I realized that I should’ve probably talked about this when everyone else was discussing their schooling experiences. Even though this is still in the US, there is a lot about it that is different from the average American childhood schooling.
I attended private school from k-3rd grade, homeschooled from 4-8th grade, went to a public high school in a specialty program for math and science. This drastically changed my opinions on American education. I was homeschooled because my parents were/are more religious, but more than that, my dad is a PhD chemist and my mother has a MPA degree herself. They believed they could teach my brother and I better than paying for in the private school. The public schools in our area were really good, so I still don’t quite understand why they didn’t send us there, but either way, it resulted in us being homeschooled. We had a group of other families who I was homeschooled “with.” I had friends and a normal set of friends, but I was definitely proselytized by this group in a way that I had not expected. When I got to public high school, I had a really hard time assimilating and making friends because they were so different from the homeschooling families. In that environment, my family was considered rebellious because I was allowed to wear skirts above my knee, the music we listened to wasn’t read over word for word by my parents, and a few kids had heard my mom say “damn.” In public school, I’d figured I’d fit in alright, but I was pretty wrong – I had no idea how to react to the new environment. Eventually, I figured it out, but it was difficult and lonely for a long time.
In terms of academics though, homeschooling was what really allowed me to explore how much I liked math. I could do whatever I wanted, I had a teacher and I spent time with my dad on it. I saw that I was excelling at it, and I liked it. The other subjects were all covered too. A lot of people have generalized homeschoolers as really good or really bad. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it is an environment in which students can get individual attention for whatever the reason.