Friday, June 6, 2014

The Homeschool vs. Public School Struggle.

(This picture was taken my a wonderful friend of mine at school)
I have never felt ashamed of the fact that I was homeschooled(I get to use the past tense now!) and if I ever am it is only because I am ashamed of other homeschooler stupidity and rudeness. The fact that I was homeschooled is a huge part of my identity how I see myself. It doesn’t mean I see myself as hugely different form society rather only that I have a more different style of education.
That doesn’t mean that I have not had negative experiences from being homeschool, there are several. I remember when I was little maybe 6 years old I told it to some neighbor boys and they seemed to think that maybe I was stupid because I didn’t go to school like them. At the time I found it hurtful and from then on avoided the other kids in the neighborhood. Later however I could not avoid when they came and talked to me one girl it seemed delighted in making fun of us in front of my sisters and I and she seemed to think we were too stupid to understand that was what she was doing. It got to the point where I would make some excuse to stop riding my bike and go in the house when ever she came down to our part of the neighborhood. I was not sure how to deal with it as I was only 9 or 10. Because of all these negative experiences as a child I came up with a stereo type that public schooled kids were rude, mean, and stupid.
Later when my family left our old church(where 99 % of the population was homeschoolers) and started going to our current church I met public schooled kids(and private school) who seemed to be much nicer. I was still wary of them but as I got to know them and be friends with them I found my stereo type to be wrong. Which I was secretly relieved about because I didn’t want to go through my life having to deal with people being mean to me all the time.
That does not mean unpleasant experiences have stopped. At a birthday party for a friend I was asked the inevitable question that I loathed “where do you go to school?” and I replied with the answer that gets mixed reception “Oh, I don’t go to school I am homeschooled.” After that these two girls didn’t want to talk to me and avoided me for the rest of the party.
In college I have found that less people really seem to be bothered by where I got my education. They seem to be more open to homeschooling and even find it cool. One friend told me I was lucky because I had not had to deal with the bullying and other crap she had had to deal with in her school. There was one guy who I don’t think realized how rude he was being when he told me that I must have hated being homeschooled and how horrible it must have been for me. It really ruffled my feathers that he assumed I must have had a negative experience when really I had a positive one. However most of my friends have found it to be cool and don’t think I am a weirdo, or at least I am no weirder than they are. They really don’t actually care about where I got my education but rather whether my education was a good one.
Homeschooling gave me a chance to really focus and work on my weaknesses and explore my strengths. I worked hard at school in high school because I enjoyed it. I love learning and school. Lots of people sometimes assume that because I was homeschooled I had loads of free time. I really didn’t I worked on school for 6 to 7 hours a day. Maybe I did have more free time than my peers who went to school because homework does not work the same way when you are homeschooled, but that does not mean I didn’t work as hard.
Granted there are homeschoolers who’s necks I want to wring sometimes because they really are not doing the work and don’t seem to care about their education. I really get mad about homeschoolers who don’t really do school. It makes me so mad! They could have the best education they could possibly want but they are not doing the work! Words cannot express how frustrated and angry it makes me.
Back to homeschooler vs. publicschooler.
I think a lot of my negative experiences have to do with negative stereo types about homeschooled kids. I think most of them just don’t know what it really is and so they don’t know how to relate to us. I think kids are more prone to snub others who are not like them than adults are. At least that is the what I think based on my experience in college. I wish that homeschoolers would stop stereo typing publicschoolers, and publicschoolers would stop stereo typing homeschoolers then we could all sit down and find we are not so different after all.
I know I have a few homeschool followers and public school. How has your experience as a homeschooler been? Or for my public school friends what has your experience with homeschoolers been?
Lots of love!


  1. This is really interesting, Elizabeth... I've had very similar experiences, and especially agree about the stereotype problem (on both sides!).

    When I was growing up, most of my friends thought homeschooling was cool. The most negativity I ever encountered was from an older lady. And, it was as you say, she instantly formed conclusions about me without even knowing me. Thankfully, it was unusual, and most people respond at least open-mindedly.

    I'm proud of being a homeschool grad, but at college I don't volunteer the information unless someone asks. This is just because I'm curious how people see me "as-is". :) The other thing is, I'm confident and outgoing, but I'm also fairly reserved. It's my natural personality, and I would hate for people to think it's *because* I was homeschooled. The majority of homeschoolers I've met are quite extroverted, actually.

    1. I have been very open about being homeschooled, but like you say I don't go around offering up the information and I like you say I don't want then to think that being homeschooled was what caused my personality quirks. I think most homeschoolers have had a similar experience to varying degrees.

      I have meet both highly introverted and extremely extroverted homeschooled kids. I think there is more variety in personality types than many people think.

  2. This is a very thought provoking post!

    I've been going to public school pretty much all my life, except for a few occasions when my mom taught me at home. I don't remember making assumptions about home schoolers until I got older. I thought the reason some people were homeschooled might be because their parents weren't comfortable with their child going to a public school for one reason or another. I don't want to make public schools look bad, because they're not (at least not the ones I've been to) and they have wonderful communities, but I live in a pretty liberal area and the students at my highs school would swear all the time, so that you often couldn't walk to your next class without hearing it (I personally don't blame them because they're pretty stressed out and they need an outlet, even though it does get a little unpleasant at times). And since our school has our own culture, we have some strange traditions that I'm not sure I should mention, so I would understand if someone wasn't comfortable with going there. I just realized I kept referring to my school in the present tense, even though I don't go there anymore...that's a little awkward...anyway moving on

    I am guilty of thinking homeschoolers are all shy or unsocialized. This was mostly because my grandparents knew a family that homeschooled their children, who were very shy around other people. I don't think being home schooled would affect one's personality, though. So it's silly to assume that home schoolers must all have a shy personality. I'm sure plenty of outgoing people are home schooled too. Public school and homeschool both have pros and cons. I've often wished I was home schooled, but then I wouldn't have met the friends I have now. On the other hand, I think being homeschooled would have been better in quite a few ways.

    I also think it's silly to think that a homeschooler doesn't work as hard as a public schooler. In fact I think if I was home schooled, my parents would have made me do way more work than my school did. Some of my classes had a ridiculous amount of work assigned, while in other classes you did nothing for the whole period every day. I'm pretty sure I was graded an A+ for free in one class, because my grade wasn't a 100% before but that ended up being the final grade even though I hadn't done anything to change it. o__O

    My high school was mostly a positive experience (well, mostly) but my English class in my junior year was a horrible experience. The teacher made us fit our essays into her structure so tightly (down to every sentence) that we had no room to be thoughtful or give our essay any real substance. I hated her and I still hate her so so so much...okay I'm going to end here before I start ranting.

    1. I am glad you found it thought provoking that was what I was trying to go for. :)

      I am very pro education and think that the idea of public schools is fabulous. I have heard of good schools and bad. I know the district I live in and would have gone to is one of the worst in the state. I would like to see changes made. I know some really awesome teacher in the public school all of my friends form college went to school. We have had many conversation about education and the education system in the US.

      You mention culture in your public school and I think that might be part of the difficulties public school and homeschool kids struggle with. They have a different culture. I am glad that you have a really good school, I have gathered from friends that you experience really depends on the school that you are in.

      There are pros and cons to both. I would definitely like to homeschool my kids, if I should ever have any, but I know it might not work for them. I think some kids do better in public school and others homeschool.

      I hope that this post was not a bash of the public school. I meant for it to be more of a "hey this is something that I had to deal with and sometimes still do." I was hoping for it to help in some way with homeschool and public school understanding each other. I think as more kids are adults and more mature and see that we are not so different.