2016 Convention Midwestern Region

Midwestern Region Contest: The Foundation of Success

House made out of books

Maya AlpertMaya Alpert
Midwestern Region Blog Contest—1st Place Winner
Alpha Epsilon Eta Chapter, Secretary
Stephens College, Columbia, MO

“Finding Home” is the theme chosen for Sigma Tau Delta’s 2016 International Convention. Home is an interesting concept, one that can be concrete or abstract, depending on who is defining it. In honor of this theme, the Midwestern Region hosted a blog contest asking the questions, “What does home mean to you?” Maya Alpert’s blog, “The Foundation of Success” is the winner of the Midwestern Region Blog Contest.

The idea of home often is tied to geography, to the physical markers of belonging. I was raised in Southern California and left for the North Bay area after I entered high school. Home changed once more when I relocated to Missouri. Moving with my family across the country, leaving my birthplace, my beautiful California landscape, changed my physical definition of home. But home is more than geography, and for me, one home that has not changed is the home of my strong and unique educational upbringing.

House made out of books with appleFrom kindergarten through ninth grade, I was homeschooled. There were a few hands lent by the occasional charter school, but my mom engaged in the majority of my education. There are many versions of homeschooling, and some kinds, the kinds revealed to the world in grim news reports, do serious damage not only to children but to the reputation of homeschooling itself; but my homeschooling, the kind my mom employed in order to educate me and my siblings, was the “good” kind. My mom’s teaching allowed me many wonderful opportunities: I engaged with my community in an educational manner at times when traditionally-educated students were in the classroom; I developed an early sense of my passions, such as writing and reading, and was not confined to learn those subjects at anyone else’s pace but my own; and, homeschooling fostered strong relationships with my parents and siblings. I experienced an education that, when I was growing up, was largely criticized and misunderstood—but it was mine.

My educational experience is not universal, but there are many positive attributes to homeschooling. Homeschooling provided a learning-positive foundation that has stayed with me through my time at a small charter high school, to community college, and finally to the prestigious women’s college from which I will earn my Bachelor’s Degree in English.

MWBlogContest1stPlacePic2For me, home is the academic base that has helped to secure my current success. I am Editor-in-Chief of my college’s literary magazine and a member of two international honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Tau Delta. I have an intense love of writing, reading, and learning in general. I owe this to my homeschooling experience. Homeschooling is a part of my past, but also my present and future. No matter where my physical home may be, my distinctive education is a constant in my life. In other words, it is home.

How does your personal education experience play into your definition of home?

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  • Your educational experience has really prepared you to be open to this convention’s theme, as part of that theme is the idea that Sigma Tau Delta itself — and all that Sigma Tau Delta represents in its celebration of learning, literature, and language — is a Home to many of us Sigma Tau Deltans. We return to chapter meetings to find our campus families and return to convention each year to reconnect to our Sigma Tau Delta families, and return to our favorite books as if to a long-lost home. Your posting was great, and I congratulate you on your HOME-schooling.