Sunday, 19 May 2013

From Homeschool to Bible School

It’s like living on a different planet, yet it feels as natural as singing.

A few weeks ago I was living at home having just finished my college degree online, feeling very “in between.” I had a degree, but no job, no car, and no plan for my life. What I did have was a passion for Britain, and a need to get closer to the Lord. After finding out about Capernwray Bible School I knew what I had to do, and on April 14 I began the biggest adventure of my life so far—a journey to Lancashire, England that would mean attending a “real school” for the first time in my life.
Maybe you’re on the verge of just such a transition. If so, you’re wondering, “Did homeschooling prepare you for Bible school? What was the transition like?”  

As you all know, it’s sometimes difficult for us homeschool girls to find great numbers of friends. We usually have a few deep friendships rather than a broad spectrum of acquaintances. That was certainly characteristic of my childhood. I have five or six girls I would consider my best friends, and I’ve never been able to break out of that. Part of me has wished for more friends, but my introverted self is more than happy to stick with my few dear friends rather than settle for more shallow relationships.

Bible school has plunged me into the 24/7 company of 152 students, many around the same age as me, most of them at the same place in life—in between. Men, women, boys, girls, Canadians, Germans, Romanians, Brits, missionary kids, homeschoolers, public schoolers, all these are swirled into a motley jumble of people longing to know the Lord. It’s a radical departure from my normal, sitting at home quietly working through school with my little brother for company. Now I’m attending six lectures a day, participating in a family group and interactive group, and sharing a bedroom with four other girls. 

The amazing thing is that I don’t feel uncomfortable. Beyond the initial nervousness, I have been able to cope with the drastic difference, and go beyond coping—I’m loving it here. From the first day I was making friends, and right now I have a great crowd I enjoy being around, but more importantly there are several people I feel I can confide in, whom I trust to share my joys and struggles with. I’ve learned to sit with strangers in the dining hall, strike up conversations with the least encouragement, and participate in just about every possible activity.

Me and my dear roommates!

Maybe you think I’m just different. You could never burst right in and start making friends like that, you’ve never been able to. Well let me tell you, I’m no social butterfly. It’s a struggle for me to speak sometimes, and it’s never easy to open up to a stranger.

Homeschooling was actually a great preparation for another form of education. Growing up I was forced to make friends with all kinds of people, kids near my age as well as adults and the elderly. That stretched me in vital ways, and now I feel comfortable with a wide variety of personalities. Doing college studies at home helped me get used to deadlines and the basics of essay writing, which is making the transition even easier.

The hardest part about "real school" is balancing social time with study time. Hanging out with friends has never been something that interfered with my schoolwork, but now there's a jam-packed schedule and so many great things to do. If you're getting ready to graduate from homeschool to something different, give some thought to how you will balance your social life and your homework. Both are important, and one shouldn't be sacrificed for another, but they need to each have their place.

I'm still figuring this thing, out, but it's a wonderful experience so far. Have you experienced some other kind of schooling, maybe a few years at a private or public school, or college? What was the hardest thing to get used to?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this, Abigail! God's been teaching me a lot about community lately, too, and I love how He's showing His love through all the amazing people He's brought into my life. I was homeschooled and attended a community college for two years, but now I'm at a small, private, Christian uni and loving it!

    Congratulations on your new venture and warm wishes for the journey!


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