EP Homeschooling Heroes – Heidi Clarkson

Tell us about you and your family!

I am 12 and have been home schooling since the very first Covid school closure in 2020. 

I have a dog and wish I had a cat. I have 4 siblings 3 nephews and 5 nieces. We live in Queensland Australia, at home their is just Mum, Dad, my little sister and I.

We like to go on Sunday drives to explore the areas around us, we live near Wivenhoe dam so we like to go there and see the water levels and go for walks around the Dam. We like to catch up with our bigger family and have bbq’s or just hang out watching movies, sometimes I like to cast them all in short videos which I like to then edit, something I am teaching myself to do.

My Mum and I play Dungeons & Dragons! It’s great to hang out with friends and dress up in costumes, and dive into our imaginations. 

Why did you decide to start homeschooling?

I have always struggled at school, it was clear part way through Year 1 that something wasn’t right and I felt no one was listening to me when I told them I just can’t get it. My mum worked really hard to try and get me help and support in school but until Year 3 they wouldn’t in school test me. Turned out I have Visual and Auditory Dyslexia. My year 3 and 4 teachers were great they tried really hard to help me catch up and do my best but the school (private education) was not as supportive. When we closed down from the onset of Covid my mum asked the school for all the support tools they said I had available in class to support my learning, this is when Mum discovered the majority had all been untrue and there were no support tools.

Homeschooling was super hard to start with I had become so use to just falling behind and not understanding the work that I didn’t want to even try anymore why ask for help that never came in class. Over these past 2 years I have been working hard with my school work and have a healthier relationship toward learning.

What are the biggest challenges you face when homeschooling?

Getting the day started, I’m not an early bird so some days I just want to stay in bed.

The social side, not having regular contact with other kids my age like in the break times and lunch. Talking to other kids via messenger is great but not the same as interacting face to face. A virtual playground would be awesome supported and monitored by adults would be really good like an all day Zoom playground for kids.

What have you loved the most about homeschooling and what has been the most rewarding moment?

I actually feel like I am learning, I feel that I am able to connect with the information and understand it better. 

I feel so far the most rewarding moment is every time I give a right answer because I have fully understood the question and what I have to do.

How did EP improve your homeschooling journey? What are some features or support you’ve loved and how did they help you?

EP has made my home-schooling journey so much more enjoyable. My mum had tried a few different programs and I was not motivated to apply myself to these like I am with EP. I like the way EP is laid out and all of the interesting topics I can choose from. I feel like I am really learning so much and since using EP I feel more knowledgeable and smarter. The other bonus is that I have insomnia and this means that I can do my school work while my mum sleeps!

How did you hear about EP and why did you choose it as part of your curriculum?

My Mum felt the system we were using at first just wasn’t helping as much as she hoped (was an amazing system but not suited to someone with visual dyslexia it was all printed out work required a lot of reading off paper and writing answers). 

She found EP through google searching online schooling, I find when I work off a screen the words stay still more and I am able to read it better, typing on a key board is easier with larger letters and spaced out, multi choice answers helps keep things simple for me to be able to focus in the information not trying to spell and form letters correctly. 

How did EP improve your homeschooling journey? What are some features or support you’ve loved and how did they help you?

I can be a more independent learner I can read bigger words and am getting better at using support tools, this is mostly due to the program reading to me if I am struggling to read it or there is a lot of words on the screen and they start to run into each other. this feature has helped me so much to close the learning gap.

Being short informative blocks of visual lessons really helps me to see what I need to focus on in the learning.

The support after an incorrect answer is amazing, especially in math when I get in incorrect and it shows how to work the answer it really helps me to recall the steps and learn the new math skill, same in all the subjects with the support tools and examples and opportunity to have another go at the answers.

EP has changed my life in every way possible, I am far more confident in my school and personal life, I feel comfortable to express myself in clothes, and activities and sharing with others about myself. I am excited to try new things and meet new people. I am learning everyday and closing the learning gap, EP has helped me to see a future for me.

Describe EP in 3 words.

Totally Life Changing.

Has EP helped with any learning difficulties?

Yes! Visual and Auditory Dyslexia. It has boosted her confidence it has allowed her a way to learn that connects with her learning styles, it has encouraged her to ask questions and become engaged with the world. She no longer feels different or less than her peers, she has confidence to share her story and ask for help without fear.

EP has allowed my child to take control of her needs in learning and life. EP has given her a voice. 

What can EP do to better support your learning?

Video lessons mostly in history or geography, science, perhaps where there is large bodies of text that would be made more interesting or connecting via a video lesson. This is an idea more so as all the lessons and the system supports my learning already, so there isn’t anything that needs to change for me to continue positive learning experiences. 

What’s your or your learner’s favourite joke?

Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs.