The majority of students at RAHS have come from other public schools; however, sprinkled through every grade are a few students from homeschool backgrounds.
Freshman Lauren Vitellaro was surprised when she first encountered elements of public school to which her classmates were already accustomed.
“I’ve been homeschooled for my entire life, so this is the first time I’ve ever gone to public school,” said freshman Lauren Vitellaro. “The biggest changes I think are first and foremost just the amount of people you’re always with; it’s definitely something you have to get used to.”
Vitellaro has family in the aviation and engineering fields, so she grew up with a zeal to pursue the same career. In contrast to most public schools, RAHS provides massive encouragement for students with those specific passions.
“The environment here is really based on learning,” said Vitellaro. “[During homeschooling] I was working with other people, so it’s a similar atmosphere [despite] the massive amount of interaction and education.”
Vitellaro believes at a younger age homeschool is preferable, but when the learning material becomes more deep and complex, students perform better with a larger environment.
“Whoever’s teaching you [at home] can really personalize your education to the best fit: your learning style, your pace, and what you’re interested in,” said Vitellaro. “I think after that, what you get into gets more and more complex, and having teachers that really specialize in the individual areas can help [you] get back into education standards.”
In contrast to Vitellaro, freshman Adam Czuk was homeschooled for middle school only, while going to private school for elementary. He believes having attending a public or private school early on provides the social skills needed later in life.
“When you’re home schooled, you get [teaching] one-on-one; you’re able to go your own pace [instead] of the pace of your classmates,” said Czuk. “When you go to public schools, you get the social experience: to work with other students and learn how to communicate and work with other people.”
While Vitellaro thinks public schooling should be held off until high school age, Czuk argues that attending public school at a younger age is more efficient.
“I think it [public schooling] is good at a young age so you learn how to act around other people, so when it’s more important when you’re older,” said Czuk, “you aren’t learning how to [be social]; you already know how to, so you can accomplish your tasks easier [instead of focusing on the social aspect of school].”
In addition to the possible benefits of homeschooling, there is a feeling of freedom that often comes with homeschooling. Senior Rachel Demaree, who was homeschooled until high school, remembers several things that are unavailable in public schooling.
“As a homeschooler, I had a lot of freedom to go out and do stuff during the day,” said Demaree. “It’s a lot more hands-on, relaxed, and I had more opportunities to go do and try things that interest me.”
Rachel Demaree’s sister, junior Erin Demaree agrees. She got her education on a more flexible schedule while she was homeschooled.
“I miss being able to sleep in, and staying in my pajamas all day,” said Erin. “I also [miss] getting to go to museums when no one else was there, and being able to travel anytime you wanted. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we went to ‘normal’ school.”
In addition to its bygone advantages, homeschooling also comes with long-lasting benefits.
“[Homeschooling] gave me a bunch of practice talking to adults, which made me more comfortable interacting with them in a composed fashion,” said Erin.
Despite the common stereotype, most homeschoolers don’t just sit around in their pajamas. Something found in most homeschooling atmospheres is the focus directly on the student.
“In terms about something I really like about public schooling, the culture and the atmosphere [at RAHS] is surrounded to best fit us,” said Vitellaro. “[The RAHS culture] is something new, and I think it pushes everybody out of their comfort zone.”