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Homeschool Blues MAG
I get stereotyped a lot. When I meet someone for the first time, we’ll be talking about movies, music, or summer jobs – then, the dreaded question: “So, where do you go to school?” I shift slightly. I know how they’re going to react. I know that they’ll give me a weird look and then find an excuse to move on, muttering a derogatory remark as they smirk at me. You see, I’m homeschooled.
This stereotype has affected me numerous times. One day, my friend and I were taking the PSAT at the local high school. The attendant found our educational choice amusing.
“Do you ever wish you could go to real school?” she asked.
“I do go to a real school, thank you very much.” I tried not to sound annoyed.
“You don’t get out much, do you?”
“I get out plenty.”
“Do you know what prom is?”
“Yes, I’m going to mine this spring.” I sighed thankfully as a voice boomed over the loudspeaker, signaling the start of the test.
Last summer one of my coworkers, who was in college, asked what grade I was in and what school I went to.
I answered. “Don’t you get tired of sitting at home all day?” she asked, blankly.
I sighed. It was too late; her view of me was already tainted. I could tell she thought I was naive and immature.
“So do you have any friends?” she asked.
“Of course!” My sarcastic self wanted to say something about a hermit, but I decided to stick to the facts and not let my big mouth get me in trouble.
People’s reactions are beginning to annoy me. I used to dread being asked where I go to school. I would do almost anything to avoid the question. I was afraid I would get stuck in the homeschooler stereotype: long hair, dresses, 16 kids in the family, never heard of Britney Spears, never been to a mall, just sit at home and knit all day. I’m not super smart, and I don’t have a learning disability. However, as I near the end of high school, and reflect on almost 10 years of being homeschooled, I realize that I shouldn’t be afraid of the stereotype; I should redefine it.
You see, I have two sisters: one is attending a public high school, the other goes to the local community college. I play lacrosse and basketball, and my best friend and I will be starting driver’s ed soon. One of my other close friends attends a local high school. I go the mall almost as often as I brush my teeth. I love rock music. I was shocked at Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy. I love McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and hate Starbucks coffee. I write poetry. I hate algebra. I have a MySpace. My toenails are lime-green, my hair is shoulder-length, and I want dreadlocks. I help run a coffee house for high school bands. Oh, and my best friend, who is also homeschooled, received a full Division I college scholarship for soccer.
I’m not handing out this information to prove that I am just like you; I want you to see that you are just like me. I don’t live in a different world than other high schoolers. I only choose to be homeschooled.
Recently a coworker asked the question and seemed surprised with my answer. “You’re homeschooled?” he asked, shocked. I smiled. That’s the message I want to send. I want to show them what a homeschooler is really like: any other teenage girl.