08 Jul Lauren’s Story
“So will you homeschool your kids someday?” Let me tell you, my new friend, if I had a quarter every time I got asked this… I can’t fault the multitudes of people to ask me this, though. I have quite an exceptional story thanks to my parents’ commitment to educating me at home. From the time I was small, I was the quintessential ‘oldest daughter’ with a million words and questions and ounces of confidence. Teaching baby sister Bethany the things that Momma taught me was ritual as was ‘helping’ her answer questions. Trickle-down Teaching was our normal so when the three of us transitioned to doing school at home (while Daddy provided our funding) it was pretty seamless!
I sailed through grade school… except when it came to math. Fractions and percentages were the bane of my tiny existence while anything pertaining to reading, writing, or art was my jam. I never had to be told twice to complete a creative writing assignment. My first fictional, ‘started-of-my-own-volition’ writing was started around age 7. Bethany and I soon got a little brother and Bethany got to be the mini-teacher for a change! Just a few years later, another baby brother made four and our school room was at capacity.
Into my high school years, I soared into new forms of artistic expression (like journalistic writing, theater performance, and filmmaking) while math continued to haunt me. Poor grades in pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry were rampant. As a student and as a person, I thrived on understanding concepts; I loved learning (and still do). Unfortunately, with this love of learning comes the pitfall of finding my identity and my worth in my cranial performance. So this constant mathematical struggle was devastating for me. In the end, it was so discouraging that I avoided it altogether, putting off my assignments. My high school graduation could’ve happened a year early, I was done with everything by the end of 11th grade. Everything, that is, except my final math subjects. I was looking down the barrel of delaying my high school graduation further if I didn’t complete my high school math credits. The last year of high school was spent doing just two things: proving theorems in a math tutoring center and writing my first non-fiction book which was published right before I was finally able to turn my tassel.
Deciding to pursue filmmaking as my vocation was fueled by the right side of my brain. Little did I know that many of the mathematical concepts I had so struggled with until now would soon be given context and the left side of my brain would awaken. I discovered a love for logistics, planning, and organization. All of a sudden, as if I had been tricked, I was calculating percentages that made up contingency budgets for camera rentals and divvying up the hours of a shoot day into fractional pieces to make the best use of available sunlight. It had meaning now. It had very real impact on my art. Fractions and percentages and numbers on a page became a vital part of my artistic expression. As if finally breaking through a glass ceiling, I experienced tremendous growth personally, educationally, and professionally. My film production partner, also a logistics lover, soon became my fiancé and then husband. What can I say? It was showmance. We traveled to many of the big film festivals together, like Sundance and Cannes, and are very proud of the art we’ve produced as a team.
My foundation for all the wonderful-strange-beautiful things I’ve done in my life is the education I received at home. It wasn’t always easy…I think it’s important for people to realize that students educated in the home are not immune to learning challenges or roadblocks. But it was always worth it. Will I educate my own children at home? I don’t know. But I do know that if I can install just a half portion of the love of learning I inherited from my home-based education, I will consider them a success.