Homeschooled students explain stereotypes, goals

Many people wonder about a certain sector of the American population.

Do they wear their pajamas all day?

Do they have a social life?

Are they sheltered?

Two John Brown University students are attempting to answer these questions and break the stereotypes associated with their distinctive upbringing.

Liana Medina is a senior studying family and human services. Freshman Joseph Pelegreen is a cinema major and guard for the Golden Eagle men’s basketball team.

Both were homeschooled before coming to school here in Siloam Springs.

Both students consider the stereotypes to be mostly made up.

Pelegreen pointed out that there is a difference between what the stereotypes seem to say about homeschoolers and what typical homeschoolers are actually like.

“You have ‘homeschoolers,’ and you have ‘homeschoolers,’” he said.

Medina pointed out that even she has had a stereotypical view of homeschoolers, but that they mostly look and act like everyone else.

“We definitely carry the stereotype of not being socially acclimated, but I’d say that it’s mostly a false pretense,” she said.

Medina experienced homeschooling in several different cultures. Growing up on the mission field, the best option seemed to be for her parents to teach her themselves.

“I grew up in South America, and my parents knew that by the time we got to middle school we were going to move back to the States,” Medina said. “So I went to public school with the South American school system and my mother homeschooled me with the American schooling system, so it wouldn’t be a rough transition when we moved.”

Later on in her academic experience, she went to a co-op, an organization that supports a homeschooling family with classes and sports throughout the week.

Medina says the co-op was a good experience for her as it allowed her to have opportunities to socialize and play sports.

Pelegreen was also able to experience the active side of homeschooling. He said that one of the benefits of learning at home is the ability to get done with schoolwork early. He remembered finishing up school and going outside to play basketball and ride bikes with his two younger sisters, Lauren and Meagan. Now ages 16 and 5, both girls are still being homeschooled.

Pelegreen’s parents, Willie and Angel, decided to give homeschooling a try when Pelegreen was in third grade after realizing he was accelerating faster than his grade allowed.

Pelegreen said a typical day of homeschooling for them was rather structured, but allowed for a fair amount of free time.

“All of our free time was either spent with family playing games or hanging out with friends, because yes, I had those too,” he said.

“One of the benefits of homeschooling is that the schedule could be tweaked for mission trips and opportunities around us,” added Mrs. Pelegreen.

Medina’s daily routine was also rather structured with lunch and break times, even though she was indeed allowed to wear pajamas while doing her schoolwork.

Both Medina and Pelegreen said that they would be interested in homeschooling their own children in the future.

“Your foundation is built when you’re young and tested when you’re older, and when you’re homeschooled you’re allowed to open your Bible and discuss what you find with your teacher,” said Pelegreen. “Not to mention the student to teacher ratio is one to one. You can’t get a better deal than that! It’s an education tailored to your child where you can be sure they’re learning the material they are presented with.”

His mother agreed.

“Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity and privilege for families to learn and grow together academically, even socially, and especially spiritually,” she said.

She noted that it is more than just a unique academic setting.

It is a lifestyle.

Even though Medina said that she would definitely homeschool her kids, she said that a co-op would be the best option for her children.

“Once they get to high school I would give them the option to go to public school, as long as we live in a good school district,” she said.

Pelegreen’s mom says that their school verse is Colossians 3: 23 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to man.”

“Because of this,” she said, “our focus in our schooling quickly shifted to pleasing the Lord and presenting everything we may do or say, and even the motives and efforts behind what we do or say, as a sort of offering to Him.”