Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Weird Homeschooler: Myth or Fact?

Oh my gosh, are homeschooled children weird? Whether it's in the context of a mother's agonies in deciding whether or not to homeschool, or in the context of someone's actual polemic against homeschooling, the old "Well I know some homeschoolers and they're pretty weird" argument seems to keep resurfacing.

"Yes, they're weird. They're different. They're odd. So what?!"

"No, they're not weird; they're just fine, and public school kids are the weird ones!"

"Wait, no! All kids are weird! Just look at the way they run around yelling and picking their noses -- weird!"

The truth is that the reason this argument is so compelling for people is -- it's true! There are homeschoolers out there who are COMPLETELY NUTS. I'm not going to point fingers (lest any be pointed at me) but I'm sure you can all think of someone in your little world who fits the description. So, yes, homeschoolers are weird.

And you know what? You're weird. You're socially awkward, shy, reserved, or you're outspoken, a brazen nonconformist, or you're unaware that you smell bad, you're pierced, or afraid to get pierced, you're too quiet, too loud, don't like to follow rules, or too dependent on regulations, or you don't have your hair in a braid, or you do, or maybe you don't even know how to put your hair in a braid, and the reason you're so tragically broken as a person, the source of all your personal failings, as listed above, is because your mother refused to put you into school. So sad for you. If only you had been allowed to go to traditional school, you would be perfect.

OH. WAIT. Most of us *were* in traditional school. And yet we managed to be weird in all kinds of ways, both inspiring and depressing, all without the evils of homeschool, all on our own.

"Well, I've met some homeschooled kids. And to be honest, not to hurt anyone's feelings, or anything, but they were kind of weird."

Thanks, and we know. We know it so much we've co-opted the concept, and when there's a blog co-opting the concept, with its own domain name even, you can pretty much assume that we know. Kind of like Stitch N Bitch. Trust me, those of us within the homeschooling community know way more weird homeschoolers than you do. There's always that one family, or that whole co-op full of, well, you know. So yeah, you're right. Congratulations. You found a couple of nutjobs. But here are some things you're *not* allowed to say:

Myth #1: Homeschoolers don't face peer pressure. Yes, they do. They do dance, martial arts, choir, violin, swimming, scouts, church, and all kinds of stuff with schooled children (famous for their experience with exerting peer pressure), and they also create their own little peer groups within the homeschooling community itself. So, peer pressure and peer criticism and diversity within their acquaintances -- all that is covered.

Myth #2: Homeschoolers are *all* weird. Nope. Some are completely indistinguishable from public school children. The reason you don't know this is because you probably didn't notice those children, indistinguishable as they are. You probably notice the weird freaky ones, just like we notice the thugs, drug dealers, and sluts in public school.

Myth #3: No public school children are weird. Well, that's kind of silly. And yet, it's what is implied by the conclusion that homeschooling is bad, or that you're afraid to homeschool, based on the fact that you met a weird one once. You're afraid your child will be weird if he isn't put in public school. That's short-selling your child, and yourself.

Look. It's not wrong for people to say "Homeschoolers are weird." We know it's not incorrect. But to actually let yourself be talked into putting your child in an institutional school because you've met someone who was "weird"? That's really just an excuse. Look at your child. Is he weird? Did you make him weird by teaching him stuff for the first four years of his life? Will you really make him weird teaching him stuff for the next four, eight, ten years? Come on. This is your kid we're talking about, not some kid down the street you met once or remember from your childhood. Be brave. You can do this.

Find the homeschooler!


  1. Anonymous2:53 PM

    The homeschooler in that picture is weird because he loves his mom, dad, little sister/ enjoys playing a violin/ has more interesting ideas per minute than a dog has fleas/ can express his thoughts in multi-syllabled words/ has exquisitely mature manners...when he has any/ could read before he was four years old/ is never bored. It has nothing to do with the clothes that match his hair color. ;O

  2. I found this through a member of the Seattle Homeschool Group and this article is hilarious! I read it to my husband over coffee and we laughed. Thanks for writing it.

  3. That picture is AWESOME! There is no other way to describe a commercial =) At least you could find him easily!! =)

  4. I love that picture, too. And I love his beautiful red hair. It makes me smile every time I see a picture of him.

    I, myself, have never met a wholly "normal" person. What do they look like? :-D

  5. I may not be a good one to judge weird. I went to a public high school that was art focused. Artists are weird. ;o)

    And I like to think of "weird" as being comfortable in your own skin. You don't feel the need to blend in and hide in a crowd.

    Peace and Laughter,

  6. Totally love the picture!!! My kids are weird, but that's cool - so are their parents! Besides, it's usually the "weird" people who make a difference in this world - think Einstein, Lincoln, Bill Gates, etc. I enjoyed the post.

  7. Anonymous10:21 PM

    My motto when I was in (public) high school - "It is weird to be normal, and normal to be weird".

  8. What a great picture! Loved this post. May I link to it?

  9. Of course, dude! You don't ever need to ask if you can link to me! :) I love links.

  10. Hilarious post! And, so very true. Heck, we're weird and we know it.

    Btw, thanks for the hat tip. ;-)

    ~The Weird, Unsocialized Mom

  11. That is GREAT! I have had to tell this to quite a few people. I was homeschooled myself and am homeschooling my kids. And you know they say those things to my face and I have to say back, "So you think I'm weird do you?"

  12. Great post! If every child had access to custom, individualized education, there would be more free-thinkers in our society. Maybe free-thinkers = weird? Public schools should find a way to provide some of what homeschoolers provide for their children because our country needs more, not less, bright, active, engaged, individual, strong, interesting and talented children!

