Homeschool Blues | Teen Ink

Homeschool Blues MAG

July 9, 2008
By Catie Frankland BRONZE, Jessup, Maryland
Catie Frankland BRONZE, Jessup, Maryland
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 169 comments.

on Oct. 21 2008 at 11:20 pm
I read this article in the magazine in English class today at school. Now I have to do a response paper on it.

And yes I agree with you ... you're just a typical teenager, i can't believe people actually thought those things and actually said them to you! Very rude. And very stereotypical. Psh. People should know more than that. I have a few close friends from church and stuff that are homeschooled and I think they have a bigger social life than me :P

I'm glad at least one of your coworkers gave you a pleasant response :)

Leah H said...
on Oct. 14 2008 at 4:31 am
Catie-I was just wondering if you have ever gone to PS or if you have HS the entire time? I have 4 children, the oldest of which are 6

starpop said...
on Oct. 13 2008 at 9:07 pm
I haven't homschooled all my life, just since the 6th grade, but it has been a wonderful experience for me. For one thing it means way more freedom for our family (my parents, 1 older and 1 younger sister) to travel as together, also it means being able to move at my own pace. But I've also found that pretty much everyone I've told that I homeschooled was actually impressed. also when I applyed to college (I'm at Centenary college in Louisiana) the minimum ACT score was actually higher for homschoolers than for "regular" schoolers, and everyone that found out I homeschooled was very intrested and somewhat impressed. So good luck with the rest of HS and in college!!

Momster said...
on Oct. 13 2008 at 7:07 pm
I just sent this essay to my daughter who is now months into her first semester in college. She gets similar questions. She tells people her mom was kind of a hippie... ha ha and that she grew up fairly normally. As her mom I wouldn't call it normal but we did have a pretty darned good time. Home education should be a wonderful experience. I know it was for my kids. If they say it wasn't don't listen to them.... You two seem like you are out of the same mold. She too gets asked extremely stupid questions about getting out and being trapped at home. It is kind of incredible. You have a great spirit kiddo!! Momster

angemal said...
on Oct. 13 2008 at 3:53 pm
Thanks Catie!! You've just given me an attitude adjustment. I'm a 36yr old homeschooling mother. We have similar issues as I can't stand getting cast as the stereotypical homeschooling mother. Now instead of being annoyed by it all, I'm ready to help redefine how we are viewed. You rock! :)

Mandee said...
on Oct. 10 2008 at 6:00 pm
This story is amazing... I'm a senior this year, and I've homeschooled for all of my school years. And I get tired of the way people act whenever you tell them that you homeschool... I think this piece speaks to all homeschoolers :-) Thanks for it.

cosiney said...
on Oct. 8 2008 at 8:39 pm
Thanks for your wonderful article and for straightening out the head of a concerned grandparent (and educator). Our grandchildren have just begun home schooling in Ithaca, NY. We have already heard many of the wonderful things they are experiencing. Good luck in all your endeavors. You are sure to be successful.

lauraswv1 said...
on Oct. 8 2008 at 12:36 am
i would like to thank you for writing this. i am homeschooled and am a lot like u. and am alot diffrent from other normal homeschoolers. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! it is beautifuly writen and i have passed it to so many of my normal homeschooled friends.

SydVicious said...
on Aug. 22 2008 at 6:30 pm
You have definitely changed my opinion of homeschoolers, completely. I'm ashamed to say, I originally pictured you as typical homeschooled child in my head, protected from the world and such, However, you've opened my eyes on that. So I thank you for that. Also, you should go ahead with the dreadlocks, they're a fantastic style to have. :D

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