Andrew Campanella: What message do you have to other parents who are wondering, “OK, well, this one type of school is working for one of my children, but not for the others?”
Erica Cox: The message is: if you want your kid to be a successful student, you need to find the right type of school and environment for them to thrive in. Don’t assume because it works for one, it will work for the others…. You cannot emphasize enough to other parents how important it is that a kid like where they learn.
Andrew: What was it like transitioning Zoe to homeschooling this year? Was it challenging? Was it rewarding?
Erica: The transition was kind of abrupt. We weren’t planning on doing it, but the school [Zoe attended] changed. She wasn’t learning anymore because it just wasn’t working for her. So that was a bit of a tough transition. But there are so many resources here locally for homeschooling, it’s actually kind of overwhelming…. Now, Zoe is one of the busiest homeschoolers I have ever met.
Andrew: Zoe, one of the myths about homeschooling is that homeschoolers do not have a chance to socialize with other students and make friends. What do you say to that?
Zoe Cox: I’m with my friends most of the time, even if it’s not in person. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I’m with friends, even though they’re not the same friends [doing learning activities.] I’m almost always connected, and I’m never alone or isolated. And with homeschooling, I’m so much happier… I don’t have a lot of anxiety anymore. I focus on learning and I am so, so much happier.
Andrew: What are some of the other benefits of homeschooling that people might not know about?
Erica: When you homeschool, you have so much more ability for children to do some type of career exploration. Had we stayed in a traditional K-8, she might never have found marine science as an absolute passion that she has right now. And she can, metaphorically speaking, “dive deep” into that every single week, and talk to actual people in the field who are doing so much [in marine biology.] That’s really going to help her in high school and when she decides to go to college, because she’s been able to research it so much.
Andrew: How will you be celebrating National School Choice Week this year?
Erica: Zoe is going to get together with a group of three or four friends. We’re ordering scarves, and trying to find the perfect spot to take a group photo. These kids are all friends. They have different interests… but they all have these choices, to [learn] all over Orange County, and we want to be able to celebrate that and show that.