Homeschool Blues This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 9, 2008
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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.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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EswzemThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 23 at 4:05 pm
Wow. Very nice, well written article. I too, am homeschooled, and going into 10th grade. That makes it 11 years including kindergarten. I hate it when people judge me for what they think I am. You expressed most homeschoolers feelings; we don't want to be judged but treated fairly. Excellent job. We thank you for sharing with the world the common homeschooler's issue.
anna4real.zThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2016 at 7:40 pm
Nice work! I love your line about not wanting them to see you're like them, but that they're like you- that's the perspective! :) I've been homeschooled my whole life too with some online school and co-ops mixed in there so I definitely know the basic types and stereotypes. As someone who comes from a very diverse background, I've always hated how you can see people mentally categorize you as soon as you answer the question. Also I'm new to Teen Ink, so I'm glad this gets to be my first like :)
K.M.Knightley said...
Mar. 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm
Well said! I have been homeschooled my whole 16 years (besides one semester at a private school) and never once regretted it. I think that society as a whole looks down upon homeschooling because they (meaning the government) have no say at what the kids are taught. Ever since the beginning, parents have taught their kids at home–from household tasks, to algebra (which I also hate:) Thank you for being willing to speak out. :) Keep it up.
Balletfan said...
Jun. 11, 2015 at 5:53 am
Yes, this is very well written. I'm 13 and been homeschooled my whole life. Sadly, I have no friends my own age nearby (I have lots of friends that live hours away) because whenever I answer that horrible question, they just move on. It's very unfair. I personally would like to go to school, if I was allowed to
Anna M. said...
May 13, 2015 at 7:55 am
Well done! I'm homeschooled where I live, when say I'm homeschooled, people just ask a lot of questions. I don't mind their curiosity, but answering the same questions twenty times over gets old
1Timothy412 said...
Sept. 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm
This is so true. When you say your homeschooled its like they view you as this weird thing that just entered earth. I agree with you all the way! Great Job!
LostInThoughts said...
Feb. 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm
Well I am an All Honors student and I am considered popular. But popularity means nothing to a girl like me.
Confused Teen said...
Nov. 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm
I am now a freshman in high school and wish everyday to be homeschooled. I know if I was I would go to school for JROTC and band, also I run varsity track. Do you think it would be a good idea for me to homeschool? Or do I need to finsh the year out?
Clara K. replied...
Feb. 13, 2014 at 9:28 am
finish the year out. Just trust me. It's important. Next year do whatever you want. Also this is a good article but a little hard to follow.
LostInThoughts replied...
Feb. 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm
And after I  finish the year out would it be smart to homeschool?
Clara K. replied...
Feb. 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm
if you think it would be better than your current school for your education level and social level than go for it.
DawnieRae said...
Aug. 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm
I am homeschooled, I have been for like years. Ussually when people learn I am hokeschooled they think its cool. They ask me of it means I get sleep in late. I don't haha I get up early! Anyways, great article! I really love finding out about what other homeschoolers feel about this! I love homeschooling and would never go to public school for the world. I love being with my family!
midfieldallday said...
May 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm
I'm a freshman and this is my first year being homeschooled. my dad is in the military and last year we lived about an hour away from where we do now, i went to school and had amazing friends and a boyfriend who i still keep in contact with (though we're no longer dating) and well now i live here and i'm homeschooled but i go to the high school part time for band, and i play soccer there, but gosh at the beginning of this year i felt exactly the same way that you just described, and ... (more »)
ImErinSurvivor said...
Feb. 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm
I really really enjoyed reading this. I am homeschooled and I often face these sterotypes and questions. But I am glad that you stand for all of us homescholers ^_^ Gah-reat jobo XD
kmeep said...
Feb. 27, 2013 at 7:35 am
I agree. I'm homeschooled, but I definitely don't sit at home all day. Actually, I'm an extrovert. And I have plenty of friends.
lovesoradical said...
Jan. 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm
Thank you for sharing this! I was homeschooled for ten years, too, and there are so many stigmas and stereotypes. It's unfair, and simply untrue. I get asked those same questions all the time. There's a guy on youtube, Jordan Taylor, who speaks to the same thing... search "top 7 lies about homeschoolers" and watch the "messy mondays" video. (: You will love it. He humorously combats the common stereotypes.
theatregirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm
I like your article. while i am not homeschool, most of my best friends are and they are homeschool. They are often time upset but stigma. In fact, i when say homeschool, i often answer by " so do they like have, a tv and everything?"  or "so not real, are they". 
deanna98 said...
Aug. 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm
I am homeschooled; I love this article. While I did have, as of a month ago, hip-length hair, I am completely unlike what a homeschooler stigma indicates. Well written, informative, beautiful. I do have friends that only listen to Prairie Home Companion and buy ducks to eat eggs, but I do not consider myself in their class. Great job! 
BrightlyLit said...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 9:31 am
Great article!! I'm homeschooled too and this is the message that I have been trying to get across for the past 7 years. I really work hard to "redefine", as so adiquitly said, the homeschooler sterio type. I have tons of people who are shocked when I tell them I'm homeschooled. Nicely put fellow homeschooler!!
butnowamfound said...
Jan. 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm
when i was homeschooled, my hair was long, i wore a floral print dress everyday, i have a big family, i only istened to classical music, i never went to the mall, and i knitted all the time. Now i go to private school, and its just the oppisite. But you know what? i miss my old life. I got so such more out of it. I just wanted to put that out there. And yes, people stereoytyped me. But although it hurt, its worth it to do what you love.
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