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Home School Stereotypes

Long hair, too smart or really stupid, mentally ill, Mormon, uber-religious, Amish, freakish, antisocial, lazy, boring, out-of-style, lonely, 20 siblings, farmers, hippies, sheltered, friendless.
The list goes on and on. I used to hate it when people would ask me where I went to school because I knew what would follow when I answered them and said: “I’m homeschooled.” The immediate reply was always some whacked out interpretation of what they thought home schooling meant. Ideas like; Does your mom teach you? Do you have a tutor? Cool, you can stay home all day and play video games! Does your mom give you a good grade even if you fail? Can you cheat? You’re so lucky, public school is way harder! How do you make friends? You get to wear pajamas all day!
Well, they were all wrong. My mom doesn’t teach me, and I don’t have a tutor---I do my schoolwork by myself. Don’t get me wrong, of course I go to my mom or dad when I need help with a question or don’t understand something, but they aren’t my school teachers. Each September, my parents order me a curriculum for my current grade from Keystone National High School. The curriculum consists of lesson manuals and textbooks by publishers such as Holt and Rinehart, Pearson, and McGraw Hill, just like yours are in public or private school. I’m enrolled in the Keystone diploma program, so I have to accumulate enough credits in my high school years to receive my diploma. Just because I learn at home, doesn’t mean it’s easier than regular school. I have tons of quizzes, essays, projects, and journal assignments that I must complete and mail in to Keystone where it gets graded and put onto my transcript/report card. I’m not required to take Regents exams, but I am required to take the C.A.T. (California Achievement Test) every year which gets graded by the Family Learning Organization then sent to the Board of Education for approval. If I fail the C.A.T. I get held back, but thank goodness that hasn’t been the case, every C.A.T. I have taken thus far has been 94% or above, which you know is an A. I also must do my schoolwork because the Board of Education can send me back to public school, if Keystone notices I haven’t mailed in my quizzes in each subject, it gets reported, again that hasn’t been the case of course! So just like in public school, lack of interest in studies does come with consequences.
I don’t play video games all day, but I do like to play Wii from time to time….I mostly write or read in my spare time though, I find it more educational and rewarding---call me a nerd, I don’t really care. When people ask, “How do you socialize?” I look right in their eyes and say, “I’m talking to you right now correct? That’s how I socialize.” I’m very out-going and I like to meet new people, some ways that I meet people my age are by volunteering and interning at Alley Pond Environmental Center, at Barnes & Noble Fresh Meadows where I teach a poetry workshop, and by taking extracurricular activities such as dance, drama, and vocal lessons. With so much going on, there is seldom a day where I stay home in my pajamas….but I have had my fair share of PJ Saturdays. My family also enjoys going to the beach, mall, movies, and on nature walks during the school day. Believe me; you have never had the real shopping experience until you’ve seen how empty the mall can be on a Wednesday! Taking weekday road trips and vacations during September or any other month when school is in session is also amazing, aside from cheaper hotel and touring rates; the areas are generally empty and very peaceful.
To keep in touch with things, I watch award shows, listen to Ryan Seacrest’s American Top 40, and I subscribe to Teen Vogue. I love fashion and music, it’s such a free way to express yourself and let the world know how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. I’m guilty of having long hair, but I get it cut once or twice a year so it doesn’t get too long. I’m a straight A student with an occasional B in math, no one is perfect! I don’t have 20 siblings but I do have 2 younger sisters who are both home schooled as well. I don’t think 2 siblings is so freakish…it’s quite average actually. Things are a little different for them; mom and dad teach them from a curriculum. I even get to help sometimes, I like to teach them art and I like to make up projects for them to do. We do not live on a farm; we live in an apartment in New York. Against stereotypes, I am not sheltered from the world. My parents do their best to guide and advise me about certain things so that I can be cautious and aware of my surroundings but I’m far from afraid of the world. Sure there is crime, disease, liars, and frauds out there but if you live life constantly worried about everything that’s out there, then you’ll miss out on all the rest the world has to offer. I’m very consumed by writing, it’s my entire life. Being homeschooled gives me the time to do what I love. When you’re in public school, you are there all day learning at the pace of a 1 teacher to 25+ student ratio, there is no time to focus on things you like doing. At home I can learn what would take all day plus homework, in a matter of hours. I’m usually done with a day’s schoolwork before noon. I also don’t have to wake up early which means I can learn with a clear, well-rested mind. If ever I want to take a break from schoolwork, whether it is for a day, or even a month, I can take that break. I have about 9 months to finish my year of schoolwork. If I skip any time, I can double-up my lessons until I’m done. The free time allowed me to self-publish my poetry collection, “Alternative”, as well as complete a lot of artwork such as drawings, photography, acrylic paintings, and collages. I can study any language I want to study, so I chose Greek for this term, next term I’ll choose another language to learn! Instead of gym class, I take Ballet classes. The freedom to choose my courses means I’m never stuck learning something that I don’t like working on.
A lot of people consider homeschooled students inadequate when really; we’re overqualified for just about everything. I’m not saying that home education is the right path for everyone. It happens to work out really well for me because I have amazing parents. They act more like wise friends who are always there to lend a hand instead of figures of authority from which I should be afraid to turn to. They understand my artistic abilities and they let me drink coffee at night and stay up until morning then sleep until noon the next day because they know that I write best at night time. They drive me to all of my activities and they support me at my poetry workshops and performances. They don’t force me to be homeschooled either; they always ask me if I want to go back to public school, but after living the past 4 years in such a free way of education, why would I ever want to go back?
Am I eclectic, eccentric and, nerdy with hippie-ish beliefs? Yes. But just like most sixteen year olds, I wear skinny jeans and converse Chucks, I’m attached to my iPod 24/7, I check my Facebook from time to time, my nails are painted black constantly, I read the entire Twilight series, and I think that I’m right even when I’m wrong. It’s just the way the world works. So when you ask someone what school they go to and they say, “I’m homeschooled” don’t jump to conclusions and stereotype them because not everyone abides by the norms of society, and no one should be judged for their eccentricities.



