By: Natalie Eaton
For homeschooled students, joining a big campus and school can be very daunting. The constant worry about making friends, getting adjusted to grades and schedules, and overall handling stress and confidence is a lot.
Homeschooled individuals have the luxury of working at home, and going at their own pace. Leaving home and transitioning to public school can create a challenge for these students.
The Trojan Torch talked to three students from Jenks High School, Junior Madison Livingston, senior Landon Treece, and sophomore Miriam Bennett about their experiences with homeschooling, and the big transition to Jenks.
Madison Livingston first started out at a public school in Texas, until her parents decided to start homeschooling her in sixth grade. She was taught by her mom, and would occasionally do co-ops. Doing co-ops and going to classes with small groups of students helped her get social interaction after being stuck in the house all day.
Around her seventh grade year, Livingston’s family moved from Texas to Jenks. After doing research of schools in the area, Jenks became the school choice for Livingston and her brothers.
“It was a big step to go to Jenks,” says Livingston. “My school in Texas, the graduating class in my fifth-grade year, was four people. My class was the biggest in the whole school of a total of 24 people.”
Attending the Middle School’s early back academy, and meeting new faces at a new church in the Jenks area boosted Livingston’s confidence in making friends. But when seventh-grade year started, social issues began to strike.
She comments by saying, “I had a really rough 7th-grade year with friends. It involved difficult people, and I did not know how to deal with that because of homeschooling.”
Same as Livingston, Landon Treece found it difficult to surround himself with new faces at first. After quitting his Freshman year due to poor administration, doing online school, and then moving from Colorado to Jenks, Treece wanted a fresh start and a proper graduation.
“Coming back to highschool as a senior, and trying to make friends was a big thing. Most of the people here already have their established friend groups already,” says Treece. “I remember at the beginning of the year, I was uncertain about making friends. But I kind of just put myself out there and forced myself into it.”
Both Livingston and Treece were fortunate to have background experience in public school before joining Jenks, but Miriam Bennett learned first hand what the jump from homeschooling to Jenks really felt like.
Bennett was homeschooled from birth and was taught by her mom and online school. The decision to homeschool on the other hand was very personal to both Bennett and her mom.
“In the beginning, my mom did not want to deal with me being bullied,” Bennett says. “My mom had trouble with bullies and classmates when she was in school, and she did not want me to deal with that.”
Bennett wanted to go to Jenks to graduate and make friends. But the process was fast and risky, and Bennett did not decide to join unil a week before the school year started.
“I was not used to how big the campus was!” says Bennett. “I came to the Freshman Academy the first day without a schedule, and none of my teachers were expecting me.”
The fast paced process of joining Jenks did not end after her crazy first day of school though. Bennett dealt with being independent and being by herself everyday.
“I sat alone pretty much every day at lunch last year,” says Bennett. “But, I eventually made some friends in classes I related to. I finally stopped sitting alone around the Pre-ACT of this year. I finally figured out where all the high school drama students sat.”
As the days went on, Bennett began to note what her freshman peers did around her. When she was homeschooled, Bennett did not rely on her mom for answers, and googled all her questions.
Bennett remarks, “When I came here, I noticed all the freshman in my classes relied on the teachers so much and did not seem very independent. I talked to one of my friends, and ranted about that for like 15 minutes!”
Bennett has adapted well for her second year at Jenks. She enjoys being part of the drama department, and doing stagecraft with her new friends.
As for Livingston and Treece, the Trojan Torch asked if they would ever return to homeschooling. Both answered the same, declining with a smile on their face.
Outside of homeschooling, Treece played orchestra. Keeping his passion with him in Jenks, Treece joined the orchestra department, and still keeps in touch with his orchestra teacher and peers in Colorado.
As for Livingston, being at Jenks has opened her up to more opportunities.
“It was definitely the right choice to go from homeschooling to public school, says Livingston. “With where I am now, being in the yearbook, I have definitely been opened up to more experiences by coming to Jenks.”