Annoying. Abnormal. Anti-social. Weird. When entertaining the notion of home-schooling my future kids to my high school friends, I was told that my kids would have all of those qualities if I home-schooled them. My peers said that my kids wouldn’t be able to act like normal people when around other, publicly schooled children. They said that my kids would be lost when it came to going to college. And they said that my kids would be weird.
It’s tiring to hear time after time when the topic of home-schooling is brought up that children who are home-schooled are considered weird. People say that they dress strange or they don’t know how to talk in public. Home-schooled kids are often criticized, and I’ve been told that they won’t learn how things work in the real world.
What is there to learn at a public school about how the “real world” works that wouldn’t be learned by being home-schooled, though? Surely, the home-schooled kids have developed some outstanding interpersonal skills if they can be immersed with their parents and siblings of varying ages day after day. At public school, would they learn that they need to dress a certain way to please others? Would they learn that talking in public means saying things that they think others want to hear rather than what they are actually thinking?
Public school isn’t necessarily a source of corruption for the kids that do attend. I’m the product of a public school, and I think it’s safe to say that I turned out fine. But there are others who were altered by constantly being around others. They lost their independence, or maybe they never had it because they learned at a young age that the easiest way to get along in school was to conform.
Not every home-schooled child is the same, just like how every public school child is not the same. The ones who are often ostracized are the ones who show their true personalities. No one thinks to ask a so-called “normal” person if they were home-schooled, so why should it be assumed that homeschooled kids are the “weird” ones? Home-schooled children never had to worry about their clothes being fashionable or what would make them sound the coolest. Being considered weird might have never even crossed their mind.
Dropping the “weird” stigma that seems to follow the word home-school is something that needs to be done. Those kids aren’t weird – they’re just comfortable in the skin God gave them and apparently that skin is considered weird in today’s society.
Jean Donaldson is a freshman biology major pursuing a career in orthodontics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column reflects the views of the writer only.