Some people worry about homeschooling their kids and how it can work out. But Simone Biles' homeschooling experience was the only way to push her gymnastics career forward, she recently told The Undefeated. Biles was adopted by her grandfather, along with her sister when they were young and her mother was in rehabilitation for substance abuse. To work around her training, her grandfather decided that a Christian homeschooling experience was better for a few reasons. "If I had a competition, I had to leave [school] for like a month, I would take my schoolwork with me," she said. "I didn't get the high school opportunity, but it always worked out," Biles added. Her 2016 Olympic wins definitely make it seem all worthwhile, even if she did get to miss prom and her friends choosing to be homeschooled at 13-years old.
Biles said it wasn't only easy. Biles told The Undefeated that she spent an entire weekend crying when she realized she was going to have choose to be homeschooled if she wanted to move forward as an athlete. It was the only way to take gymnastics seriously.
“I was just so lonely all the time,” Biles said. “I missed, like, all my friends at school and stuff. But I mean, in the end, it worked out.” Because slacking in the gym just wasn't an option. “I decided that I wanted to be better. I didn’t just want to throw my skills, I wanted them to look good," she said.
Eventually though, the sacrifice of a "regular" high school experience paid off. While training she made friends and was able to do her thing. Homeschooling families usually have to confront a lot of bias and rude questions about "socialization" when it comes to their choice to take their children out of the traditional public or private system and do it themselves. But socialization isn't a problem — especially because kids are still signed up for extra curricular activities and also get the benefit of hanging with grownups, too.
A popular homeschooling blogger, Kate Fridkis, told PBS that, "Socialization is always the hot topic. People seem to translate the term [homeschooling] literally into ‘school in the home,'” she said. “But you’re actually socializing so much more than your average kid who’s sitting in class all day," Fridkis added. It all depends on how parents approach it. In Biles' case, it was absolutely necessary in order for her to get where she wanted to go with gymnastics. But kids don't have to dream of an Olympic gold medal to make homeschooling work for them.
Biles is crushing stereotypes all around with her Olympic wins. And now we can add being homeschooled to that list.