Homeschooling not a road block to NCAA hockey

Two Minnesota hockey players enjoyed spending time with their teachers a little bit more than most students do when theyâÄôre kids. ThatâÄôs because juniors Alexandra ZebroâÄôs and Kelli BlankenshipâÄôs teachers were their mothers, as both skaters were homeschooled when they were younger. âÄúMy mother wrote out schedules for us everyday,âÄù Zebro said. âÄúIf we needed help, sheâÄôd give it to us. Otherwise we definitely learned how to self-motivate and learn things on our own as well.âÄù Self-motivation was taught along with the basics such as math, reading and writing. âÄúI had to find ways to tackle different tasks,âÄù Blankenship said. âÄúIf I had any questions, my mom was always there to help out. Motivating myself to get things done was definitely a huge lesson.âÄù One thing both skaters didnâÄôt learn on their own, however, was hockey. Zebro was homeschooled up until seventh grade when she went to Faithful Family Academy, a charter school that is offered as a transition for homeschoolers through tenth grade. Her educators were either retired teachers or teachers in graduate programs. Since Faithful Family Academy doesnâÄôt offer hockey, Zebro played for St. Francis/North Branch and was team captain from 2003-2006. Blankenship was homeschooled since elementary school than transferred and graduated from North American Hockey Academy in Vermont in 2006. She competed with the Washington Pride Under-19 and Florida Coyotes Under-15 teams before moving to Maryland. However, having teammates that arenâÄôt homeschooled wasnâÄôt an issue for either. Zebro said she found it was easy to relate to her teammates. âÄúOne thing homeschooling does teach you is how to relate on many different levels to different people, whether its adults or younger kids or kids your own age,âÄù she said. Coach Brad Frost said he thinks both have improved as people and players since coming to Minnesota. âÄúBoth socially and hockey-wise, they both improved immensely,âÄù he said. âÄúBeing homeschooled was obviously a little different. Kelli [Blankenship] went to the North American Hockey Academy; so she was around kids her own age. Zebro, on the flipside, wasnâÄôt as much.âÄù Despite the difference off the ice, both have found roles with the Gophers on the ice. Frost said BlankenshipâÄôs game is based around speed and skill, something she has a lot of. âÄúThis is [BlankenshipâÄôs] best season yet,âÄù Frost said. âÄúSheâÄôs really using her speed well and getting the puck to the net and really doing some great things for us.âÄù ZebroâÄôs role is more mixed, Frost said. âÄúSheâÄôs been balanced between defense and forward,âÄù Frost said. âÄúShe skates well and has good hands.âÄù