"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!