Home Schooled

January 11, 2009
By Jon Taylor, Clinton, CT

From kindergarten to ninth grade, there was always a barrier that separated me from other people in my grade and grades close to mine. I was home schooled. Every day of my life from September to June from Kindergarten to 8th grade, instead of going to the bus stop every day and waiting for the bus, I simply walked down my stairs and began to work. I never had to study for tests, and I never was involved in pointless standardized tests, to see if I was up to par in my learning. I didn’t have recess, or a set lunch period, and I was never sent to the principle, because there was no principle, I was never late to class because all my classes were in the same place. In fact the only contact I really had outside my own home was with a few kids I knew from baseball, and a few other home schoolers who lived in Clinton. Unfortunately, this cozy sheltered sense of reality finally came to an end, when I decided that I wanted to leave my home, and go to “Public School”.

The first day of step. I remember walking in on that warm day at the end of August, along with 130 some odd kids of my own age, and trying not to freak out from the cacophonous ocean of noises that came from students, faculty and the loud speaker. I had no idea where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to do. In fact, if one of the other students (who’s name I cannot remember) had not instructed me to read the signs telling me which classroom I needed to be in, I would never have found where to go. Compared to my previous school, this was like trying to find a needle in a pile of needles.

The first class I went to, as I later found out, was my Homeroom. When I went in I noticed that everyone seemed so excited to finally be in high school, while I was just trying not to attract too much attention. This attempt was futile. As soon as I sat down I was bombarded with a barrage of questions. “Who are you?” “are you a new kid?”, “what’s your name”. I was overwhelmed, and hastily tried to answer these questions, so that the attention would be focused on someone or something else. Thankfully, someone I knew from baseball was there to answer some of these questions, and to tell the relentless voices who I was and where I came from. I finally settled down as our teacher came in, and asked us to be quiet so she could explain a few things about Morgan.
I was relived to finally get home from the chaos that seemed to exist in high school. It was only then that I realized that I was finally going to public school. “You’d better get used to this”, I told myself, “That wasn’t even a whole school day, and that was only the freshmen”.

The next day wasn’t nearly as bad as the first, and while I still was given strange looks, and asked a number of sometimes personal questions about myself, I slowly began to learn a few faces, and names. As I became more comfortable with the people in my group, I slowly started to talk to a few people, and even got to know a few of them. Joy slowly crept into my body as I realized that I was making friends, more friends then I had ever thought existed.

During my third and final day of STEP, the entire incoming freshmen class was instructed to go down to the auditorium. We were introduced to many clubs, and sports teams that were available. Of course I had heard of the numerous sports teams for I played baseball and my brother (who was going into his Junior year) had told me about indoor track, but I never realized that there were so many clubs. Little did I know that soon some of these clubs would become ingrained into my being, making me a better person.
When leaving that day, I thought about all of the new friends I had made, and also about the school year that was steadily approaching. I knew that I was about to enter a world alien to my own, and that it wouldn’t be easy. I tried to act tough and tell myself it was going to be a piece of cake, but whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was anxious about my first day in school. In the back of my mind I knew that eventually school would seem normal, and I would probably even grow to enjoy it, but the thought that something awful might happen, like I might somehow embarrass myself, continued to pop into my head.
Whenever I look back at my first days, I think how trivial some of my concerns were. Worrying about locker combinations and who to sit with at lunch seems so unimportant now. Now it’s worrying about SAT’s, term papers, and AP tests, and worrying about which college to go to. It’s scary to think that in two short years, I have gone from being a short freshman who was socially impaired to someone who soon will be leaving home and going off to college. However, I know that I can take on college, mostly because of the preparation that high school has given me and is continuing to give me. Still, it is because of those first days, I know that my first days in college will not be nearly as stressful as those. Mostly because they don’t have lockers in college.

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