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4 Secrets from the Hidden World of Homeschoolers

Homeschool geek culture revealed.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

September 2, 2013 - 11:00 am
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Many people only see the spelling bee champions, or the homeschooling family who sent six kids to college by age twelve. I assure you, those kids are not the norm. Not that there is such a thing — “normal” and “weird” are in the eye of the beholder. There are, however, common threads that bind most homeschoolers together: a secret language and shared experiences that only kids similarly educated can fully embrace.

Today, I will help those of you outside of our community to understand our unusual way of life by letting you in on four geek-culture experiences unique to homeschoolers.

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1. Public School Group Field Trip Phobia

Every homeschooling family knows this scenario: They pull up to the museum (or zoo, or park), excited for a day of learning and exploring, only to find their  mini-van (or 15-passenger van if they’re a quiverfull family) behind a line of school buses. Well, that ruins everything!

They know that at every exhibit they will now be forced to deal with hordes of (often unruly) children being forced to “line up!” by their teachers. Of course, being a homeschooling family, they adapt. They change their strategy — instead of starting at the logical beginning of the museum, they begin at the end (or the middle, or at some random station where there is no crowd). Throughout the day they gaze sadly at the children in the lines, wondering if they will ever enjoy the freedom of roaming a museum or a zoo unencumbered by “the line.” They pity the children when the bus arrives at 1:30 and the teacher hurries the children onto the bus to get back to school on time, even though the museum will remain open for another 3 1/2 full hours (though they’re secretly glad they now have the place to themselves).

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Top Rated Comments   
Two of these points indicate one of the awful paradoxes of public schools... maybe even many private schools too: activities in science involving explosions or projectiles, anything that might cause physical harm is strictly verboten, while kids are forced to be subjected to violence at the hands of the few or many sociopath students or staff, or to the sexual crudity of the lowest common denominator, of some of those same sociopaths, especially at a "prom".

They coddle students in some ways while throwing them to the wolves in other ways.

Instead of expanding one's appreciation of music and dance and socializing as these balls do, public school proms are reduced to battlegrounds where trashy music from one subculture squares off against the trashy music from another subculture and where all the trashy "dancing" begins to look the same.

I don't see these kids becoming "Common to the Core" anytime soon.

Please, keep at it you homeschoolers! Those Balls sound fantastic!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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I love the homeschool ball idea! I hope there are some when my girls are old enough and if not, maybe I'll organize one!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great idea!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the day, the upper class home schooled everyone, at least for a while. Note the Mitford Girls had that advantage, and they weren't really rich by our standards.

In the world our education springs from our home culture, our family. Schools should provide a continuation and expansion of that rather than a dumbing-down.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very nice, if not my personal experience -- but _why_ Eduard Khil?!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two of these points indicate one of the awful paradoxes of public schools... maybe even many private schools too: activities in science involving explosions or projectiles, anything that might cause physical harm is strictly verboten, while kids are forced to be subjected to violence at the hands of the few or many sociopath students or staff, or to the sexual crudity of the lowest common denominator, of some of those same sociopaths, especially at a "prom".

They coddle students in some ways while throwing them to the wolves in other ways.

Instead of expanding one's appreciation of music and dance and socializing as these balls do, public school proms are reduced to battlegrounds where trashy music from one subculture squares off against the trashy music from another subculture and where all the trashy "dancing" begins to look the same.

I don't see these kids becoming "Common to the Core" anytime soon.

Please, keep at it you homeschoolers! Those Balls sound fantastic!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those are great points, but I hope your private and public school readers don't think they can create a lot of the same effects for their kids as well.

The problem many people have with their public school kids is that they think the "learning" portion of life can be relegated to school hours. We have volunteered at field trips and our school lets us wave the bus goodbye and spend as long as we like at a museum or zoo, provided a parent is there to wave with them.

The same effect of a home school ball can be achieved at a church dance or by anyone willing to put in the time and effort to organize the private party. If there is a home school group in your area I bet if you asked really nice they'd let your well groomed public schooler attend.

And as far as explosions and technology, once again if you don't assume that learning stops when they get home there are all sorts of experiences open to you. My daughters don't have an interest in explosions [yet], but my husband already has visions of microscopes, telescopes, and power tools dancing in his head.

Home schooling is a great choice. But even if it isn't for your child or your situation thinking of home as another place to learn can get you a lot of the same effects.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
You make some great points, MC -- you have the right attitude about it. I think that parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children, regardless of how they spend the hours defined by the traditional school day.

That said, I think there can be a subtle mindset that can creep in that learning should stop when the bell rings. I definitely had it growing up and even saw it in my own son in the two years he went to public high school. He would come home from school and say things like, "Mom, I'm not in SCHOOL!"when I wanted to teach him something of suggested an educational show. School is where the teachers are ergo where the learning happens. Of course, it's not true, but I think the mentality is pervasive.

I think balls and such can definitely be replicated, though most parents whose kids have been through public schools -- even Christian parents -- look at us like we're Wacko Birds when I tell them about our balls. They have an image in their mind of what a school dance should look like and our model looks pretty freakish compared to that. That said, we live in a rural area where there are county square dances and contra dances. After my younger son graduated he attended them regularly. They are nice, wholesome, family-oriented events and a lot of single young people attend. I think they're a great alternative to proms and school dances, many of which have become more similar to nightclubs than to the dances of our youth.

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great column, Paula.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a home schooling grand parent now I know what you are talking about. We started home schooling our son and daughter when they were 11 & 12. They started college by the ages of 14 1/2 and 15. Our oldest is homeschooling the grandchildren and when the come for an extended visit to our ranch we continue the home schooling. My wife and I are also helping a neighbor home school her grandson.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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