As a child, being homeschooled carries with it a certain stigma. Watch your teenager mention to a few new acquaintances that they’re homeschooled and behold their new “friends” start to snicker.
After all, homeschoolers are weird, right?
I’ll admit, I used to get irritated by hearing this stereotype over and over again, but I’ve come to believe that there just may be some truth to it.
Let’s think about this a bit. Although a couple million kids are currently being homeschooled in the United States, the vast majority of students go to public school.
At public school, these kids are told:
- what to wear, who to date, and how to act by their peers
- to sit down, be quiet, pay attention, raise their hands, and do as they’re told by their teachers
howwhat to think about morals, society, politics, family, and history by their school district
- what subjects are worthwhile learning about by the government
- and in many cases, what to wear as part of a district wide dress code
These students are literally crushed into conformity.
Now let’s compare this to the average homeschooler.
I’m going to admit right away that there are some pretty strict homeschooling parents out there who really do control a lot of what their children do, but, by and large, homeschooled children have the freedom to be themselves.
An interesting concept, right?
Untainted by what other people feel they should be doing, homeschool students are able to dress as they please and pass the time doing whatever activities they please because they are free from the ridicule that accompanies the school setting. They have the liberty to express themselves for who they really are and not who society thinks they should be.
Do you remember the “weird kids” when you were in school? You know, the ones with the purple hair, or the mohawks, or the ones who seemed to carry their oboes everywhere with them? The ones who got made fun of?
As a teenager, I thought these kids were more than a little goofy. I mean, really. Didn’t they know how to be cool?? Why did they try so hard to be different??
As an adult, I look back on these students and recognize them as the strongest kids in the school. They didn’t care what people thought of them. They were intent on living their lives so they could be true to themselves, despite the fact that this may have cost them lots of popularity points and caused them to be teased more than anyone should ever have to endure. They might have been “weird” by society’s standards, but their individuality was strong enough to shine through.
That’s the light that I see in homeschooled kids. Being protected from the pressures of the “what will people think” mentality has enabled these children to be who they are. They are the children who wear their elephant costumes to the grocery store with pride. The teenagers who have no qualms about staging a swordfight on the front lawn. The preteen girls who would much rather dig for worms or play dolls than worry about makeup or boys. The kids who will happily embrace the label of “weird” because they have no interest in conforming to everyone else’s standards.
So let them call your kids weird. If you look at the alternative, that can only be a good thing.