Last week, when I went to the dentist, I had a fun interaction with the guy who did my x-rays. Just to break the silence, he asked me the usual empty questions like “did you get today off in school?” so I replied politely “no,” and that I had graduated already.
“Oh. What school did you go to?”
All my life, I’ve had to mentally and carefully assess my answer to this particular question. There are two ways to go about it: “Citrus Valley Christian Academy,” which is the politically correct answer, but then people want to know where that’s located and blabi-blah. Or, “I’m homeschooled,” which has a 95% success rate of killing any and every would-be conversation, stone dead. It’s really quite magical.
This particular morning I didn’t feel like getting into it, so those two magic words were the ones that came out of my mouth.
He stopped, x-ray-chip-thingy-halfway-to-my-mouth-now-left-suspended-in-air, and looked at me. “What school?”
This is when I knew. We were about to have a moment.
I told him about CVCA and explained it was located far away, that’s why he’s never heard of it, and watched him.
“You were homeschooled too?”
He looked a little surprised then took on the form of bashful gushing, and I spoke again.
“You went to Excelsior.”
Then everything about him stopped. “How did you know?”
I smirked casually and waved my hand all around at him. “You have Excelsior written allll over you.”
Excelsior is a charter school. The kids go a few days a week to classes and do the rest of their work at home.
“You’re a wannabe homeschooler,” I told him. I told him real homeschoolers don’t see the light of day. Yes, it’s just four walls around us, all the time. Fresh air? What is that? I told him that when a homeschooler steps outside, it’s like:
Some people get homeschoolers all wrong. And others, like this good sport dental technician, think they’re homeschoolers. Now, I’ve been homeschooled all my life, 24/7, all 13 years, including kindergarten. So I do have the authority to talk about this controversy, however, I just want to tell you about my experience being homeschooled.
But before I get into it, I need I want to debunk a few things so you can read with an open mind. First off: homeschoolers are normal. I make a lot of jokes about it, like that Tangled one. But we really aren’t these hermit freaks who freak out whenever we see the sun. We really are just the same species as you.
Finally, here are two true and false facts made about homeschoolers. My quick little rant.
FALSE: Homeschoolers are unsocial.
While regular-schoolers are in class 8 hours a day, we’ve already done our school, built a club house in the backyard, had a marathon of Ice Age, and tamed, named, and created a little enclosure for the five blue-belly lizards we caught after lunch. Real-schoolers, after all those hours in class, have to come home and do homework at 5/6 at night.
The truth is homeschoolers are just as, or even more social, because we have more opportunities to be social. And with much more wide a variety of people and age groups.
We’re not afraid to hold a baby or play with toddlers since we babysit for cash. We can hold long conversations with elderly neighbors, because we help with their yard work all the time. And we put up with our siblings who can range from 0-19 years old, which leads me to a truth.
TRUTH: Homeschoolers have excellent social skills.
Hear me out.
Who are the hardest people to get along with? Your family. Isn’t it nice that when you, real-schooler, get in an argument with your mom/brother/sister/father that you won’t have to deal with them again until the next evening at the dinner table, or maybe not even that? Us homeschoolers don’t have that luxury.
If you get in an argument (and believe me, sometimes it’s like cabin fever, you will have one) with a family member, there’s no escaping it. You have to deal with it, or be miserable. Homeschoolers need to learn patience to survive. If your sister takes your favorite pencil – when she knows it’s your favorite pencil – you have to make a decision. Will you fight her for it, or let it go? What if your brother finds it necessary to continually make bodily noises when you’re trying desperately to concentrate on math homework?
If you’ve been homeschooled. And I mean truly homeschooled. You know the true meaning of the phrase “patience and endurance in the time of long-suffering” in a way no one else in the world does. Homeschoolers have thick skin, even tempers, and a way to look on the bright side in any situation.
Okay. I just wanted to throw those thoughts out of the way. If you have more questions, or have heard other things about homeschoolers, please, write them in the comments down below. I’d love to hear and answer them. I do have fun with it.
Now I’ll just tell you how it was for me. So I’ll just say. .
– YES, I did school in my pajamas. To this day, the bulk of my wardrobe is actually T-shirts and pajama bottoms. Some homeschool parents actually make their kids get dressed everyday regardless, though. But for me, yeah no. I got dressed every Sunday and Wednesday for church, and maybe once or twice in the week if I went out.
– YES, I slept in, ’til around 12pm, actually. My other homeschool friends were smarter than this, however. They’d get up at 6am and finish school at 12pm or earlier, so that they could have the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted.
– YES, I did live on a ranch at one point in my life. Not exactly a “farm,” where the animals make you money. We just had a lot of weird “pets”, like llamas, an emu, horses, goats, chickens, then more regular pets like rabbits, dogs, cats, rodents, etc etc.
– YES, I do, indeed, have friends! And I’ve always had friends! People always ask “well how do you meet these people?” and I’ve always found that a stupid question. I just look at them and go “the same way I met you.” Then there’s that whole “oh..” moment.
– NO, I was never bored. Really, never. . This astounds me as well. I did grow up with two brothers. One older, and one younger than me. So there was always someone to get in trouble with.
– NO, I’ve never had cable or dish. This is a random fact I wanted to share, but it’s the truth. We got the free channels like PBS and sometimes ABC Family (during my ranch years, we lived so far out in the boonies, signal didn’t really reach for the free channels either). To this day, we don’t have cable. But we do have Netflix now, so that kind of compensates.
– NO, I don’t have any problem talking to people. I’ve actually been involved, for the past 6 years, with a program called Generation Joshua, which is a youth program that enlists the help of – get this – homeschoolers(!) for political campaigning. They actually expect us homeschoolers to go door-to-door, call people, and hand out flyers IN PERSON. Okay, sarcasm over.
So anyway. I didn’t want to make this super long, sorry. I just wanted to announce that I was homeschooled, and I’m very much normal. Except for a twitch, there is nothing much else wrong with me. As a matter of fact, except for a twitch, there is nothing much else wrong wit– Lol joking, joking.
I did enjoy being homeschooled for the most part. My friends and I like to play a game called “the person I would’ve been if I wasn’t homeschooled”. And we can all agree, even with all the drama of wanting to see our friends every day like normal kids get to, we were sheltered from peer pressure to sex, drugs, and alcohol during those so delicate years where we could’ve been influenced.
I, for one, would’ve just never listened to my parents and been this chick.
And yes, to the biggest question: Would I homeschool my kids? You know what, I never was good at school and I never liked it, but yes I would homeschool my kids. For that exact reason of keeping them from those kinds of influences.
And if I’m willing to do the same thing my parents did with me, it must be a working formula, just sayn’.
FINAL DISCLAIMER: I, in no way, am saying that if you were public schooled, you’re totally messed up and fallen prone to sex, drugs, and alcohol, etc etc. And I’m not saying ALL homeschoolers are normal. Some aren’t. Everyone’s different. Everyone’s had different experiences and ways of growing up. And that’s fine. Perfect even. I like it better that way. We’re all different and we all should be. I’m not putting anyone down for being homeschooled, public schooled, or anything.