For our latest interview, I had the pleasure of speaking with my brother-in-law, Jesse Rabinowitz. We heard from his mother, Susan Rabinowitz, a few months back and I wanted to capture their story from her youngest child’s perspective. Jesse is 26 years old. Born and raised primarily in the Bronx, New York, he currently resides in Montana as an architect.
An Architect’s Homeschooling Journey
What was your homeschooling experience like?
It was not a rigid classroom experience. It was pretty laid back. I could move ahead if I was getting it. If I was struggling, I could get help right away and move on.
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How did you like your curriculum?
I thought it was fine. It’s all I knew. We learned everything like algebra and geometry at just about the same time other kids did. We were taught the same way only a teacher wasn’t there lecturing us. We learned it on our own, with mom’s assistance as needed. We were taught science a different way. There was a slant towards biblical ideals. They explained what evolution was but also showed us the other side.
What kind of extracurricular activities were you involved in?
Gymnastics, little league, roller blading, and hockey. While I was doing hockey, I was into long distance skating, so I would do like 20 miles at a time.
Wow that’s impressive!
Thanks. As soon as I graduated I went to college. I also did a mission trip to Jamaica in between that time.
Did you feel well prepared for college?
I think I could’ve been prepared a little better in some of the expectations. For my major in general, I wasn’t prepared for how crazy architecture study would be. So, I went into some of that blind and just had to roll with it. It did prepare me in that ability to just roll with it. If there were things I couldn’t handle I would just figure it out. I could still call mom, and she would be a sounding board for me. Though she didn’t know the content, she would help me talk through something and I would figure it out.
So, was this a strategy she used while homeschooling you?
Kind of. Math was the subject she was really good at. But sometimes with other subjects she had to read through some stuff and then help us figure it out.
What was the structure of your learning day and how was it different for you as the youngest sibling?
We didn’t have a uniform by the time it got down to me, so I did my work in my pjs. We started at 9:00 a.m. so it wasn’t as rigid as it was in public school. And we were normally done by lunchtime.
Would you recommend homeschooling?
I think if the parents can make the time to be with their children it could be a good thing. I also know there is value in having kids involved with other kids, especially from a spiritual standpoint. If they are saved and they are taught well, it can give them a chance to share the gospel with their friends and maybe have a bible study.
Are you meaning like high school or in general?
Well in general. Though, it may be better to homeschool at first so long as the kids have lots of opportunity to be around other kids. In our family there were 5 of us and we lived in NYC, so we always had plenty of kids around to interact with. We did sports and other things. But if you can’t get that, it may be hard. I did also have to learn some things in college being around young adults.
But you can do anything coming from homeschool. I know a doctor who was homeschooled. It doesn’t mean you don’t get an education. Growing up between church friends and kids my age, we were a lot further ahead than a lot of kids so we had more time to do other things.
There’s another component, a spiritual one. Every morning we would read the Bible with mom. So, by the time I was in my teens I knew my Bible better than a lot of adults I knew. That also became a part of the curriculum, so we got other training we wouldn’t have gotten at a public school.
What would you change about your homeschool experience?
I would change the way we did tests. I would make it a little more rigid in how we studied for it. Study skills was what I needed to work on the most in college. When I was ready to take an exam before, I would study then take the exam. In college the exam is at this time whether you’re done studying or not. If you failed an exam in homeschool, you just study again and retake it. Or if we did very poorly, mom would make us redo the whole unit until we got the material. In college you just keep moving. There’s no time to stop, go back, and redo it.
So, how did you decide what you wanted to study in college?
At first, I wanted to do geology and then dad saw how I really enjoyed building with Jenga blocks and balancing forms. He saw that spatial awareness and recommended architecture. But I got into landscape work and thought I wanted to do landscape architecture. Then, I spoke to two people within the department while touring the school and they swayed me back to architecture.
I was able to study abroad in Italy for a semester, which was nice. After graduating, a missionary friend overseas researched this organization for me called 100 Fold Studio. It’s one of two nonprofit architecture studios. But, it’s the only one that offers a path for licensure for young architectures. One of their big focuses is on training young architectures to combine faith and vocation.
That’s wonderful. What a great friend! So, through all of these years of homeschooling, what’s one thing you couldn’t live without or one thing that made your life easier?
The Bible. We started our day with that and did our studies together. The Accelerated Christian Education curriculum also used the Bible.
Amen. What was your favorite thing about being homeschooled?
Getting to be around my parents. A lot of friends of mine didn’t get the chance to be mentored by their parents. I also got a lot of flexibility in finishing my work and going out.
Words of Wisdom
If you could give homeschooling moms one piece of advice, what would it be?
Get into a routine early. If you’re too loose, the kids will take advantage of that and push boundaries.
Good advice. I’m definitely all about structure and routines. Well, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your perspective as a successfully homeschooled student. I know many will be blessed by hearing an architect’s homeschooling journey.
Related article: 8 Simple Tips for Homeschooling
If you have any questions or comments for me or Jesse, feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected]