Back when he was 5, homeschooling was supposed to be a temporary fix for SJC Long Island senior Daniel Rossano.
The family wanted to send the boy and his two sisters to private school, but the cost was too high for a one-salary household. Mr. Rossano’s mom looked to return to work as an elementary school teacher, only to soon be diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, making it impossible to work full time.
A family friend recommended homeschooling — and the rest is history: Mr. Rossano didn’t step into a classroom until he walked onto the campus of SJC Long Island in 2016.
Happy at Home
“I had no idea how homeschooling differed from other forms of education, as I was only just beginning kindergarten,” said Mr. Rossano, 20, a mathematics major who was homeschooled through 12th grade at his family’s home in Hauppauge. “However, my siblings and I loved it so much that we convinced our parents to stick with it!”
While Mr. Rossano’s mom taught him through fifth grade, he relied on pre-recorded lectures on DVDs for his middle and high school years.
“This encouraged me to try and answer questions on my own before asking for help, since getting a hold of a teacher was difficult,” said Mr. Rossano, vice president of SJC Long Island’s Matrix Club. “Even though there were plenty of times when I had to reach out and ask for help anyway, this style of schooling instilled in me a love of learning.”
Although homeschooling didn’t provide Mr. Rossano with many opportunities to socialize with other kids, he never lacked in that department.
“Most of my socializing took place through community activities, like church gatherings or volunteer work,” he said.
Mr. Rossano sometimes wonders what it would have been like to attend public or private school, but he recognizes that being homeschooled was a positive experience.
“Homeschooling shaped me into who I am,” said Mr. Rossano, who expects to graduate in 2020. “It instilled in me a love of learning. It taught me to be curious and ask questions. There were plenty of people who assumed that, because I was homeschooled, I was backwards or uneducated. I try not to judge people, since I know first-hand that being different isn’t always a bad thing.”
From Home to St. Joe’s
Transitioning from 13 years of homeschooling to a “public” school proved not to be a daunting task.
“Even before I started college, I never really felt nervous about making a transition to a new atmosphere,” he said. “I was just excited to start the next phase of my life. I’m very glad I wound up at St. Joseph’s. There are so many great and talented people here, from the students to the faculty, who I am very glad to know.”
“Undergraduate math research doesn’t seem to be very common at most colleges,” Mr. Rossano said. “Having that opportunity at St. Joseph’s has had a profound impact on my life and cemented my goal of pursuing a career in mathematics.”