I started homeschooling part way through first grade. At the time my family raced dogs. We were traveling to Alaska to do the Iditarod and my teachers said I would miss too much school. So my parents pulled me out of school and life changed for the better.
Homeschooling has been an integral part in pursuing cycling. During the winter, the best time of the day to train is around noon, when it is relatively warm. Because of my flexible schedule the daylight hours are free and I am not forced to ride in the dark. In addition, Homeschooling, specifically Unschooling has allowed for time spent traveling. Most of my senior year was spent away from home. Pursuing athleticism at a high level makes it extremely difficult to work around a normal school day. There are riders who do it, but something is always sacrificed.
As a child the days were spent out in the woods with the dogs. Our property was backed up to thousands of acres of state land that I would explore with some dogs by my side, going further and further each time. Homeschooling allowed me to pursue a love of more "outdoor" sciences such a Biology, Entomology, Geology, Botany, Ecology, and Ornithology. Essentially exploring nature, becoming curious, and looking up the things that were seen.
Most of my education has been through reading. By now, I've read thousands of books throughout all genres and about many subjects. Interestingly, Homeschooling has also provided a social life. I was a part of many Homeschool groups and met good friends who I still enjoy socializing with today.
In addition to reading and life experiences I learned from adults in many diverse careers. Politicians, Physiologists, Professional mushers, Professional cyclists, Mechanics, Farmers, and even professional rally car drivers.
During Highschool I traveled all over the states and the world. EuroCrossCamp was the first venture in Europe. The memory is still vivid. I was so excited. This had been a major goal for me. To race on the legendary courses all the professionals raced on. I worked extremely hard to get there and the whole trip was like being a kid in candyland. The first thing you notice in a foreign country is the different language. Most people in Belgium speak English, but I made an effort to learn some rudimentary Dutch in order to exchange pleasantries with the local and be able to read the road signs a little better. The second time in Belgium was a much longer trip and started with a World Cup in the Netherlands. This trip lasted for a few months and culmated with the World Cup at Koksijde. During this time I stayed with a local Belgian host family -the Segers- who became life long friends who I enjoy visiting whenever I am in the area. They were very kind, welcoming me into the family and showing me really cool architecture such as the Atomnium in Brussels, the unbelievably massive Saint Nicholas' church, and the castle Het Gravensteen in Ghent.
|Saint Nicholas' church|
|Tour De France|
This year I spent time in Arkansas, California, and Belgium. Experiencing California for the first time was amazing. Belgium was, as always, very fun and knowing even more about the culture it felt easier to go in depth and learn more.
The freedom to learn what you want when you want it allows you to enjoy learning for what it is, a lot of fun! I don't dread learning, I enjoy it, and because I enjoy it, I retain it.