MariRuth Runyon, 13, is homeschooled. She plans to enter Georgia-Cumberland Academy in the fall of 2015 as a freshman. To orient herself to the transition from homeschooling, she requested an interview with Nancy Gerard, GCA’s Director of Alummi and Development. The interview follows:
Q: As a homeschooler what should I be doing to prepare myself for academy?
A: “There are several things,” Gerard states. “Learn to be a good manager of your time. When you homeschool you don’t typically have the constraints in time that you do in a school setting and so coming prepared, knowing how to manage time, knowing how to be self-disciplined with your use of time, all those things are really important.
“A lot of homeschoolers do get to be rather good about being self-directed, self-initiated, but some kids come out of elementary school used to having their parents stand over them to make sure they are getting their homework done. This can be a problem.
“So when kids come to high school,” Gerard says, “sometimes they're not equipped to manage their own time and be disciplined about how to use their time.”
Gerard also pointed out, “The first semester or so, when students get here they’re just having so much fun with their friends, that they don’t handle their time well. Besides that sort of self-discipline piece, the other thing is the social part of it. Some homeschoolers take the opportunity to interact with other kids and some kids don’t. Some homeschooled kids may not be comfortable around other teenagers. One of the things you see in homeschoolers is that they’re typically good at interacting with adults, because they’ve been around adults mostly and where they struggle maybe is getting along and interacting with kids their own age.
“The other thing is to make sure you’re academically up to snuff, where you need to be. It’s a challenge to jump from elementary school to high school, academically. Those are the three big areas, time management, the social, and the academics.”
Q: What kind of testing do you offer for career guidance?
A:” In freshman Bible class they do some career testing and talk about goals for the future and how to choose a career. Every year we have a career day when we bring in 20-30 adults who come and talk to the students about their careers. During the senior year all students receive career aptitude and personality testing done by a psychologist who also spends an hour with each of the students to go over the results of the tests.”
Q: What kind of social events can we expect at GCA?
A: “Every evening there is rec from 7-8. This provides a time for students to participate in intramural sports, but if students don't want to play team sports there are other games such as foosball, ping pong, or air hockey. There is also a weight room and some students choose to work out or walk during this time.
“In the fall, there’s supper club and it’s an opportunity to ask someone, so the guys usually ask the girls; it’s themed and it’s usually on campus.”
“There’s the barn party and other student association planned activities. The first Saturday night of the school year you get to know your classmates. Everyone’s in their class groups and they do all sorts of crazy relays and games.
“There’s usually three or four banquets throughout the year. That’s more of a dress-up-go-out-to-dinner type thing. There’s tons of social stuff going on that’s not always formal.”
by MariRuth Runyon
photos by Betty Kossick