Source: The Daily Nebraskan
Addie Opitz of Omaha, Nebraska, doesn’t look like the stereotypical homeschooler. Even so, Addie says that homeschooling shaped who she is today. “I got to figure out who I was on my own,” she told The Daily Nebraskan.* “I didn’t have other people trying to define me. I defined myself.”
Addie’s personal style could be described as more of a punk look. One side of her head is shaved, while on the other side she has long wavy hair that falls way below her shoulders. In the photo above she is wearing a plaid flannel shirt, black skinny jeans, combat boots, and olive green military field jacket.
Currently a junior majoring in global studies, Addie was homeschooled up until college. Her parents decided to homeschool because they’re “kind of hippies,” Addie said. “My parents are very untraditional, and they had had rough experiences in school, and they didn’t want to subject us to that.”
Consequently, homeschooling was the only type of schooling Addie knew as she was growing up. “For me, homeschooling was so natural,” she said. “When I think about school, I think about homeschooling.”
Addie’s early education did not follow a strict structure. “Sometimes, all day was recess,” she remembers fondly. “It would be 75 degrees out, so we’d have school out on the picnic bench in our yard. At other times, “we’d read books about the forest, and then spend the day in the forest and find things we had read in the book.”
Homeschooling in a relaxed environment enabled Addie to enjoy additional benefits, too. If you ask Addie if she got to sleep in on schooldays, she will answer, “Heck yes, I did. Before high school, I didn’t get up before 10.”
When it came time for high school, Addie attended a homeschool co-op where parents, retired professors, and high school teachers taught various classes for homeschoolers. Addie’s extracurricular activities included participating on a mock trial team and performing in a play.
Addie was also dual-enrolled in college courses, which provided her first real classroom experience. She said that homeschooling definitely helped prepare her for the transition to college.
“In high school, the learning was all on me. I would watch the videos and read the textbooks, and I already knew how to learn on my own when I came to college. I can’t image going from being taught to having to teach myself.”
Addie’s high school grades came from her college professors, co-op teachers, and parents. “If I didn’t do my homework, my mom would guilt trip me all day about it,” she said. “It made me have to try my hardest.”
Addie believes that a major advantage of the homeschooling community is that it breaks down barriers between students at different grade levels. “It didn’t matter the age of the person I was hanging out with,” she said. “It mattered if we could have a connection.”