From homeschool to hallways

Sisters make move to public school


Macy McClish

Sophomore Bella Russell and Junior Makaylin Russell enjoy their lunch in the cafeteria.

Undisturbed silence fills the space between the four sisters as they study on their own. Diligently they work through chapter after chapter, page after page with no one but themselves as the clock slowly ticks. This has been the case for the Russell sisters for most of their lives.

Junior Makaylin Russell and sophomore Bella Russell have never had the experience of public school until this year. Now the girls are students at Canyon High, where they have an opportunity to make new friends, a process Makaylin started during the summer.

“During ‘Matilda the Musical’ I made a few friends in the cast who go to Canyon High,” Makaylin said. “I started talking to them, and I really enjoyed their company. They showed me I have a friend group here. I met Mrs. Howell, and she was so welcoming to me. I wanted to be with these people more than just this summer.”

Come Aug. 14, Makaylin said she was nervous, but also very excited.

I met Mrs. Howell, and she was so welcoming to me.

— Makaylin Russell, 11

“Walking into so many people just standing around, I was a little uncomfortable and wary of making friends,” Makaylin said. “Then the theater class came and I was at home. It was back and forth between being uncomfortable and very comfortable.”

Makaylin said she had previously attended two different private schools, but started being homeschooled in the third grade.

“It started off with my mom helping me,” Makaylin said. “Then, in the middle of eighth grade I started using a curriculum we had at home, and I was just teaching myself. You get to work at your own pace, and I was able to focus on what I wanted to do.”

When she was homeschooled, Makaylin said she had a routine she followed each day as she progressed in her studies.

“I had to do it by myself. Everything was challenging for me.

— Bella Russell, 10

“I was taking two or three classes a week,” Makaylin said. “We had a calendar of what we needed to get done and then if we didn’t get that done, we would do it the next day. It was kind of like school, but just more leisure.”

Being homeschooled was not always easy and could be difficult, Bella said.

“I just did school from a textbook,” Bella said. “I had to do it by myself. Everything was challenging for me. I was the only one, so if I had any questions, I would have to wait until my dad got home.”

Now that she has made the transition, Makaylin said she will stick around and stay in public school for the remainder of her high school education.

“Both have pros and cons,” Makaylin said. “I really enjoy public school. I enjoy the fellowship around great people. I now get to see what it’s like to be around other people all day, which is way better.”

I now get to see what it’s like to be around other people all day.

— Makaylin Russell, 11

Bella said she wishes she would have been introduced to the school environment at an earlier age. 

“Most people have friends from junior high,” Bella said. “I kind of wish my parents would have enrolled me in school sooner.”

Being in a classroom environment has many benefits that being homeschooled does not offer, Bella said. 

“School pushes you a lot more,” Bella said. “I like when the teacher explains because I’m more of a visual learner. I think I will stay in public school.”