Join the Discussion


This article has 31 comments. Post your own!

SlowNimes7 said...
Jan. 24 at 1:51 am:
I homeschool, it rocks, swimming in the middle of classes.  
 
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RedWritingHood said...
Oct. 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm:
This is great! I'm a homeschooled senior, and I take courses at the local community college, and everytime someone asks me what school I go to, and I tell them, they completely shut down, they think I'm a freak. Their first response is, "But you look normal! Are you even allowed to be on campus? Isn't that like forbidden?" It's crazy! This article is perfect!
 
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Secretcolor said...
Sept. 6, 2011 at 3:25 am:

Such a great article! I would have broken it up into more paragraphs and indented it if I had written it, but you did a great job!

People don't realized that homeschooled teens are teens as well. Some of us a regular, but some of us aren't so much (like me!) because we have different interests.

Again though, I say, great job!!! :D

 
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glinda123 said...
Jun. 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm:
Wow, this is a really good article. I've been homeschooled all my life and I've run across almost all of these stereotypes. Good for you to stand up to those people like that!
 
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rockyraccoon said...
Jun. 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm:
i recently went from homeschool to public school and people asking where i went bugged me to
 
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star3x8 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm:
Excellent article! As a fellow Keystone student in her senior year, I have to agree with pretty much everything you said about how people think of us under a stereotype. The truth is that homeschoolers come in different shapes and sizes. I was a figure skater for 12 years, so for me, homeschooling was essential and very beneficial. Although I know take dual-enrollment courses at a local community college, I am actually quite glad I never went to a public high school! I do not, and never will, re... (more »)
 
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Juliett said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm:
You are a great writer. I loved your article and I wish I could write like you do. I am also homeschooled, and I was getting a little worried last year, because most of my homeschooled friends are deciding to go to high school. Have you read Blake Boles, College Without High School? You should, its a great read. If you want, check out my article: Homeschooling And The Major Media. Its not as good as yours though. Keep writing! 'bye!
 
