The BBC recently held the “100 Women Challenge,” which highlighted various females and their success in breaking the glass ceiling. One of these women is Camille Eddy, a 23-year-old STEM major who is now interning in Silicon Valley as a mechanical engineer.
Camille realizes that her position as a female in the typically male industry of engineering is quite rare, especially given the fact that she was raised in a minority home by a single mother. But the reason she offers as to how she overcame these odds is quite simple: homeschooling. Camille explains how her family pulled off such a feat:
“[H]ome-schooling takes dedication and a lot of planning. It also takes community. My mother had a lot of resources to rely on and access to information. If you have the key ingredients and the flexibility to work with whichever home-schooling system is in place in your area it can work.
My mum was a single parent but she was very creative and made money stretch. We lived in some of the smaller towns of the US so the cost of living was not high. I think it was something she set out to do and it was a huge opportunity for her.”
Camille goes on to outline three ways she believes homeschooling enabled her to become a mechanical engineer:
1. Tailored Curriculum
As Camille explains, science and math were not her strong suits early in her school career. Homeschooling, however, allowed her mother to restructure the curriculum to fit her daughter’s needs. Because they didn’t have to keep pace with a class of 25 other children, Camille’s mother could allow her daughter to slow down or speed up and focus on “mastery” instead of simply jumping through hoops of achievement.
2. Unstructured Free Time
Camille’s removal from a traditional classroom also gave her a lot more free time. Instead of focusing on busy work, Camille was able to put her time toward self-directed education:
“I had a lot of time to dream of all the things I could be. I would often finish school work and be out designing or engineering gadgets and inventions. I did a lot of discovery during those home-school years, through documentaries, books, or trying new things.”
3. Superior Socialization
One of the most common complaints about homeschooling is that it doesn’t provide adequate socialization. But according to Camille, it was homeschooling that actually gave her a superior socialization experience, primarily because she had greater exposure to all types of people of all different ages. Camille believes it was this experience which enabled her to become a better leader and public speaker.
America is continually trying to help women, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged break through the glass ceiling and enter science and math fields. Taking Camille Eddy’s experience into account, would more support for homeschooling – especially for those being raised in single parent homes – enable more students to reach goals that seem impossible in the traditional school system?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.