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Recent student says his entire life was turned into a lesson

SHARE Recent student says his entire life was turned into a lesson

Travis Swan shrugs off inquiries about public-school traditions such as the homecoming dance or a school fight song.

"Those things are kind of dumb," said Swan, 19, when asked if he missed not going to a prom because his parents decided to teach him at home instead of enrolling him in public schools.He did, though, have a chance to attend the annual formal dance at a local high school. He declined the invitation, he admitted with a shy grin.

"I never thought about (going to public school) when I was younger," he said. "Back when I was younger I thought there was some boogeyman that would get me if I went to school."

Swan, who will start college at Colorado State University on Aug. 20, said he doesn't remember when his schooling started. His entire life, from music to picking flowers to taking a family car trip, was turned into a lesson.

"I don't remember a lot of how I was schooled. It was integrated into my life," he said. "I never figured out where school ended and non-school began."

Swan's family has been at the forefront of the home-school movement for some 20 years. His parents, Monte and Karey Swan, were the keynote speakers at Utah's Home Education Association convention Friday and Saturday at Brigham Young University.

"The home I grew up in was totally secure," he said. "They still gave us the freedom to do what we wanted, with boundaries."

He does, however, wish his mathematics lessons were more structured. Swan said he couldn't grasp algebra concepts from the drills in the curriculum his mother had chosen for him.

"It wasn't working for me," he said. "I'm not sure if it was my problem or my mom's or the curriculum."

After struggling for years with the subject, an algebra class at a community college helped him hone his math skills, he said. His test scores in other subjects reached into the 90th percentile.

"Ironically, I'm moving on in math, moving on as far as I can go," he said. "I've adequately learned the fundamentals."

Swan said his circle of friends includes other home-schooled young adults and fellow church members. His sister was often his constant playmate as a young child.

But the self-described "laid-back personality" doesn't anticipate having trouble acclimating to diverse ideas tossed about in the somewhat liberal halls of higher education.

"I never had a physics textbook. My life was academics," he said. "The reason my parents decided to home school me was to straighten the arrow, not just sharpen the point."