Home-schooled student has no regrets at all

January 13, 2001

Home-schooled student has no regrets at all

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

Lydia Hudzinski doesn't see anything wrong with public schools, but even if she could, she wouldn't change her home-schooled upbringing.

Being home schooled strengthened her ties to her Waynesboro, Pa., family, taught her time management and gave her confidence in her abilities.

Home schooling is an important alternative, providing checks and balances, said Hudzinski, 21, a junior at Shippensburg University.

"It keeps the public school system checking, 'Are we doing this right and doing a good job?' and does the same for home schooling," she said.

While Hudzinski knows it sounds odd, she wants to teach English in a public middle school.

Hudzinski believes the home schooling movement was a response to social problems. More good teachers - at home or in school - will benefit society, she feels.


Whether she home schools her own children will depend on the circumstances at that time. Either way, she would be involved in their education.

Hudzinski remembers her lack of enthusiasm when her parents told her she wouldn't be going to first grade at the public school with the other kids.

She said she thought she'd be "missing out."

"I just really didn't have a picture of the long-term benefits," Hudzinski said. "Now, I don't think I missed out. There's a lot of activities out there and a lot of support groups."

She raised seeing-eye dogs through 4-H, participated in church activities and spent time with her public school friends.

Still, Hudzinski said she thinks home schoolers must overcome a "stigma" because many people associate them with religious fanatics or isolationists.

"If you saw me walking down the street, I don't think I'd look any different from other students," she said. "I wasn't locked in a closet. I have strong beliefs and a strong faith in God, but I'm not on a soapbox."

And, after all, America is based on different cultural viewpoints, Hudzinski said.

For Hudzinski, the two biggest disadvantages - or most "frustrating" aspects - to being home schooled dealt with athletics and college enrollment.

While there are community sports programs, there aren't as many athletic opportunities available for home schoolers as there are for students who attend public school, said Hudzinski, who couldn't find a basketball team close enough to play.

"I think that is changing. A lot of private schools are allowing home schoolers to participate and home schoolers are creating their own teams," Hudzinski said.

As for college enrollment, Hudzinski said the process was trickier "because no one is holding your hand."

Without a school guidance counselor, Hudzinski and her mother figured out enrollment on their own. If your parents keep the proper records, applying to college shouldn't be a problem, she said.

The course work is heavier in college, but Hudzinski is used to being responsible for getting her work done.

One difference Hudzinski noticed on campus were the relationships students have with their parents.

"I see a lot of people in my classes, they don't know how to relate to their parents as adults. They never had that one-on-one time with their parents that they could develop an adult relationship," she said.

Mary Hudzinski said she has an excellent relationship with her nine children, including the three in college.

"We've never had a generation gap," Mary Hudzinski said.

The Hudzinskis' older children still seek their counsel, but they don't always agree and that's OK, Mary and Lydia Hudzinski said.

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