From Public Schooler to Homeschooler // my current schooling experience

April 05, 2020

Happy Sunday!

Since so many of you asked for this last week, I come to you bringing my public-school-to-homeschool experience!

For some context, I’ve always gone to a public/private school. But three weeks ago, our school shut down and started doing “e-learning.” For us, that means that our teachers send out virtual assignments, lectures, and Zoom calls. It’s definitely been an adjustment. XD

So today, I’m going to talk about the things that are the most different in this new e-learning/homeschool system and how I’m adapting to each. I’m not saying one system is objectively better than the other, but there are certainly pros and cons to both of them. And I definitely don’t have all this figured out - I’m still learning and adapting. :)

One of the biggest differences between public school and homeschooling is my newfound lack of a schedule.

In public school, every day is scheduled down to the minute, from 7:30-3:30. Each class gets a certain allotted time, lunch is at the same time every day, and there’s a set end to the day.

But in homeschooling, there . . . basically isn’t a schedule. XD Sure, there’s a few scheduled Zoom calls, and there are some homework due dates, but in terms of a day-to-day schedule, there’s nothing. And since I have a lot more free time, it’s really easy to waste time.

I discovered really quickly in this process that if I don’t have some sort of schedule, my day ends up being an epic lesson in procrastination. XD So I’ve been experimenting in some bullet journal layouts and types of schedules. Some of them have worked. Some of them . . . haven’t. ;)

I used this post by Sarah and this post by Christine to create my current system. I’m starting each day off with tackling math homework (such a great start to the day XD), and then cramming as much homework as I can into the morning. I’ve also been picking a “special project” to focus on each day. For instance, one day I focused on my religion paper, while another day I focused on a beta-reading project.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, I did attempt to time-block my days. However, I get really stressed if I don’t go by the time blocks, and you can probably guess what happened on those days. XD Suffice it to say that I’m only doing a little bit of time-blocking every day - the necessary things.)

yes, that is a Your Lie in April quote, and I will not apologize XD

Another big difference in this homeschooling system has been the lack of people.

Back in school, I’d pass my friends and classmates several times in the hall every day. We had plenty of chances to talk and catch up and complain about tests and study together and do all that fun stuff. And yeah, sometimes that would mean I’d go home socially drained and would need some recuperation time.

Going by the socially draining aspect, homeschooling and e-learning has been fabulous. Since I haven’t been talking to classmates for seven hours a day, I have way more mental energy.

But I do miss my friends. And since we’re really bad at FaceTiming and Zooming when everyone’s available . . . we haven’t really talked face-to-face in weeks. Our interaction has been limited to early-morning texts. Thank goodness for technology, honestly. :D

Anyways, I’ve been meaning to start scheduling in FaceTime and Zoom calls to my friends so we can still talk. BUT we did finally get a FaceTime call with all of us present two days ago. :)

The last big change that homeschooling has brought has been a lack of face-to-face teaching.

I’m not good at teaching myself. It really helps to have someone else explain concepts and directions to me. I like to know exactly what a teacher wants to see and how we should go about doing assignments.

Let me tell you, Zoom can only do so much. XD Our teachers only have two one-hour slots to Zoom-call us each week, and most of them aren’t even using that. For the most part, we’re on our own.

Especially when it comes to math, this has been the biggest adjustment. I think I’m doing okay so far?? But without that face-to-face interaction and ability to ask questions in person, it feels totally different.

So I’ve been reading math chapters a little more than usual, and I’ve been rechecking assignment directions to make sure I don’t miss anything. :D

Some other things I’ve experienced during this time, but don’t really deserve a full paragraph, include:
- the ability to watch a TV show at 2 PM and not get in trouble by a teacher
- the ability to eat snacks while “in class” and not get in trouble by a teacher
- the urge to reorganize my entire bookshelf and half my room (which I did, instead of doing math XD)
- that one time I played my clarinet with a bandage over my left thumb. (For my non-clarinetists, the left thumb is particularly important - if it’s the slightest bit off the hole, the instrument will squeak.) I tried playing through a very high arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, and after about fifteen minutes of constant squeaks, my brother yelled, “What is going on???”
- I can listen to even more music than before XD THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING

For all my public-school-turned-homeschoolers, my biggest pieces of advice so far would be to
- Read the two posts I linked above - they are LIFESAVERS
- Try to balance school and family (do I do this???? ummmmm, no, but I should. *looks side-eyed at my mom who is reading this post and tells me frequently to “get out of the cave”*)
- If you struggle with math, do it first and get it over with.
- Get homework done as soon as it’s assigned - that way you don’t have to worry about later on
- Do your best. Yeah, there will probably be some days when you just can’t focus. Don’t push yourself too hard on those days - get refueled and reenergized. Then, the next day, beat that homework to a pulp. ;)

And for all the homeschoolers reading this post, I hope this was interesting to read! I would imagine your schooling hasn’t changed very much through all this, but I’m not very educated on how all that works. XD

Whatever the case, good luck with your classwork! There’s definitely a lot of adjusting to be done, but school’s almost over - just two or three short months to go! :D

-Nicole <3

Are you public schooled or homeschooled? What’s your experience been with homeschooling so far, my public schoolers? Any productivity/survival tips? Let’s talk!

