February 16, 2010

An Inspirational Homeschool Graduate!

Today as we continue the 'homeschool' week, I have some interviews to share over the next few days!

My first guest, I'm proud to say, is one of my younger brothers. We spent many mornings side by side doing school work. Although he enjoyed bookwork a lot less than I, little did I expect what he would work toward after high school.

Briefly describe your program and what career you hope to pursue with your degree.

I am currently attending Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina University-College) in my third year of studies. I have completed a Diploma in Resource Management (two years,) and I am now working towards my degree in Natural Resource Protection. My degree focuses on protecting our natural resources by research, education and enforcement. People ask me all the time what is my “dream job?” I tell them I still don't know for sure. There are so many jobs I still want to experience and over the next few years many doors are opening. I currently work as a research biologist when I am not in school, and I love it. I am constantly on the look out for new opportunities and I am excited to see what the future has in store for me.

Why did or didn't you appreciate homeschooling?
I have a great appreciation for homeschooling families and think that it can be beneficial in many ways. I think a student's personality definitely has a large part to play in their homeschooling success. I enjoyed being homeschooled because of my learning habits and my introverted personality.

Would you call yourself an "academic" growing up?
I never thought about attending college when I was in highschool, but over the years circumstances led me back to the books. As a student in highschool I never “enjoyed” school, I never had great grades, and I was happy to just get by. I did however like specific classes more than others, especially the sciences. My enjoyment of the sciences led me to my studies today and although I may not have considered myself an academic in highschool, I definitely do now.

When did you decide you would pursue post-secondary education?
I chose to go to university after being out of highschool for a few years (graduated in 2003, started university fall 2007.) The leading reason for returning to school was expanded opportunities. I had been working for a painting company for a number of years and I knew painting was something I did not want to do for the rest of my life. My love for camping, fishing, and hiking paved the way to the Natural Resource Management Program at Vancouver Island University.

What academic preparation did homeschooling give you for entering college?
After completing highschool I felt I was academically prepared for college/university. I had completed my highschool Diploma and I met all the requirements for the program. Although I met the requirements I decided to take some preliminary courses to become more comfortable with college/university standards before diving into 5/6 courses per semester.

What additional formal preparation did you need?
Two years after completing highschool I spent a year in the local ABE (Adult Based Education) program. I upgraded my math to achieve a better grade and completed Chemistry 11, because it was not available to me during my highschooling years. I then took a first year university level English composition course and a first year Statistics course to make my first year of university lighter. Although I did meet the requirements for the program it was my choice to slowly transition into university so it would not be an academic shock.

How did homeschooling prepare you "socially" for the classroom atmosphere?
I always think, what would I have been like (socially) if I had been to public school. During the highschool years I had a few very good friends who were also homeschooled. As students we sometimes had “study days” together or one of the moms would teach a subject to all of us (history, science or Renaissance.) This did provide a group learning environment but I never had the experience of a classroom setting with 20+ students. The first time I ever sat in a lecture hall (200+ students) it was overwhelming, but I actually liked it.

What studying techniques did homeschooling provide, or not provide, that have been helpful in your program at college?
Over the past years at university this subject has been brought up many times. I definitely feel that homeschooling has given me some distinct advantages over public school when it comes to study techniques. I find that I am very self motivated, and I see the advantages of getting assignments done early better than the average public school graduate. I know this is directly related to homeschooling and this has greatly benefited me in both university and the work place. On the flip side, my note taking skills were minimal or non-existent when I started university. I quickly noticed they were in need of great improvement and this was definitely a steep learning curve during the first year of university. Overall I felt my studying techniques were adequate in most areas, but some definitely needed improvement.

Advice you could offer to a newly graduated homeschooler feeling intimidated about entering post-secondary classroom.
Over the years I have talked to a few soon to be homeschool graduates about continuing their academic career and the advice I would give them is simple:
  • It may seem intimidating and scary, but it's like that for everyone (including those from public school.) The key is to find something you are passionate about and run with it.
  • Whatever worked for your studying habits in highschool will work when you are in post-secondary. Whether it's writing things down, listening to recordings or re-reading the material, figure out a way that works the best for you and stick to it.
  • Don't feel different because of your education, feel unique, you have skills they may not have.

Thank you, Ricky, for taking the time to answer these questions. I am so glad I had a chance to ask you these and learn more about your personal experiences and hopes and dreams!

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1 comment:

Shannon said...

Nice to hear from you, Ricky!!
It feels like a long time since we were watching you quiz!!!
Aunty Shannie