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JVasquez said...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:23 am:
Please come down from you high horse. I granduated from "Homeschool" land and now attend a Grand rapids Community College to play softball here. When I was in Homeschooler high school. The one steriotype I always had to defense agains was how homeschoolers think their better than everyone else in the world. This makes perfect sense to me because basically every smart homeschooler protrudes this aditude. eventually you are going to have to be a citizen in this country and you will have to interac... (more »)
 
AlwaysWrite28 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:44 am :
I'm not coming off any horse because I never got one one. I didn't write this to say that I'm better than everyone--I wrote this because I'm proud of the lifestyle I chose. I do think that there are a few decent public schoolers, but only those who focus and care about their education, anyone can pass any grade in the NYC school system, the standards are very low. And by the way I found at least 4 errors of spelling in your comment. Thanks for sharing your opinion though, I value anyone who feel... (more »)
 
JVasquez replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 11:37 am :
That's exactly what I'm saying. in the real world, where real people live. NOBODY CARES if I had four spelling errors. I am sucessful in the thing that I do, and that's all that should matter. i'm not a spellin bee champo, which i'm sure you are.
 
AlwaysWrite28 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 11:50 am :
Last I checked I am a part of the "real world", you only assume that I'm not, which is wrong. Again, thank you for your opinions, and please stop pointing fingers. When you point 1 finger, 3 get pointed back at you.
 
WhoAmEye? replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 11:51 am :
I agree with AlwaysWrite28. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it seems like you are coming out a bit strong here.
 
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MercedesXO said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm:
I really enjoyed your piece and can tell that you are a very intelligent person. You seem to posses a lot of talents and really cover a wide variety of interests on different subjects in life. I think it's great that you love being homeschooled. I go to a public school and agree that it is extremelly boring..and would say that not nearly enough of us (sadly myslef included) pay that much attention, or learn as much as they should. Where I come from (I live in MA) basically everyon... (more »)
 
AlwaysWrite28 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:46 am :
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, this was an interesting comment really. I love to hear public schoolers who understand what we do, and don"t put us down for it!
 
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crazy_gabrielle said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 8:19 am:
Yay! :D I go to Keystone too! It's awesome. I am learning so much more than I ever did, even in PRIVATE school. It's sad to say, but I was bored out of my mind in private school. My first language is French, and I didn't immigrate into the US or anything. But now I'm going to high school in English, and I'm happy to say that I've become exactly as comfortable in English as I am in French. :) I have long hair too, haha, although I always style it very carefully! :P Homeschooling has allowed my fa... (more »)
 
AlwaysWrite28 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:38 am :
I'm in my Junior year with Keystone, I'm quite pleased with the curriculum so far! Keep it up, and thanks for reading :)
 
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Hails said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 11:34 am:
This is such a great Point of View piece especially because it shows how the Point of View of people on things they don't know about is so distorted from the truth! Awesome piece!
 
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ClaraZornado This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 3, 2010 at 7:06 am:
I was previously unschooled as well; last year I began attending public school (middle school. I am now a freshman in high school). I find myself overqualified for a few subjects, especially English. Math and science are my worst subjects, because I never studied them as an unschooler. I did not follow any curriculum path nor did my parents teach me standard subjects on a daily basis. It's interesting to hear your point of view, thanks for sharing! :)
 
AlwaysWrite28 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:35 am :
i've heard about unschooling, it must be awesome, i don't have the guts to do that! thanks for reading!
 
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Byron said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm:
This was great. Thanks fellow keystone student for a great article dispelling the false stereotypes of homeschoolers.
 
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