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  1. This was great, Nicole! I was homeschooled for all 12 years, so I honestly don't have any private or public school experiences. I would have had a MELT DOWN if right in the middle of the school year I'd suddenly have to go to public school for some reason, so I am so admiring all of you who are having to make such a sudden adjustment. You guys are troopers!

    I'm glad you're finding things that work for you. And AWWWW!!! I was ecstatic to see my post linked there. So very happy it was helpful! <3

    Praying for you, girl! We're going to make it through this!

    1. Thank you, Christine! Haha, we’re making do. (and we also don’t want to have to repeat a school year, so that’s added motivation. ;) )\

      <3 <3 Thank YOU for writing it - it was excellent!!

      Praying for you, too! I’m hoping this ends quickly. . . . although that may not be a realistic hope. . . .

  2. yes yes yes Nicole, this was honestly so interesting to read! I've always been homeschooled my entire life, i've never been to a public school, so this isn't too much different for me. It is definitely different in the aspect that I am very involved in my co-op and am there multiple days a week, so not having that has emptied my life haha. Its craziness. I think my tips would just be get off electronics, and get outside haha. I don't do this much and it really clears up my mind, and just get homework DONE XD

    1. Oh, wow, I didn’t even think about co-ops . . . although it makes sense that they would stop for now too. :( Ooo, great tips, thank you! I’ve been trying to get outside more, and I think it has helped! :D

  3. This is so interesting! As a Type A person and a homeschooler, the whole time struggle hasn't been a thing for me. But...SOMETIMES IT IS so I get that. xD especially with my job being so hit or miss with hours.

    Fascinating post!!!!

    1. Oof, yeah, I get that about your job. Inconsistent hours is SO ANNOYING. (but also teach me your time management ways, I need them XD)

  4. "What is going on???" XD I don't even know your brother but imagining that is amusing me so much.

    I can imagine how weird it would be to go from public school to homeschool! Well, actually, I can't, because I haven't gone to public school a day in my life. But I'm sure it's a weird transition. xD

    I totally get having to plan out your day so you don't procrastinate! I've been kind of testing a new thing out in my bullet journal: instead of just writing down my goals in general for the day, writing them down in order of how I want to accomplish them. Sometimes it works better for me to switch and do one of the goals first, but having more of a schedule helps. I don't do this every day, but if it's useful I know I'm going to have a hard time being productive on a certain day. ;)

    I wonder how many people will decide they like homeschooling and not go back to public school in the fall. XD

    1. XD XD It wasn’t as amusing for him, I can tell you that. ;)

      Haha, yes, your imagining would be correct! It was so sudden and a little drastic, so yeah, it’s been an adjustment. . . .

      Ooo, okay, I LOVE that idea! Definitely trying that out tomorrow! I’ve been trying to separate goals into school and writing, but it hasn’t been working. XD

      Honestly, if not for Things happening later this year, I would be considering that same decision. XD

  5. I'm homeschooled!! (And DELIGHTFULLY happy about it, I can tell you! xD)
    My life really hasn't changed all that much since the lockdown here began. Unpopular opinion >>>>>>> I actually find it kinda nice. *Cue all the attacks* xD

    1. Haha, nice!!!
      *whispers* I like all the alone time as well, honestly. I don’t like the virus aspect of it, but I love all the time I’m spending at home XD.

  6. One thing that helps me focus + not procrastinate is making daily schedules of what I have to get done (but not time blocking since I know I'll ignore it) and then to also make a list of longer term projects like papers! And the I can just go through the daily checklist. (Also that way when you put things off you don't have to remember what you skipped because its all written down!)

    It also keeps me focused in college, because of course I would take the maximum course load every semester (*cries* Why am I an overachiever?)

    Also: You can take a break and make fresh cookies. In what school do you get fresh chocolate chip cookies while doing math???

    1. Okay, I’ve been trying that this week, and I LOVE it! Thank you so much for suggesting that - it’s been super helpful!! :D

      Oof, I feel that. (Overachieving . . . such a gift and a curse)

      Ooo, that is a WONDERFUL idea and I am definitely doing that next week. :)

  7. I was homeschooled my whole life, including my college career, so it's really interesting to me to see what it's like for someone who's been in public school to move into a homeschooling environment.

