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How to Learn Without a School, or Teaching Yourself

Updated on November 28, 2010

Learn it Any Way You Can Get It

My mom was a single parent until I was in about the ninth grade, and then she married a christian man who decided that our family was going to become missionaries to Mexico.

I was about 14, and just getting to the tenth grade when we left, and mom got me a do it yourself mail in the tests when your done school called the American School located in Chicago, Illinois.  Nobody stopped to think that I might have a question along the way, and that in order to ask a question from Guadalajara by mail, it took two weeks for my question to arrive at the school, and then another two weeks for the answer to get back to me.  In the cases of algebra, it would take so long that by the time I got the answer to my question, I no longer remembered what the question was, or what I had been working on.  Needless to say, it was a very long and hard way to finish high school.

During these long periods of time I would fill in with some other course, but it was not the way to go, if we are talking getting it done.  I decided to look for work, for I was getting very bored, and went to an elementary school that taught in English, to see if there was something there that I could do.  It just happened that the girl that was working as the assistant librarian had decided to move back to California, so there was an opening.  The librarian did my interview, and told me that I was a bit young to work there, but if I could get the credentials needed to do the job she would hire me for she really needed help. 

I asked her what credentials I needed, and she said that my English skills were good, but the school required me to have university classes in Library Science, Dewey Decimal System, Alphabetical Filing, the Dewey  Card Catalog  Filing System, and lastly a course on how to repair books.  I asked how and where I could get these courses and she gave me the names and addresses of the peop[le to get in contact with at the University of Kansas, and at the University of Nebraska.  I sent off for the courses, (more school my mail) but they were fairly easy compared to my algebra, and I completed them all in a little over three months.  I was doing this at the same time that I was working on my high school courses, and I felt that the college courses were by far easier to do.

After I passed these courses I started my new job, which also gave me work credit for high school and really helped me finish that up a lot faster.  The job was wonderful, and my responsibilities were to check out books for the kids, re-shelf books they brought back, once a week I taught one class between first and fourth grade a library science class, and read them a story, or with the older kids a book, which we worked on a chapter at a time.  It gave me a chance to get the kids interested in reading, and finding the treasures of stories that could be found in the small library the school had.  I also had to repair books that the Librarian had finished classifying for the library, books that had been donated for the school.  As she classified them, I repaired the and shelved them and between us two we managed to circulate about six huge boxes of books through the school year. 

I worked at that school for two and a half years, part time, about twenty hours a week, and supplemented it with private riding lessons for children only the other twenty hours.  I began this when I was only about 15 years old, and made more money than my parents had coming in, as well as continuing my high school classes.  I also took a mail course through the University of Connecticut, on writing children's books.  By the time I got back to the USA, and went for college entrance exams, I was far ahead of my peers.

I feel that this proves that even if you feel you have all odds against you, that you should never give up getting yourself educated, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time.  I am so glad I did what I did at that age, for it gave me the inspiration to write that I have now.  Soak up as much knowledge as you can, like a sponge for you can never get enough learning in your life.  Be curious, and if you have a chance to learn something, even if you think it is not something you will be interested in or will need later, do it anyway for you never know when that knowledge will come in handy.


Submit a Comment

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Interesting story. Where there's a will there's away.

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    7 years ago from Oxnard

    Thanks, and even though at the time I thought that I was being neglected, looking back, it was the perfect experience for me to allow me to arrive where I am today.

  • LindaJM profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 

    7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    Very inspiring. I homeschooled my children so I love this story of your self-education experience.

  • etna5678 profile image

    Yasmeen Anwer 

    7 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan

    Amazing story of resilience and courage and perseverance. hats off to you!


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