by Kim Blum-Hyclak
My daughter, Gabrielle, graduated several years ago. She had been homeschooled from the beginning, not conforming to the boundaries of a typical education. As a family, we started our homeschooling adventure under the philosophy of John Holt, a pioneer in the homeschool movement. We agreed that children have a natural curiosity. Given the right tools, environment, and encouragement, children can learn what they need to know without much “help” from us. We allowed Gabrielle, as well as her siblings, to follow their interests and have not been disappointed in their academic endeavors. Sometimes frustrated, but never disappointed!
While not following a typical “college preparatory” curriculum, Gabrielle still managed to earn all the necessary credits for graduation, and more. She had always known that college was an option, but not the only one. Her interests and her heart had always been in ministry, and that’s the path her high school studies prepared her for.
After high school, Gabrielle followed her heart and began working in youth ministry. She was accepted for the National Evangelization Team (NET), sponsored by the Catholic Church. She spent five weeks in Minnesota, learning various skits, honing her small group techniques, and becoming a part of her traveling retreat team.
Her team, consisting of ten young adults ages 18-25 and a couple of adult chaperones, spent the following nine months living out of suitcases and backpacks. Luckily, Gabrielle was rather petite, so her clothes didn’t take up a lot of room. She had a storage cabinet at NET headquarters to store her seasonal clothing since she wouldn’t know from one month to the next where she would be.
Gabrielle’s team traveled throughout the United States, putting on retreats for junior and senior high youth. The length of the retreats varied from one night to all weekend, but most nights involved a different city, a different parish, and a different group of teens than the night before. Host families at each stop fed and lodged the team. She soon learned that she better like Sloppy Joes and pizza!
Gabrielle eagerly looked forward to that next phase of her journey, both the literal one and the figurative one. She knew the world extended beyond the county line and couldn’t wait to see new parts of the country. She had grown up in South Carolina and had experienced Ohio winters, but not Minnesota winters! She hoped to get the chance to visit New York and California, and was looking forward to seeing the varied cultures our diverse country holds.
What would happen after NET? She wasn’t sure. All she was sure of is that God would let her know.
Editor’s Note: What happened after NET? Gabrielle has worked as a nanny for the past several years and currently tends a 4-year-old and a 5-month-old. She’s also still involved with her church, teaching Confirmation classes.
About the author…
Lancaster resident, Kim Blum-Hyclak, homeschooled three of her five children for over 20 years. She saw many changes in her homeschooling years, from being required to seek permission from the local school board and being advised to keep her children inside during the school day, to being on the board of one of the original Third Option homeschool associations. She still believes homeschooling was one of the most rewarding experiences she and her children had. Her youngest will begin his final year at USC Columbia in the fall of 2012. He currently works for the University. Her middle child has worked as a nanny for the past several years. Her oldest graduated from USC School of Law in May of 2012 and will begin clerking for the York County Circuit Court Judge in August. As her homeschooling years came to an end, Kim revived her writing aspirations and still enjoys learning – even without the kids going along.