But You’re So Normal! Reactions to Homeschooling

This is a little different post for me. It’s not really about books, and it’s certainly not about personal style, but the subject of homeschooling has come up several times in the blogosphere lately and I really want to write about it.

First, my friend Katie @ Bookish Illuminations wrote a review of Devoted by Jennifer Matthieu. The protagonist of the book is a member of a fundamentalist church and is homeschooled. A comments conversation with Katie (in which I learned that she was homeschooled too) was my first inspiration for this post.

Next, my friend Jennie @ A Pocketful of Polka Dots wrote about being homeschooled in Georgia in the 1980s. Her parents were actually prosecuted by the state and their court case helped legalize homeschooling in Georgia! Jennie writes, “In case you are wondering, I am perfectly normal.” That sentence solidified my amorphous homeschooling post idea!

Like Jennie, I was homeschooled from 5th grade through graduation. Homeschooling was newly legal in NC and my parents encountered a fair amount of opposition. I now homeschool my two children and, while I don’t have to deal with outright opposition, there are still a lot of funny, ignorant, and rude reactions to contend with.

 

So, here are some real life reactions I’ve heard both as a student and a teacher, with my responses:

My church youth group leader: “I’m concerned about you going away to college. You don’t really know how to interact with people.”

Really, dude?!? How am I any different from the other girls in the youth group? I have close personal relationships with people of a variety of ages, hold down a part time job which requires me to interact with the public, and I perform onstage with a traveling choir.

Apparently, he was actually worried that I would go wild in college since I would be away from home for the first time. I went to 2 frat parties and had a crappy boyfriend my first semester, but that’s about it.

A casual acquaintance my Freshman year of college: “Oh cool, you must already know how to study on your own and be self-motivated!”

YES, THANK YOU! Someone gets it!

A friend from my 20s: “But you’re so normal!”

πŸ˜† Sometimes laughter is the only response. Also, thanks for the title of my post!

A Bible teacher friend: “Young Earth Creationists are all a bunch of weird homeschoolers.” (This was actually said before he knew I had been homeschooled / was homeschooling).

No, no, not really. While there are certainly a number of homeschoolers who are Young Earth Creationists that doesn’t necessarily make them weird (lots of Christians, homeschoolers or not, believe in a literal 7 day creation).

Also, plenty of Christian homeschoolers, myself included, believe that the Bible is not, and was never intended to be, a science textbook. I actually agree with my Bible teaching friend that the Bible should be read literarily rather than literally.

My dental hygienist: “I bet you’re going to have a bunch more kids!”

Girl, you are lucky your hands are in my mouth so I can’t fuss at you. You are double lucky that I’m too polite to bite you. I mean, seriously?!? Thanks a lot, TLC, for making everyone think all homeschoolers are the Duggars. Also, even if I was going to have a bunch more kids, it sure wouldn’t be any of your business.

This one ties back into Devoted, as the main character comes from a Quiverfull family. If that’s a choice both parents have made, great! But it’s not the choice Bert and I have made, and it’s not at all typical among the vast majority of homeschool families.

A dear, sweet friend: “Have you ever considered not home schooling? That would definitely free up some of your time.”

πŸ˜† Again, I just have to laugh. If my kids were in traditional school I would have significantly less free time because I’d have to deal with the mad morning rush to get out the door, drop-off and pick-up lines, supervising homework in the evenings and on weekends, etc. Plus, I’d probably be working outside my home, at least part-time, so . . . how does that free up my time exactly?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my somewhat ranting post! In all seriousness, homeschooling can be an awesome and rewarding experience. And most of us are, in fact, perfectly normal.

 

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13 thoughts on “But You’re So Normal! Reactions to Homeschooling

  1. stephaniesbookreviews says:

    I was homeschooled until 5th grade and dealt with lots of comments like you have. I always like to point out that we had a Home School group in our area that we went on field trips with and even had gym classes together. I also have friends that were homeschooled all through high school and ended up going to more high school dances and sporting events than I did.

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    • Selah at A Bibliophile's Style says:

      When my parents first started homeschooling they were heavily involved with homeschool groups (they even started a new one, which is still around almost 20 years later). As my siblings and I got older, we became more involved in other activities (Scouts, dance, karate, choir, baseball, music).
      I’ve never worried too much about the socialization aspect of homeschooling. My kids are extremely outgoing (much more so than I am) and make friends wherever they go. They can carry on intelligent conversations with other children and adults. As they get older and become interested in extracurricular activities, we are encouraging those interests.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whitney @ Whitney Γ  la mode says:

    This was a really interesting post, Selah! I’ve never known anyone closely who was homeschooled or who homeschooled their children so reading these reactions was eye-opening. While I hope I’ve never been crass or rude to homeschoolers, seeing this issue from your perspective will help me to interact with homeschoolers in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mtsedwards says:

    We have a lot of homeschooled kids coming into my school because supposedly we offer a similar environment because we’re so much smaller than a regular high school (I’m the only junior English teacher for the entire grade so I know them all!) and I must confess to having had my share of awkward thoughts about homeschooled kids. That said, I also have interacted and become great friends with students – have handpicked them to be my TAs – before I even knew they were homeschooled. I guess what I’m trying to articulate and perhaps am failing at drastically is that the perception of homeschooling is skewed but, like all things that lend themselves to stereotypes, once you get to know individuals, everything else is just static.

    As a teacher, I AM leery of my homeschooled kids, bit not because of them; I’m usually apprehensive about the parents because they tend to take a more hands-on approach to their kids, which is fine but sometimes, you just gotta let go and trust that I’m doing my job. As a mother, I am both a) envious of and b) relieved that I don’t have homeschooled kids because a) I wish I had the luxury of that choice but b) I know my personality dictates that I’d end up bashing my head against a rock if I spent too much time with my own children. ;p

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    • Selah at A Bibliophile's Style says:

      In what way is homeshooling a luxury? Many homeschool moms, like me, work from home. Many others work hard to stretch a single salary. Plus, we have to buy all of our own curriculum and that can get expensive.
      I’m not a saint. My kids can drive me nuts, just like your kids do to you. My solution (really my mom’s) is Quiet Time. When schoolwork is done, if we are staying home, the kids play on their own. This is my time to work / read / blog / whatever I need to do.

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      • mtsedwards says:

        Living in California pretty much demands a double-income family, if only to pay for the electric bill alone! 😜 All facetiousness aside, what I meant by “luxury” is just that: I don’t want to work at stretching a single income and I’d be too antsy working from home. No offense intended with that rather loaded word.

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  4. eloisej says:

    Nice post. I’ve heard all sorts of remarks like that as well. It gets old but now I’m come to the point where I really just can’t help but laugh anymore. πŸ™‚

    Like

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