Hi. My name is Bayley. I was homeschooled. Which apparently means Iâ€™m arrogant and unsocialized. But smart. Thatâ€™s got to count for something.
Actually, of all the things people are most concerned about with homeschoolers, the quality of our education is up there. People think weâ€™re either geniuses or idiots who chase butterflies and never do math. Letâ€™s not dwell on that, though. Iâ€™m in college, arenâ€™t I? And Iâ€™m doing okay. Clearly my homeschooling background hasnâ€™t left me severely academically stunted.
Moving to the arrogance thing. Iâ€™m not going to talk about how not arrogant I am. Iâ€™m too humble for that. But thatâ€™s not what matters.
I once met a kid who was pompous and obnoxious. This kid attended public school. Does that matter? No, it doesnâ€™t. Whenever someone encounters a person like that, they donâ€™t immediately blame their education. Unless the kidâ€™s homeschooled. Why is that?
A kid is badly behaved: â€œWhat a brat.â€ Same kid is homeschooled: â€œOh, I canâ€™t believe his parents did that to him.â€ Is it just me, or is that a problem?
People who know one strange homeschooler immediately assume the whole lot is rotten, but that same assumption isnâ€™t true for any other kind of school. Yeah, I knew that one horrid kid, but I know perfectly wonderful people who went to public school. Public school has students who are nice and mean, smart and stupid â€“â€“ everyone. So does homeschool. Itâ€™s not fair to assume that, just because one homeschooler is weird or arrogant, we all are. Thatâ€™s called stereotyping.
Letâ€™s talk about that whole choice thing.
I attended public school for four years. Each morning I got up at a certain time, went to school and passed from class to class. When the bell rang, I went home, did my homework and returned the next morning to do the same thing.
As a homeschooled student, some mornings I got up and ran. Other mornings I practiced cello. Or maybe Iâ€™d get up early and get all my schoolwork done before lunch so I could play Mario Kart. I wore pajamas all day long.
And did I choose to be homeschooled? YES! And I know kids who quit homeschooling and chose public school instead. Each person is different. Public school wasnâ€™t my thing. At public school, I wasnâ€™t allowed to use the bathroom whenever I needed to. When you go to school at home, nobody minds you using the bathroom as is necessary. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s there for.
Iâ€™ve attended school regularly since I wasâ€¦ four? When do you start preschool? Does preschool even count?
Anyway, the majority of my life, Iâ€™ve been in an institutionalized school, or Iâ€™ve gone to a building with the word â€œschoolâ€ in its name, so Iâ€™ve never been homeschooled. Iâ€™ve met people who have been, though, and Iâ€™ve actually done a little research for once.
Nowadays, people rarely question the quality of homeschoolersâ€™ education. Itâ€™s been accepted that a homeschoolerâ€™s academic curriculum is equivalent, sometimes even superior to that provided by institutions. The main question, then, is that of socialization.
At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I met a girl, also a freshman, who had been homeschooled up until that year. I knew this because she said, â€œHello, Iâ€™m homeschooled,â€ by way of introduction.
This was already an off-putting way to make an acquaintance. She then went on to be that rabid atheist who tells religious people theyâ€™re idiots to their faces, that girl who unabashedly tells you about the, uhâ€¦ intimate details of her life, and just took every opportunity to demonstrate what a free spirit she was, unfettered by our institutionalized conventions and narrow-mindedness.
It wasnâ€™t a very good first impression. But I was willing to shrug it off as the behavior of a 14-year-old.
Iâ€™ve since met a few other homeschooled kids â€” but not many, mind you. Those Iâ€™ve met have been bright, mature, well-roundedâ€¦ and kind of annoying.
I donâ€™t want to say every homeschooled kid is the same. People are people, and not beholden to any stereotypes. But the socialization aspect does strike me as trying. The homeschoolers I know can talk to people, sure. But itâ€™s the underlying arrogance that grinds my gears.
Maybe Iâ€™m imagining it, but then again, hereâ€™s a quote from Diane Flynn Keith, whose children were homeschooled: â€œThey havenâ€™t been conditioned to be passive and compliant or dependent on others to tell them what to do or how to spend their time.â€
The implication here is that other students are these things, an implication that I resent. Itâ€™s not that I mind homeschoolers being smart, or my own being average. My issue is with the idea that itâ€™s bad to be average. Call me churlish, but first find me someone who likes being looked down on. Iâ€™m sure this conceit isnâ€™t universal. Iâ€™m willing to bet that Iâ€™ve met a number of homeschoolers whose educational origins I would never have guessed.
Though I suppose they donâ€™t choose their education any more than I did. Maybe I should be tearing after their parents. Like so: Hey Bayley, yo mama.