The Freak Child they tried to Paint their Golden Calf
Originally posted: 26, January, 2016
At this point in my adult life my backbone is straight enough and my tongue crude enough to put people in their place. Did I mention my patience is short too? The scene happens more times than I care to remember and I’m sure it will continue until people realize they are in possession of wrong information and learn their lesson. What am I talking about? The reaction to finding out I was homeschooled, for only 3 years mind you, but it is universally acknowledged (it would seem) that home education equates the stupefied ‘deer in the head lights’ lack of ability to function in the known world. “Wow! For someone who was homeschooled you sure know how to socialize well!” To the people who continue to parry this or similar phrases around I say to you, that’s bullshit and you need to shut up. It is tiresome, cruel, and honestly lacking in creativity. You don’t see me reacting to your public school education with such brutal, across the board, sentiment: “Wow! You are surprisingly intelligent for someone who spent their 13 years of education in the public forum!” This is not an idea I neither believe nor propagate about as so much truth with a SMALL pool for my ‘scientific’ research/speculation.
The lack of socialization is not paramount to an education. We ‘go’ to school to educate our minds, to grow, to process the world, and see what has come before us and what can become of our own lives. If education is ALL about a person’s ability to make friends and talk to their peers…newsflash you’re doing it wrong. There should be a certain level of selfishness to your education; it is YOUR future afterall. If you are so caught up with friends and school being the best years of your life, especially high school, I hate to see what tomorrow holds for you. Yes we need friends and our ability to communicate with others goes a long way, but when did it make or break WHO YOU ARE as a person? As far as I remember there wasn’t a class to ‘beat’ introverts into extroverts. I for one like variety in the world. I don’t want to see cookie ‘cutterness’ around every corner. Public education does not allow much room for unique education. It allows for one to be taught as all the rest, to be grouped among the masses. Students are forgotten, diminished to a name on a page, a test score to quantify their school’s ability to achieve (or not) greatness. However, let us raise our pitchforks for socialization, to say nothing of the negative affects our peers can and do have on our growing up; how they may shape us into people we fight to rise from the ashes of for the rest of our adult lives.
I spent 10 years being educated in public schools, two of which were pure hell. My grade school was a place filled with many ‘heavenly’ memories. I know many cannot say the same. I was blessed with a tight knit community, a principal and teachers who cared deeply for their students, and a librarian who has a throne waiting for her in heaven…made of books *wink, wink*. I don’t care to relive my middle school years, for numerous reasons. However, my freshman year was surprisingly less hellish than the previous two years. That isn’t to say it was perfect. People often jump to the conclusion that leaving the public school fits a long list of THEIR ‘jump to conclusion’ explanations. One of the biggest reasons for leaving, however, was being taught lies, half-truths, or completely withholding education. A few often stick out for me: Christopher Columbus was an amazing man (lie), Only Jews were killed during World War Two (lie and newsflash Hitler didn’t like anyone), Did you know there were Japanese internment camps? (I didn’t because it wasn’t talked about, not until I came home), and one that is silly, but still irks me to this day, Benjamin Franklin *smile* was such a standup guy. *Deadpan* Read portions of his autobiography and a few of the ‘baring it all’ biographies out there HE WAS A SCUMBAG.
I’d rather be a home-educator than a homeschooler
Here you thought my rant would only be for the ‘guilty’ public schoolers. Wrong. I like to play fair when I’m passionate about my cause *wink*.
The average homeschool reaction to finding out that a 27 year old woman, who was homeschooled, is running her own business, and has since she was 21, with her sister is ‘one for the team’ so to speak. Newsflash though (I’m using newsflash often in this), we are not on the same team. You cannot suddenly choose to bring me under the wing and devotion of the sacred homeschoolers. I have referred to our family as outcasts among outcasts since the beginning of this adventure. For the most part we are the pariahs of our community of ‘anti-public schoolers’…until it fits their whims and endeavors to proclaim the saving grace of education, that they know better and ALL. We are not suddenly made co-patriots of the same blessed cause. No, no, definitely not.
This comparison came to me as I got ready for work today. As a ‘half-blood homeschooler’ I am like Switzerland. You look at me; judge me for being of less purity than you, the homeschooled all along type, and disgust takes over your face. Oh you didn’t think I could see it?
I’m neutral ground, the wildcard that neither side quite knows how to handle. I make you mad (public and homeschool), confuse you, and you discount me from the pool. HOWEVER, when you need Switzerland for your money or your getaways…we are the best of friends.
I can understand the comfort in coming across another person who can enforce, confirm, that you have made the ‘right’ decision to take the homeschool path. I am not to be your example, when and if you need me. I am the hippy to your regimented and at times close minded nature. There is absolutely no reason to stand up and cry out against those who are not, what you believe, your equal. Less we forget you cattle your children off to co-op groups (yes I’m against them, sue me) where your children may be taught wonders of all wonders by SOMEONE ELSE (hello public school calling, you stole our idea we want it back). You form your tight knit groups that smack so loudly of hypocrisy I couldn’t stomach the thought of joining you when we moved. In my 10 years of public education I was never so harshly turned away for my lack of ‘pure blood’ as I was when visiting such groups. We can waylay the public school till the cows come home, but for the most part acceptance is preached and practiced there. This calls to mind examining the plank in your own eye before turning to your neighbor and bothering him about his speck of dust. The tug of war, the incessant cry of, “you are bad and I am better” needs to stop now.
I am a home educator, or rather I was. I’m on the other side looking back and still dealing with the various stigmas that haunt the treads of ‘dropping out’ (yes the state considers it in that light). You know what though? I’ve done well and continue to do so. I have my struggles. I was born to an extroverted father with enough to go around for several people and a mother falling somewhere in the middle. We have never been allowed to be shy. I often have the urge to be anti-social and to growl at people, but you don’t see me behaving that way. There are shy, non-socialized, ‘hiding in corners’, children in both walks of educational life. It is taught or not taught by the parents. I believe having friends, or not, has little to do with a person’s lack of being able to interact with anyone. Shyness stops being cute 30 seconds after a child is old enough to form sentences. It is not cute to pointedly ignore another person’s questions or attempted interactions with you. That is not shyness. It is an attempt to hide a short sweet word behind an uglier 4 letter word, RUDE. Your friends don’t teach how NOT to be rude, sure they can and do foster knowledge of how to be rude. Your PARENTS should bestow upon you the virtues of respecting your neighbor, of any age. Oh how I long for the day this dogma DIES and stays dead.
I have friends of all ages, something public school does not necessarily cultivate. Do I consider myself a shy person? There was a day and time I would say yes I am shy. Do I still long to err on the side of “please let me not have to say hello to this person in public”? Sure. Part of growing as a person is fighting the things that hold us back. I’m not telling you to stop being an introvert versus extrovert, but I am saying stop confusing shyness for what is honest, right in your face, rudeness.
It all boils down to the truth that I am not your token “oh wow a socialized homeschooler” friend. If you have a bingo board for your friendships, bad on you. I am not your shining example, the “painted gold calf” for you to shove in the naysayers’ faces of how they are doing it wrong and “SEE HEAR THIS IS US DOING IT RIGHT!” Education is a privilege. Few have the opportunity, choice, or blessing to have the education I received. It doesn’t make me better than you and it shouldn’t make me a circus freak either; even though I enjoy being a crazy, hippy wild child.