Interest Led Homeschooling Teens: Interview with Charlotte

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Describe how your school has changed over the past few years?

It is more serious now.  I can choose the subjects I do with a view to the future, and also when I do them.  It is less hands on and more book learning, which is just the type of learning I like to do.   I am also being left to work at my own pace, which makes school more enjoyable!

Has this been a welcome change?

Yes.  It means my confidence is growing all the time because I am stronger in the subjects I have chosen to study.  I still hate maths and frankly wonder why we need geometry at all…and don’t even get me started on algebra!

You have individual conferences with your mum each week.  Are these helpful?

Yes.  If I am in a mood I can just vent 🙂  Funnily enough we don’t tend to talk about my school work, more about my plans for the future.  This really helps me keep my eye on the goal.

What are your long term goals for your future?

I want to write.  Be an author…write a book….become president (clearly she thinks we live in America)

However there is a lot more which interests me.  I love working with adults with learning difficulties, love working with children and am fascinated in the way the teen mind works.  Youth work appeals, as does doing some kind of ministry work abroad and travelling.  So we are trying to keep these in mind as we choose the next step.

What is the next step in achieving these goals?

GCSEs.  Reading more books.  Finishing the novels I’m writing.  Getting published whilst I am still a teen.  Having fun and not letting teenagedom get me down.

Academically speaking, how are you ensuring you have what you need to follow your dreams?

I sat down and had the IGCSE talk with my mother and between us we have decided which IGCSEs to take to keep all the doors, windows and cat flaps open for all of my interests above (oh, help).

Non-academically, what are you doing to help you achieve your dreams?

I read and write voraciously.  I study the fascinating subject of grammar (and yes she does mean this, and no she is not being sarcastic.  She literally loves to read about grammar).  I am currently a member of two young writer clubs where I obtain mentoring and learn to critique and take critique.  Occasionally I am asked to help someone else with their writing.  I own three blogs, although I have not fully launched two of them, but I am full of ideas for them.  One will be geared towards Christian teens and the other towards teen writers.  Music and Lyrics is the blog I share a bit about my life…and my boyfriend riding a turtle, stuck in traffic (note to self – don’t panic – I think she means boyfriend who hasn’t got here yet??  Oh help again!)

Do you have a back up plan at all?

Oh I have several!  Do you want to hear them?  Youth work…ministry work…becoming a travel blogger…I desperately want to travel because it will help make my writing more interesting.  I am currently in the middle of writing six (!!!) books, which mum would really like for me to finish at some point!

Are you enjoying everything you are studying?

I’ve already given you my (wise) thoughts on maths but apart from that I enjoy everything else.

How do you motivate yourself to do the work, even when you don’t want to do it?

It is not something I ever need to do.  The way my brain is means that I am compelled to work, and if I don’t I feel very dissatisfied and feel like my brain is exploding (she then goes off into some diatribe about some undiagnosed disorders she thinks she has that no-one yet knows about….she could be right 😉  )

If I am feeling unmotivated I give myself a good kick up the backside (interjects herself)  – or mum does it for me, and I swiftly buck up my ideas 🙂

Do you set daily/weekly (or in the case of Charlotte hourly) goals?

Oh yes.  All the time!  I set more non school goals than school goals.  Goals such as be more positive, help more with my little sisters and I always set the bar high in terms of the marks I achieve for my work and it really irritates me if I achieve less than I think I am able to.

What stops you just sitting around watching tv all day?

My mother! (both giggling – I so knew she would say that!)  I try to stay away from too much screen time.  Mum likes to keep the total to less than three hours – which I sometimes achieve 🙂  To be honest I would rather not have my brain turned to mush any more than it already is, and I feel screen time does that to me.

Are your parents happy with the choices you have made for your future?

Are you? (I nod)  Yes.

Do you find being a teenager hard?  What specifically makes this age harder than previous ages?

Yes.  Hormones and rushing emotions.  Despite the fact I am homeschooled peer pressure is immense.  Also there are times when I can be quite selfish and that doesn’t feel right..

What has helped most in combating the effects of hormones?

My parents support, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, sugar (!), uplifting music…often I will have a bath which is soothing but to be honest it also allows me some time on my own with music which I find very calming.

My normal personality is to be very happy, optimistic and glass half full….with wine (please will someone HELP!! Please note Charlotte does not and has never drunk any wine….except for perhaps communion wine) but when the hormones hit (couple of times each month), it definitely reflects in my writing.  I tend to write darker stuff when I am not my normal happy self, this helps because once the dark stuff is on the paper it is no longer in my head and can’t go anywhere else (she qualified this by saying that whilst some people use more negative or harmful ways of coping, she uses a pen and paper…..after all ‘a pen is mightier than a sword’ – yes she quoted me Shakespeare!)

Do you regularly set goals and not reach them?

Not usually.  I’m fairly good at setting goals and reaching them.

What do you do when you are struggling to complete something?

Ask for help, or start again for fresh perspective.

Do you feel more self-motivated because your goals (exams/adult life/jobs etc) seem much closer now and you’re more aware that it will be more down to your hard work as to whether you succeed in your chosen path?

This year I am definitely working much harder than ever before.  Last year I was basically allowed to just write….anything and everything.  This was amazing and eye opening and I really did learn so much.  However, I also learnt that if I focus only on my writing I end up fizzling out and becoming unproductive.  This year has been good because I have made the decision to do multiple IGCSEs and I have expanded my hobbies to acting, dancing and singing.  This keeps things fresh, balanced and pressure free.

Do you look forward to your future with excitement?  If so why or why not?

Yes, very much so!  In the present I am on an adventure to search for and find all the keys to open all those doors to my future, which is very exciting in deed!

Is there anything you would change about your homeschool journey so far?

Having to do algebra because it won’t help me later on in life!  But on a more serious note, no!

Do you have anything you want to add?

My mum encourages me to always break my limits and set new ones for myself.  Granny plays a big part in both my school work and my writing.  She is as honest and upfront as mum and gives me her opinion whether I ask for it or not!  This is very valuable to me 🙂

Oh, and one last thing, if mum wishes to buy me some more books I would find that very supportive!

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