Things you get if you’re homeschooled

Religious Homeschool Kids
Homeschooled? OK, not like this. Source: Still from "Mean Girls."

The scene above from “Mean Girls” is what most people seem to think when they find out you were homeschooled.

The fact that I was homeschooled from kindergarten through my senior year of high school is not something that I often divulge to people (until now, I guess, Internets), because you get asked about a million insulting questions right after that. “Did you have any friends? How were you socialized? Did you even learn about evolution? How did your parents teach you everything you needed to know? Do you make all of your own clothes? Was college really, really hard for you? But you seem so NORMAL!” And so on. Sigh.

That said, today I was reflecting on the reasons why I’m thankful I was homeschooled.

So, here’s my list:

Things You Get If You’re Homeschooled, Apart from a Lot of Discrimination

  • An extremely high tolerance for “weird” people and “nerds.” Later in life, you have a lot of grace and common language with these people, because you were/are one yourself or spent a lot of time with them. Either way, homeschooling makes you patient with the uncool.
  • A total lack of pop culture references from your childhood. If you grow up without TV, like we did, you have to pretend that you really miss Nickelodeon shows and 90’s bands that you are supposed to cherish just to appear normal. Even today, when people are like, “OMG, don’t you wish you could watch ‘Saved by the Bell’ all day??” I always pretend like it’s my favorite, too, even though I’ve never seen it. As Emily likes to say, “I cultivate a nostalgia for a childhood I never experienced.”
  • Great rapport and ease of conversation with grown-ups. Yeah, we dress funky, but your parents love us because we carry on conversations with them like mini-adults.
  • A curious mind and an excitement about learning. Unlike our more traditionally educated peers, homeschoolers often have no shame about loving school. We didn’t get recess or video games or texting; our default hobbies were usually an extension of our educations. Best day in the world for me? Library day!
  • Natural ease with humans of all ages. We spent time with adults, babies, and kids of our own age every day, rather than just kids of our same grade. This means you could entrust your infant to just about any homeschooler and he or she would be equipped to care for it, solely from their experience raising their own six siblings day in and day out.
  • Interests and knowledge in unusual areas. We can’t just join the school soccer team like everyone else. So you meet kids who are free to follow their own bizarre passions and became self-taught experts in things such as calculus, roller hockey, the Elvish “language,” debating the implications of medical malpractice law, tap dancing, origami, mastering the viola, and castrating goats.

Yeah, it was a weird way to grow up. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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6 thoughts on “Things you get if you’re homeschooled

  1. Well I just love this post. I’m a stranger to the homeschooling situation so I’m very susceptible to stereotypes and ignorance (because I am ignorant). This is a great explanation and you and your sibs are wonderful representatives of the huge benefits of homeschooling by diligent and progressive parents. I love the picture on the blog post—priceless. You go girl.

  2. You grew up without TV too? I perfected the art of smiling and nodding my first month of college. I don’t advertise it either . . . but I’m definitely grateful for a lot of aspects of homeschooling.

  3. Amen, sister! I am in my third year of graduate school, and I cringe/relish? those moments when my colleagues say incredibly derogatory things about homeschoolers, and then I response with, “Oh, you mean me?” Sputter and cough. But then I’m vulnerable, and that’s no fun.

    I still bluff my way through pop culture references. Just last month, I realized that Modest Mouse is nothing like Mickey Mouse. Maybe there’s a reason they make fun of me…

  4. Yay! Someone else who homeschooled and grew up without TV! I’m still in my high school freshman year, but I’m glad there are people who have preceded me. 🙂

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