By Chelsea Flood
Noah Kutz starts his day just like any other, with the helping of a delicious breakfast to motivate him up and out of bed and fresh duds to conquer the day.
His mom starts the car and they cruise in the direction of Noah’s school.
The next step is where things start to differ from the rest. Noah’s mom is dropping him off at a co-op homeschool.
This is the moment in the story when most people draw their own conclusions as to Noah’s educational experience.
But wait a minute: Fast forward to a successful and active ASU student, Naval ROTC
member and personable—in fact, downright magnetic—employee of Tempe’s popular Great Harvest Bakery.
If you have preconceived ideas about homeschooled kids, Noah has his own steadfast opinions on the matter.
“One thing I should make clear is that homeschooling, as a whole, is not the same as how most people see it,” Noah said.
“I didn’t wake up every morning and sit down at the table and eat breakfast while my mom taught me every subject in school, and then spend the rest of my day whittling sticks and making paper airplanes with my siblings. It seems that this is the general idea that many people have of homeschooling, and it’s not always true. I will concede, there are certainly some people who experienced, to some extent, that kind of homeschool environment while growing up, but many times those people turn out to become smart, successful individuals.”
“However, there certainly are some people who experience that kind of environment and end up becoming, for lack of a better term, odd.”
Noah adds: “People tend to have a skewed position on homeschooling because they’ve met a few of those children who give off an odd kind of personality or seem like they’ve lived under a rock their whole life; I have a news flash for those people: Many children who have attended public schools for their whole lives turn out the same way, yet nobody blames the system,” Noah said.
“The point is, there are so many more factors that determine the causation of someone becoming odd than just the type of school they attended.”
The long-heated debate of public versus home school will always be present, for everyone has their own perspective on the subject.
Noah can easily identify the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.
“The greatest advantage to homeschooling is that there is freedom to accomplish so much more than simply an education with a few extracurricular activities,” Noah said.
“Homeschooling gives parents the chance to educate their children in a way that doesn’t conform to other people’s belief systems (i.e. the argument against/for macro-evolution), as well as a chance to give them independence to accomplish more with the time they’re given, rather than sit in a classroom from 8-3 p.m. every day.
“That being said, the greatest advantage to homeschooling is also its own disadvantage. The freedom for parents to educate their children in the way they prefer can sometimes lead to things such as sheltering, and then the children experience culture shock once they graduate high school.”
Noah firmly believes that the product of homeschooling primarily relies on the power and ability of the parents, and the character of the children.
“The outcome of a homeschooler is determined primarily by the amount of effort a parent puts into their education, which is why some parents are good at homeschooling, and some simply aren’t,” Noah said. “I have many friends whose family went with the traditional style of homeschooling (at home, every day, primarily taught by mom), and all of them went on to different colleges and careers and became very successful.”
Noah has a somewhat unique experience, because he spent a period of time in private schooling as well. He was first homeschooled during his younger years, kindergarten to second grade, and then all throughout high school. In between those years Noah experienced a couple private Christian schools as well as a charter school.
From the ages of 10 to 16, Noah lived in Maryland. During his sophomore year his family decided to return to Peoria, where they lived prior to moving. That’s when the high school co-op experience came along.
“In my personal experience with homeschooling, I went to a co-op where there were several teachers, (many of whom were subject-matter experts and homeschooling parents), who taught several different classes each day and provided an education program for homeschooling,” Noah said. “It was an alternate form of homeschool education where parents could select which classes they’d like their children to take from other teachers, and which classes they’d prefer to teach on their own.”
Noah seems extremely motivated to make his way in this world, and he gives credit for this unmatched drive to his educational experience.
“During my time homeschooling in high school I was able to do many different extracurricular activities. I played soccer and golf and ran track and cross country—all varsity teams from nearby schools, one in Maryland, one school in Arizona,” Noah said.
“I played piano and guitar throughout high school, and continue to play to this day. At the homeschool co-op, I became a student government officer and volunteered in many different service opportunities that were provided through that program.
“At age 14, I started an inter-neighborhood fall clean-up service which generated $1,000 profit over the course of two months for the remaining fall seasons I lived in Maryland (unfortunately the leaf cleaning business isn’t too big in Phoenix).”
While working at Great Harvest Bakery, Noah has become what the owners agree is
the most successful farmers markets rep ever, sociable attitude and the endless home-school extracurricular opportunities from his experience.
“At the farmers markets I’ve been able to see success by interacting well with customers and ensuring they have a pleasant experience at my booth,” Noah said. “I have plenty of
regular customers who buy bread from me weekly so asking for their name and remembering it the next time they stop by is always a good way to build a great reputation and establish trust with them.”
Looking forward, Noah hopes to graduate from ASU with a Bachelor in International Trade and Global Logistics Management with a minor in French, then a commission into
the Marine Corps. Last year he received a Marine Corps option Naval ROTC full-ride scholarship, where he was given stipends and other benefits, including active military training during the summer months.
“The purpose of the scholarship is to go to school and earn a degree, and also train to become an officer in the USMC,” Noah said. “The four years at college is followed by a minimum active duty service of four years.”
Noah recommends homeschooling, as long as one can handle it. Remember, it’s more subject-based learning and less stick whittling.
“Homeschooling can be a very good thing, and so can public schools,” Noah said. “The difference is that parents have a larger say in how they want to influence their children in their education. Some kids strive for success, others don’t; some parents are rock stars, others aren’t; some people can handle homeschooling, others can’t. The wonderful part of it all is that it gives the power for children and parents to strive for a better environment, better education and better community.
“But with great power comes great responsibility, because it can turn out to be a success just as much as it can become a failure, and that’s just the beauty of life.”