    It's definitely a challenge to balance the work if you're not used to having to structure your day by yourself. I mean, even people who've had a lot of practice with it still have struggles, myself included.

    I hope this whole madness will pass over soon and we can all get back to our normal lives.

    1. Ooo, you were homeschooled for college as well? That’s super interesting - you’re the first person I’ve heard of that has done that. What did you think of it?

      Oh, good, I’m not the only one who struggles! We can figure it out together, I guess. ;)

      I hope so too - although honestly, I’m not sure if that’ll happen or not. . . . :(

  8. I was homeschooled. Now I'm working on my GED. Not much has changed for me. I normally stay home all day.

  9. I'm feeling a lot of the same things, Nicole! Even though I was homeschooled, it's been quite the adjustment moving from college classes to all online. I'm like, "I haven't experienced this kind of freedom in years, what do I do?!?" lol. (Actually it's been pretty sweet cutting out the hour-long drive to campus, and my teachers have been great, so I can't complain.) Hope everything goes well for you! Sounds like you're adjusting and being very responsible about it, so good job. :)

    (Also: wow there are a LOT of homeschoolers in the comments. I didn't expect that, haha!)

    1. Oh, wow, that’s a really interesting perspective! (Niiiice, gotta love cutting out the commute :D and I’m glad your teachers have been dealing with it well!) Thank you! I’m doing my best XD

      (Haha, it’s crazy, right? I think a solid 95% of my audience has been homeschooled at some point. :D)

  10. I've been homeschooled for seventeen years, and even I am losing it right now. I personally, had work, plans, and a scheduled for my days that are now gone because of the shelter in place where I am.
    This is like the super boring cousin of homeschooling, and I'm sad that this is how people are going to view being homeschooled as social distancing. ://

    It's interesting reading all these comments and seeing homeschoolers saying that nothing has changed when personally, EVERYTHING has! This isn't my homeschooling, lol. :P

    Best of luck on balancing work, that can be tough. <3

    1. Oh, wow, things have been crazy, right?
      That’s a very good point - having things on lockdown gives people a very different lens on things . . .

      Haha, that’s very interesting - I guess it all just depends on the family. :D

      Thanks, and the same to you. <3

  11. I'm actually on both sides of the boat, because I'm part time homeschooled and part time public schooled. This has resulted in two weeks of half-spring-break, another week of different half-spring-break, online classes that have continued as normal, physical classes that have moved online. It's a bit disorienting, but it's been nice to have more free time, and I'm starting to adjust to e-learning. Definitely bummed about not seeing any of my friends at school until August :( and I won't see the seniors any more, which is too bad. I'm glad you're starting to adjust as well :D and the balance between work and family can definitely be difficult. I'm trying to be somewhat disciplined to get things done without a schedule :') Best of luck with the rest of the school year!

    1. Oh boy, that has to be an adjustment. Not seeing friends (or seniors) is honestly the roughest part of this entire thing. *sighs* Wow, good luck with the rest of the school year - especially without a schedule! That’s very impressive! :D

  12. I have been homeschooled most of my life, but did a couple of years at a private school. And I so agree--I'd waste so much time procrastinating and doing anything *but* school if I didn't have a planner. :D

    I hope that despite its challenges this transition is somehow fruitful for you, Nicole! Hopefully we can go back to our regular lives soon. <3

    1. Oh, goodness, yes, planners have saved my life this year! :D

      I’ll say the same to you, Kathryn, and hopefully this all ends soon! <3 <3

  13. Keeping to a schedule and staying motivated are super difficult at home. Best of luck with it all!

    1. Haha, thank you, Skye - and the same to you!

  14. Another homeschooler adding a comment. ;) The clarinet playing part cracked me up. XD This is pretty normal for me, but I just had a Zoom call dance class which was really weird and hard. But it's better than nothing, so I can relate.

    1. Haha, welcome to the discussion! ;) XD XD Oh, wow, I‘m having a hard time picturing a Zoom dance class - that sounds extremely difficult. Best of luck! <3

  15. This WAS interesting to read!! One of my least favorite things about homeschool is how easy it is to waste time because although I'm SUPPOSED to stick to my schedule, I'm not FORCED to. Very easy to procrastinate. XD

    I'm glad you've been able to find ways to adjust. You're so inspiring!

    1. Oh, goodness, THAT IS SUCH A STRUGGLE. Not having a schedule that is “enforced” is just killer. XD But you can do this!

      Haha, thank you! (I guarantee you that my day-to-day routine is NOT inspiring, but oh well. XD)


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