By Emma Proudfit I was passionate about learning and thrived on academic accomplishments. But my experience in public and charter schools wasn’t fulfilling my needs. I knew something had to change. So, my mom and I decided to try homeschooling — and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made! 1. Making the leap Even though two of my siblings were homeschooled, I never thought I’d do it. I rejected the idea out of fear of losing my friends, getting an inferior education, and being ridiculed. But as I compared my siblings’ positive homeschool experience to my unfulfilled life as a charter student, the idea became increasingly appealing. So, with my heart in my mouth, I took a leap. 2. The benefits of homeschooling Homeschooling provided me with unique opportunities that I couldn’t get at a traditional school. Go at your own paceBecause I could learn at my own pace, I graduated from high school two years early and began taking college courses at sixteen. I’m currently almost finished with an Associates of Arts degree, whereas I’d be still be a high school senior if I had stayed in a traditional school!Create your own curriculumI’m not going to lie, it was really my mom who did the dirty work of making my homeschool curriculum, but I had much more control in creating a customized study plan that was most effective for my learning style. Most people use online programs exclusively, but I preferred a combination of online programs and textbooks I chose that worked best for me. Free timeI even had enough time for two jobs because I wasn’t drowned with homework and projects.Traditional school activities are available to homeschoolersI was still actively involved in extracurricular activities at my old school and maintained the friendships I made there. 3. What homeschooling taught me Homeschooling helped me develop skills that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Self-disciplineHomeschooling was almost like a college-prep experience because the progress I made was up to me. In college, your success is completely dependent on the effort you put in. Even if you’re failing the class, your professors won’t nag you or spoon-feed you the material. Setting and achieving goalsI learned to set personal goals and do everything in my power to achieve them. Study skillsI developed ingrained study skills because I was essentially my own teacher. Conquering distractionsLet’s be honest, it is SO much easier to get distracted at home than it is in a formal learning environment. That is one thing I struggled with when I started homeschooling, but I learned that I needed to manage my time wisely if I wanted to be successful and stress-free. 4. Homeschooling isn’t as weird as you may think Just because homeschoolers aren’t instructed in a classroom full of students five days a week doesn’t mean that they receive any less of an education, or that they don’t work as hard, or that they’re socially deprived. One of my biggest fears was being socially isolated, but homeschooling pushed me to be even more social than before because I had to make the extra effort to step outside of my bubble. And I’m not alone — I knew several homeschoolers who studied hard and were more socially involved than ever. Homeschooling is something I will NEVER regret. It allowed me to go far beyond my limits and taught me that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to take responsibility for my own education! You are unique. Your college should be, too. Get matched to colleges that are perfect for you with our College Match. About the author Emma is working on her Associates Degree at Glendale Community College and plans to transfer to a university and study communication next spring. She likes to play the piano, dance, read, and travel.