By MADELINE REIDA
There isn’t a “back to school” season when school is your home.
Gabriella Schlehuber, 17, graduated in May from her homeschooling family of six. Her four younger siblings still are in school.
Their summer breaks tend to last from the end of May to the beginning of August.
“We take that time to visit family and relax at home,” Schlehuber said. “Sometimes we go on vacation.”
Her mother, Heather Schlehuber, spends the time planning the next school year.
“It takes all summer, basically,” she said.
The family uses pieces of different curriculums. Most of them are from the Mother of Divine Grace, a traditional Catholic curriculum.
“I know there are some books we have that are really hard to find, and there are some that we have had to wait to get,” she said.
They’ve also moved learning around the house — first in a dining room, then to a side addition, and now in a separate building.
“We have our own little school house,” Schlehuber said. “It’s very convenient. It’s big enough for all of us, and there’s plenty of room for storage.”
Grace Stauffer graduated in 2016 from a homeschooling family of 10.
“It varies depending on the year,” she said about summer breaks. “We always take some kind of summer break. Generally, we’ll take off the month of June and a little bit of July, just so we have more time off for the rest of the year — for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So we don’t fall behind as much.”
Five of her younger siblings are in school now, the fewest students her mother has taught at the same time.
“We have a better student-teacher ratio than a lot of schools,” Stauffer said. “She’s teaching history all together with them, and then the activities they do are based around their age a bit more. I know she helps the two youngest with their math a lot, but the older three, I think, do a lot on their own.”
Stauffer said she was better at learning on her own.
“We have the basic requirements to do reading, writing, stuff like that, but then the stuff we do in high school is determined by our own interests,” she said.
Even after graduating, Stauffer said, she had a list of things she’d like to study. She thought this was a result of how she was taught.
“A lot of kids just don’t like school. That’s a fact of life,” she said. “But homeschoolers have a better appreciation for learning and figure out things on their own a lot better than kids who go to public or private school.”
Having worked around teenagers at Carlsons’ Grocery who didn’t know how to do chores on their own, she also thought homeschoolers were taught more life skills.
“This generation is both too hard and not hard enough on teenagers,” she said. “There’s a lot of stuff they’re taught about that they wouldn’t need yet, and a lot of stuff they aren’t taught about, like laundry.”