, but none that top Mom’s coffee bowl-with-a-handle.
And then there are instructors who assign an unreasonable amount of homework. Not only is Mom certifiably unreasonable, but because we’re home schooled, all our work is technically homework. Which, of course, is the oldest home school joke in the book of home school jokes. You have no idea how tired we get of that one.Another instructor all college students learn to dread and even avoid is the one who assigns extra homework over the break.
Now that I’m actually in college, I understand why this is a pain. But back in home school, we didn’t have breaks or days off. Aside from major holidays, our only days off throughout the rest of the year are ones we spend camping, being incredibly busy, or puking in ice cream buckets. Having homework over the break wasn’t a concept I understood until college.
Outside of the many shocking similarities between college professors and my Mom, college and home school are remarkably comparable in several other ways.
In college, there’s always one or two classrooms where it’s freezing cold—regardless of the time of year or how many socks and sweatshirts you put on. That happens in home school, too.
Of course, usually that’s because the “classroom” is a tree stand out in the woods during deer season. Toward Lifetime Health is a required course at my home school. Classroom assignments include everything from digging potatoes in the rain to shoveling six inches of snow off the entire driveway to processing some venison that partially froze during a cold snap while it was hanging in the woodshed.
“Classroom” is one of those words which can be very loosely interpreted when applied to home school.
That’s why the flip side of the classroom temperature scale is another similarity. Not only does every college campus have a set of freezing classrooms, they also have some that are always too warm. Again, Mom is responsible for this.
Her ideal temperature is somewhere in the mid-90’s. Thus, her favorite days to get out and put in the whole garden, do extensive yard work, harvest a gajillion tomatoes, mow the entire lawn, and split and stack firewood for Grandma are always the hottest days. And of course, all those activities are part of Toward Lifetime Health, so we’ll be sweating and getting sunburns while in the “classroom.”
And if we can’t get outside, Mom maintains a warm, stuffy classroom environment by running the oven and all the burners all day long — with no A/C because we’re on a school budget.
I’m telling you, college and home school are practically similar. It’s eerie.
Of course, I’m not blind to the fact that there are MANY things about college and home school which are drastically different. I have yet to take classes with a 7-year-old in college, and as far as I know no one has ever been asked to dissect a deer or a chicken for a biology credit. Still, overall I’m happy to report that college and home school aren’t nearly as different as you might think.