This month’s interview is with one of our regular bloggers!
Austin is a former homeschooler who never truly got the idea that graduation meant a stop from learning. Self-induced learning activities include traveling the nation filming short videos of historical locations, reading through 500-page books on the Apollo space program, and just about any other fun learning thing he can think up. This spring he will be graduating from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee with a degree in biology, but is already looking forward to the fall when he will begin graduate school at Andrews University in Michigan and keep learning!
1) What is your name and what country/state/province do you live in?
My name is Austin Menzmer, and I currently live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
2) How long were you homeschooled?
I was homeschooled all the way from K through 12! Loved it!
3) What did you like most about being homeschooled?
Most of all, I really liked the flexibility that homeschooling gave me and my Mom — both with regards to what subjects were studied and our daily schedule.
For example, I really liked science in high school. While I took the required biology, chemistry, and physics, I really wanted to take an additional biology class, human anatomy, and physiology. I doubt that would have happened in regular high school, but it sure did my senior year in our homeschool! I thoroughly enjoyed that course, which was a major factor in my deciding to became a biology major when I got to college.
Secondly, is our daily schedule. For those of you who don’t know, I have a physical disability and at times have gone to therapy six days a week. Homeschooling gave more flexibility, in the fact that I could attend therapy appointments during the day rather than just in the afternoon/evening when “school got out.” We were able to fit (and accomplish!) my schoolwork around these therapy appointments, so I could still be a “regular kid” and have some free time later on in the day.
4) Was there anything you dislike about being homeschooled?
Honestly, nothing. (And my mother didn’t even pay me to say that!) Even now in college I still have a passion for learning, period. It is such an incredible privilege that so many take for granted.
5) Since learning never really ends, what is your favorite thing to study and learn more about?
Ha, ha! Exactly! I love learning about history in my spare time (could you tell from my virtual field trip articles??). It is so interesting to learn about how people used to live “way back when,” why they made the decisions they did, etc. I love seeing history come alive as I visit various historical sites and museums, particularly air and space museums!
I also really like studying biology (my major) and religion (my minor). In my mind, biology can be defined as “God is AWESOME!” My jaw seriously keeps dropping every day as I’m in class learning about some new aspect of how God created our universe. Truly, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom,” Isa. 40:28. And, what can get better than studying God’s Word? I love studying the Bible, regardless if I’m getting college credit for it.
6) What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Reading 500-page history books, playing with my sister, and making videos for my history-themed YouTube channel. I really like both the creative aspect of capturing video clips onsite and then editing them all together. I feel very fulfilled when I can help people virtually “visit” a place that they might not have the chance to go to in real life. I help educate them along the way when they just think they’re having fun watching one of my videos! Reading history books increases my knowledge and appreciation of different aspects of history that I would definitely not have otherwise. And spending quality time with those you love is never a waste. 🙂
If you haven’t seen my weekly videos yet and want to, be sure to check them out at www.youtube.com/tnphotobug. And, here is a link to a 60-second sampler of what you’ll find on my channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw2lITMzQb8.
7 ) How did homeschooling prepare you for college and/or the workforce?
I feel that being homeschooled really gave me the upper edge on practicing proactivity and other real life skills. For example, I had a bread business starting when I was around the age of 10 or 12. We lived near SWAU [Southwestern Adventist University] at the time, so that was my customer base. However, while my Mom would let me use her kitchen, she made me approach SWAU faculty and staff about buying my bread, she made me make the bread, and she made me pay her rent for use of her kitchen. Not only did I learn how to work and interact with others, but also some on personal finance and budgeting. Sure, I had a small percentage to spend how I chose, but we also had considerably larger sections for tithe, offering, and college/big savings. A year and a half ago, my parents and I jointly bought my first car, and a lot of the money I contributed was from all those years of saving my bread business money!
And, none of this would have occurred if I was not being homeschooled. It gave me a great opportunity to get some real life skills in ways I definitely wouldn’t just sitting in a classroom all day! Looking back at my college career, I am very happy for this early training in proactivity, because being proactive has helped me greatly in college, too.
8 ) What is the most annoying thing that people say to you when they learn that you were homeschooled?
Honestly, I have never had to face that problem. Wherever I have lived there has actually been plenty of other homeschoolers. So, nobody has really called me “weird” for being a homeschooler. I made a lot of friends with other homeschoolers at church, and many of my initial college friends were homeschoolers. Even with my college friends who were not homeschooled, they have never teased me at all. I feel very blessed!
Can I just momentarily give a plug for my school, Southern Adventist University?? It is awesome, you should definitely send your children to college here! I really like the spiritual nature on campus and the opportunities to grow your relationship with God. We have very strong academics, and the students here are definitely the dedicated, God-honoring people that you would want your kids to be lifelong friends with. Come “be a part” of Southern and learn more at www.southern.edu!