After Being Home-Schooled, Annie McKim Adapted to Life in Classroom (and on Court) at Sandburg

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 27, 2020 3:39 PM
  Campus News, Athletics

Galesburg, IL

Annie McKim had been home-schooled until this year, but the Carl Sandburg College freshman said her biggest adjustment wasn't in the classroom. It was on the court.

“I was planning on taking just classes,” McKim said. “I had no idea I would be able to play sports anywhere.”

McKim had limited experience playing organized athletics prior to this season, but she turned into a key contributor on both the Chargers’ volleyball and women’s basketball teams. McKim, who lives near Yates City, spent the previous season playing volleyball and basketball with Galesburg Christian School, and she had played in a handful of volleyball tournaments the past few years with an area club team.

When Sandburg volleyball coach Todd Winkler asked Galesburg Christian coach Rick Ruhl last year if he knew anyone who could play middle hitter for the Chargers, Ruhl mentioned McKim. Winkler recruited her to the team, and Sandburg women’s basketball coach Mike Bailey offered to have her to join his squad as well.

“It was a huge leap. When I played for Galesburg Christian, I was one of the tallest girls in the conference,” the 5-foot-10 McKim said. “Here, I’m really kind of short for a middle. I definitely grew a lot in the first month of volleyball.”

She ended up being one of just five Chargers to play in all 45 matches this season, finished second on the team in blocks and helped Sandburg win its second straight Arrowhead Conference title in volleyball. She went straight from that to basketball, where she developed into a key forward off the bench for the Chargers.

“I didn’t really get that break, but I’m definitely glad I did both of them,” McKim said. “I really love it. I’ve gotten to meet some pretty cool people. It’s very busy, but it’s all blended in together.”

Her crowded schedule hasn’t had an effect on her academics, though, as she finished her first semester at Sandburg on the dean’s list. Learning is still learning, no matter the setting.

“It’s not a whole lot different with the schooling academic-wise, but it’s definitely a new environment with, obviously, a lot more people around,” McKim said. “A lot of people thought it was really cool — way cooler than I thought it was — when they found out I was homeschooled. Moving from class to class and having multiple teachers is definitely new for me, but overall, it’s the same work.”

McKim said her experience being home-schooled actually prepared her well for life in a college classroom. Her mother taught her through her sophomore year of high school, then McKim spent more time doing independent learning through online classes and teaching herself through textbooks.

“I’m glad that I was home-schooled now that I’m in college,” McKim said. “Being able to teach myself, I feel like I learned better because I was home-schooled. They expect you to take more responsibility in college, and I feel like I already kind of had that responsibility while I was home-schooled.”

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Aaron Frey