  13. Oh, thank you so much for this! You are absolutely right, and I just know that next time somebody asks me about "socialization" the image that will come to my mind is of public school's thugs, drug dealers, and sluts :-)

  14. Fantastic post! Thanks :)

  15. I got here through MommyBrain and I'm so happy I dropped by. I really want to homeschool my children but have had some people say stuff like I'm going to make my children weird or stuff like that.

    So many good points! Thank you!! I AM going to homeschool, weird or not weird! :)

  16. Fantastic post!

    Did I miss something? I wondered if maybe the redhead in red really isn't the homeschooler. We just assume he is, because he's the different one.

    As far as my homeschooled kids? I WANT them to be different from the rest. If that makes them weird, well, we'll just add it to the list of things they "are".

  17. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I have a friend who told me this. I will try to remember her words:

    I have been a homeschooler from grade 1. I remember going through the, "Ohmygosh! You are a weird homeschooler?" phase. It still hasn't passed. I had to grow up thinking that I was from another planet just because my 'school'was different. My cousin's science teacher was his mother, and he was fine with it. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?! I go to a school downstairs and my siblings are my classmates. I even think it is easier because I can just get up and go to the bathroom without raising my hand (lol). But I often would cry myself to sleep, because I was to young to understand why people thought I was different. ALso, I met a boy who was very nice. He knew me for a whole year before I told him I was homeschooled. When he found out, he never treated me the same again. He only looked for the weird part of me because he thought that is all I was- A nerdy homeschooler. President Lincoln said that when you look for the bad in something, you will find it.

    It was after my friend told me this that I started to understand Homeschoolers and what they go through. She also told me that It breaks her heart when a person makes fun of a homeschooler. Even if they are joking, it still hurts because of all the lies that have been spread about them. I am not homeschooled, but we have been friends for 13 years, and always will be. I think I speak for both of us when I say Thank you for posting this!


  18. HILARY11:25 PM


  19. Yeah!!! im homeschooled too and were not weird we are normal i went too public school till i waz in the forth grade and i hated every day when i had too go to public school i begged my mom too homeschool us and she did and i LOVE it i wouldnt have it any other way!!!!!!!!!! see you people who go to public school if u try homeschool you may like it and sometimes its not for that person i have seen homeschool not for that person but i know its for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that what i think of that i have tryed both and i know witch one i like it better LOVE,Abbie


    your a LOZER get a life people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your all weird oz get over it but homeschoolers r notweird im not homeschooled i just think there better than us u know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!! LOZERS

  21. other SMOKEN HOTTIE 211:52 PM

    they r not im better LOZER kma kma kma

  22. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Okay, so you are not weird but not everyone that goes to public school is destined for a life of corruption and "worldliness." Parents who send their children to school can still shape character and moral code without doing them a terrible disservice by not schooling them at home.

  23. Anonymous9:08 PM

    I was home schooled from the 6th grade until 10th. I am currently a freshmen in college. Homeschooling has no doubt made me a weird individual. Because of my extreme lack of social skills I suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, which I am taking meds for. I am 19 years old and my parents still refer to me as "big guy". My life is miserable now, but I can carry on intelligent conversations with my professors (whoopty freakin doo!).

  24. Anonymous5:13 AM

    wow, i feel as though the real homeschooled kid in this pic is the dark skinned one on the right. he is tottaly composed with his hands in pockets not to mention a focused stare. might i add he is the only one with his shirt tucked in as well as the only one without a number on his chest.

  25. Anonymous1:14 AM

    You fucking bitch. I'm a homeschooler and I'm not a total weirdo who is unaware how they look or too quiet/loud, or an anti-social person. Everybody is weird in some way, but you're just the fucking weirdest person on the planet who has no idea what you're talking about. How dare you insult homeschoolers! Because of homeschooling, I'm a hundred times smarter then public school kids, read way more then everybody else because I want to, excellent at puzzles, a faster learner then most kids, and have the ability to know you're you're full of shit. I have a great social life and try new things all the time, which you think is a lie because the people you've met who are so-called "Homeschoolers", are actually just idiots who don't have an education. Just thought I'd give you a reality check. Go fuck yourself.

  26. Learn Sarcasm4:57 PM

    Wow, I guess homeschooled kids are weird because they love to anonymously post "tough" things in response to a joke. Maybe if you went to public school, you'd get sarcasm.

  27. Anonymous5:45 PM

    I wish I was homeschooled. The govt. doesn't like homeschoolers because they cannot be indoctrinated (re brainwashed,mind control etc.)and behave like good future communist youth for the state. I sounds like school boards get more funding when more kids enroll in public school. School taxes would be lower if every child was home schooled.

  28. Lady M12:12 AM

    For those who were insulted, did you actually READ the WHOLE entry or did you just read the first few sentences and freak out? Shame on you if you did that and your parents need to switch your curriculum because whatever they are using is not doing justice for the money spent on it - might as well have been public schooled on snippets of information (yep - they hand out incomplete thoughts or just the first few sentences to get a knee jerk reaction out of you). Yeesh children. Being weird isn't a bad thing - it means you are not a sheeple and can stand on your own. Think about that long and hard - and it came from a mom that graduated from the public schools years ago and is now homeschooling her children because she wants them to be weird in a good way!

  29. Wonderful post. To all the people that reacted negatively to this post, you are all insane. She is not bashing us homeschoolers. She is objectifying our position in relation to the public schoolers. In layman's terms, she is showing that homeschooling and public schooling isn't what someone should judge us from because we are all weird in our own way. I'm a 17 (almost 18) year old homeschooler and do not find anything wrong with homeschool. It's fun, and more specialized. But I don't find anything wrong with public schools either.

  30. I'm a homeschooler, age 13, and to classify all homeschoolers as wield is insulting. I'm your average guy: I hate school, have girl problems, and have frequent mood swings. I'm pretty sure I just described a normal kid right there.