SummaryTo be successful in figure skating, the Williams family found that the team at Seton Home Study and their flexible curriculum, made Seton the ideal choice.
When my parents think of a scene that sums me up, they think of me at three years old, dancing through the zoo in a red checkered dress.
That was just months before I put on my first pair of ice skates. It was an accident really, getting into figure skating.
I was supposed to go roller skating, but Dad had chosen to take a shortcut instead of the main road, which meant passing the ice rink.
As we drove past the building, I pointed and asked my father, “What’s that?”
“It’s an ice skating rink.” He replied.
“Oh…I want to go there!”
Everyone thought it would be a one-time event, but within a week I was enrolled in Learn to Skate, and a couple years later, I had entered my first figure skating competition.
As the years went by, I traded in the red checkered dress for a frilly skating costume, and later traded that for a Swarovski-crystalled figure skating dress.
Now I travel from Williamsburg to Northern Virginia almost every day for training, often staying with families for weeks out of the summer.
There have been many injuries, from broken ankles to dislocated knees, racking up a total of eighteen broken bones over the years, but none of that has kept me off the ice for long.
After years of competing, though, I’ve switched my focus to coaching and ice shows, hoping to be traveling with a show by the end of the year.
Why choose Seton?
I had been homeschooled through another program for several years before joining Seton. After struggling with keeping a schedule, juggling training, and finding it almost impossible to get in touch with the school staff for assistance, I started looking for another homeschool.
While staying with a family in Fairfax, Virginia during training, I discovered one of the daughters was enrolled in Seton. She expressed how much she enjoyed the classes and coursework, so I did some research.
My parents had also heard about it through a longtime family and work friend, whose son had just graduated from Seton. He talked about how helpful the office staff at Seton was and how they were willing to accommodate and adjust various programs to help with his son’s ambitions.
Knowing that I would be able to get in touch with the staff instead of getting an answering machine, as well as knowing they would help to adjust and work with my needs as a student, was crucial in our family’s decision to switch. It was one of the best educational decisions we could have made.
What does it mean to you to be a Catholic and what role does the faith play in your life?
The Catholic faith has helped my family and me grow close to one another, to stay devoted to each other through everything, and to help each other, no matter the struggle. My faith has taught me not to ask why, but rather to focus on how I can help others. It has shown me how to be compassionate, to help and teach others.
Everything I have learned about my faith has helped me in my coaching, has aided my family, and helped me to be supportive of those around me.
What are your plans and dreams for the future?
I will continue figure skating for as long as I am capable. The immediate plan is to enter an ice show, with Disney on Ice being the main goal.
I’m also planning on training to become a USFSA technical specialist, meaning I will be able to read, level, and score a figure skater’s elements in competition.
After performing in skating shows, I hope to go to college for criminal psychology and continue coaching aspiring figure skaters.
Do you have advice for other homeschooling families?
Try to keep on top of your school work. Don’t let it pile up so you have to scramble the last few months before the year ends to finish.
Read your teachers’ comments and listen to their advice; they are there to help you.
A Word from the Parents
Laura & John Williams
Why did you chose to homeschool?
Trying to skate competitively while going to school full time was a constant uphill battle. In order to get good training, traveling great distances was often necessary, which caused Emily to fall behind in her assignments. We needed the flexibility that homeschooling could give us. To continue figure skating, go to competitions, and travel as needed, homeschooling was the ideal choice.
Have there been any challenges to homeschooling that you worked through?
We struggled with keeping a set schedule. Often times with all the running around from the rink, to off-ice, dance, and other various forms of training, school work sometimes took a back seat. It took a lot of effort to make sure that schoolwork became a priority.
There was a lot of adjusting, such as constantly carrying a computer and finding a quiet corner of the rink to work. Emily also found that learning a language outside of a classroom setting was a struggle, but she overcame that challenge with some outside assistance.
How has homeschooling with Seton been of benefit to you?
Seton allowed Emily to continue figure skating while providing her with a more personal school experience. She was allowed to work at her own pace, which gave her the flexibility needed to continue training and traveling from rink to rink to see her out of town coaches.
Do you have advice for other homeschooling families?
Be a part of your children’s education. Keep up with their grades, stay updated, and help your students when they are struggling. Try to find a clean, stress-free environment for them to work in to help keep them focused.