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Are Homeschoolers Really So Weird?

Are homeschoolers really unsocialized and strange?  What makes us so different?

Homeschoolers are often painted up in this little box of being weird, different, unsocialized, and strange.  I think we should define that.  Let’s start by looking at a few definitions.

Why are homeschoolers considered weird?

 

For the sake of argument and not using “outdated definitions” – posted are the first definitions that come up from Google in my search.

SocializationThe act of adapting behavior to the norms of a culture or society is called socialization. Socialization can also mean going out and meeting people or hanging out with friends.

Sociablewilling to talk and engage in activities with other people; friendly.

Differentnot the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality.

Weirdsuggesting something supernatural; uncanny.

Strangeunusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.

Homeschoola nonpublic school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child or nonpublic instruction provided in the child’s home.

So, by looking at the above definitions, I don’t think that weird or strange has anything to do with homeschooling unless you consider homeschooling “supernatural” or unusual, but the definition for homeschool does not include anything supernatural or unusual.  Second, if you want to call homeschoolers “unsocialized”  or “different” — then I will fully embrace that, as would many of my friends and colleagues who don’t homeschool, because here it’s stating that socialization has to do with conforming to society.  But, let’s also not confuse “socialization” with being “sociable“!

Fun teacher I have met some very strange people in my life and I must state that none of them were homeschooled or homeschooling their children.  In fact, some of the strangest people I’ve met were either public school teachers or from Ohio.  That’s not to say they weren’t interesting or fun to talk to, but I considered them to be quite strange and quite unsocialized.

But, from my experience, should I say that all public school teachers are strange and unsocialized?  Or that everyone from Ohio is weird?  So, how can a person define a homeschooler as such without including people from Ohio?

I think putting mayonnaise on hamburgers is weird, should I classify all people who put mayonnaise on their hamburgers as weird?  Well, maybe on that one.

What makes a homeschooler?  Someone who has decided to teach their children within their family environment.

Many people who teach their children at home have done so for a variety of different reasons such as:

  • They feel their children’s upbringing is their responsibility and not anyone else’s
  • They are more concerned with their child’s ability to read and write than what’s taught in schools these days
  • They want to be responsible of their child’s health and diet
  • They travel or are in the military and it’s better for their children than being popped in and out of different schools all the time
  • They believe that education comes from living life rather than just books – they like adventure
  • They want their children to be raised with certain character and work ethics
  • They feel they can better equip their children to be entrepreneurs who will make a difference in the future
  • They want to give their children a more specialized education
  • They want their children to have strong family values
  • They love watching their children learn and grow with a hands-on parenting approach

 

There are 10 common reasons above and none of them include not liking to be around other people, having cookouts with their neighbors, or not wanting to be sociable. Some people do homeschool simply because they embrace being different, but, as we all are, they would be different whether they homeschool or not.

Freedom to Travel While Homeschooling

As far as socialization goes — how can a child who spends 8 or more hours a day in a classroom of children all the same age, and a possibly very strange teacher from Ohio, by any means, be considered socialized?

But, a child who interacts with librarians, people at the store, neighbors, and everyone they meet in a friendly, sociable manner, and goes to zoos, museums, parks, libraries, meeting and talking to people of all walks of life, is considered unsocialized.  Now that is weird.

The fact is — every person on this earth is unique, which is one of the first things that’s taught in public schools, but yet, when we embrace being unique we are considered strange.  How’s that?

Homeschool Fun With Family Kids

We are also having this wonderful thing called “tolerance” thrown at us from every angle.

Here’s the first definition for tolerancethe ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

And in this case I want to toss in an old 1978 definition from Thomas Nelson’s Webster Dictionary just for fun – 1. be patient with.  2. endure.  3. resistance to poison, etc.  

I must admit #3 is my favorite there.

So, being tolerant has to do with endurance and patience, along with the newer definition that includes opinions or behavior of others.  It says nothing about conforming, embracing, or giving up one’s convictions.

Should people then also tolerate different styles of homeschooling, organic living, Christianity, Republicans, Democrats, being a Vegan, eating meat, or the decision to send children to public school?  Yes, I would think so.

Homeschooling doesn’t make someone different — being human makes us different. - HGA Click To Tweet

Homeschoolers are only as different as anyone else, and they are the same as everyone else. We are all created in the image of God to be different and unique, and we all have different and unique beliefs, interests, abilities, skills, creativity, likes, dislikes, and views, making homeschoolers no more weird or strange than someone because they’er from Ohio, or even Pennsylvania for that matter.

 

*Disclosure – in no way is there any intent to single out people from Ohio as being weird in this post, but being from Pittsburgh myself, it is based on my own personal experience and opinion, though should not be taken as fact.  

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3 Responses to Are Homeschoolers Really So Weird?

  • Beth Watson says:

    Why is it that I’ve had the same experience with people from Ohio?? haha. 🙂 But, really, I had a wise friend tell me early on in our homeschooling journey that my (homeschooled) children will only be weird if my husband and I are weird, since they’d just be spending more time with us. To me, that makes perfect sense. 🙂

    • HSMom
      HSMom says:

      Yes, I’ve had people say that they’ve known people who were homeschooled and they were “so weird”, and I ask them, well, do you think those people would be less weird if they were in public school? And, you can see the wheels turning in their mind and they say, “well, no, I guess not” and then the lightbulb flickers in their “Aha” moment. People are so funny!

  • Susan Evans says:

    I always thought the socialization issue was ridiculous, since homeschooled kids get along better with people of all ages.