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!”
😆 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.”
😆 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.