Alternatives, Part II: Homeschooling

Altan Cross has a lot going on.

Between a rigorous homeschool curriculum and the multiple theater productions he in, he is anything but motionless. It was no different when he was a junior at U32. He juggled lacrosse, soccer, Stage 32, Stage 16, local heater, music festivals and schoolwork.

Right away, when asked if he was more satisfied now than he was before leaving, Cross was honest; “ I have discovered a completely new side of [myself] and my life. I’ve come to do the things I’ve always dreamed of doing[…] I have had so many amazing opportunities, and I wouldn’t have had any of them if I was still at U-32.”

Cross, right, as Judge Turpin in Stage 32’s 2015 Fall Musical, Sweeney Todd, Directed by Erin Galligan-Baldwin (PC to Jason Galligan-Baldwin)

Cross, right, as Judge Turpin in Stage 32’s 2015 Fall Musical, Sweeney Todd, Directed by Erin Galligan-Baldwin (PC to Jason Galligan-Baldwin)

“[…] The homeschool program I use allows me to take my everyday life, and to take all the things I actually enjoy doing, and to apply them in a setting very similar to school. For Science credits, I get to hike and write about my experience, and for English credits, I get to read books that I enjoy, as long as the essays I write are still well-made […]  I’m getting Fine Arts credits for the plays I’m doing outside of school; I’m in seven professional productions— or at least, I will be, in total, since when I left U-32 till this summer.”

Cross said that homeschooling is only for this semester. “[…] my family is moving to California , but there’s also the possibility that we may not leave [Vermont] because I was offered a really tremendous scholarship to a boarding school nearby.”

No one had ever talked to him about homeschooling, Cross said. So, once he realized it was an option, “Making the decision came so quickly; it was overnight.”

“I know that most people believe you should wait till you’re out of high school or out of college to truly embrace your passions and to follow your dreams, and I agree completely. You should not cut your education short […] The thing is, leaving U-32 opened up opportunities that I never knew existed. And I’m not saying everyone should leave school; it’s not for everyone, and some people love the structure of a normal public high school.”

Cross playing defense in Varsity Boys soccer (PC Mark Bushnell)

Cross playing defense in Varsity Boys soccer (PC Mark Bushnell)

“It’s not as though my teachers weren’t amazing, or I didn’t love what I was learning,” he added. “I know what I want to do, and I‘ve learned so many things from [my teachers] already but I feel as though other experiences, other situations, putting yourself out of your comfort zone, teaches you so much more than you could ever learn by going to the same school for all four years [of high school].”

In relation to what he wished he could have done differently, Cross responded; “I wish that I had been able to say goodbye to more people, I wish that I had been able to think out the plan more before it happened […] I miss so many people, and I’m so grateful that they were all a part of my life, but now, now I’m truly becoming the person that I’ve always wanted to be.”