That’s the reaction I usually get when I mention I was homeschooled. It’s amazing how many meanings one word can evoke:
“Oh, you pathetic unsocialized freak.”
“Oh. I don’t know what to say now.”
“Oh, cool! So were you like a child prodigy?”
“Oh, hey, me too!”
“Oh, well, that explains why you’re so smart/dumb/cool/awkward/legendary.”
“Oh…and what else did your parents fail at?”
“Oh…but, you’re like, normal.” (Um…thank you?)
“Oh…so, are you [insert random adjective]?”
Oh, snap. Occasionally I am asked something more intelligent, like, “Oh, so what did you like about homeschooling? What did you dislike?” or, “Oh—hey, why did your parents choose to homeschool?”
There are probably twenty or so common questions I’m asked about my homeschooling experience. Here are a few answers:
Q. So are you ____________?”
A. Well, I’m Mormon, American, and an Eagle Scout, but homeschoolers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, philosophies, backgrounds, cultures, and ice cream preferences. I like vanilla.
Q. Were you always homeschooled?
A. Essentially, yes: the only class I took in public school was driver’s ed. I started taking college classes during my high school years.
Q. So were you a child prodigy?
A. [Steps away from computer to laugh hysterically] No.
Q. Are you socialized?
A. Yes. I have met homeschoolers who weren’t—but I’d hardly say homeschoolers hold a monopoly on social awkwardness. I have had periods of my life when I felt socially awkward, but who hasn’t?
Q. How did you ever get into college without a high school diploma?
A. I stole one.
Kidding! It’s actually not that hard to take college classes without a high school diploma, most homeschoolers just take the GED or a similar test. In my case, I have a college professor for a dad, which definitely helped, but I also began taking classes as a “non-degree seeking student,” until I had enough college credits to allow me into a bachelors program.
Q. Do you think public-schooled students are dumb?
A. Um, I married one, and she’s the smartest person I know, so…nope.
Q. Do you think everyone should homeschool? Will you homeschool your kids?
A. I think people should do what works for their family. Will my wife and I homeschool our children? We’ll cross that bridge when we reach it. Keep in mind that the internet has and will continue to change the educational landscape dramatically. Online tutoring and the Khan Academy are just two examples of how the options available to parents are changing.
Q. What was your parent’s homeschool style?
A. Lots of books, and time to read, with a mixture of formal “like public school” moments, and time to study whatever I felt like studying.
Q. If you homeschool your kids, will you do it the same way your parents did?
A. Yes, and no. Like I said before, the internet has changed the way education works. Resources have become available in the last decade that weren’t available to my parents. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that there are so many options. One of the challenges is figuring out what works best for your kids!
What is your favorite question to ask a homeschooled student?
P.S. Dear WordPress, yes, “homeschool” is a word. You can stop underlining it in red. Thank you.