When an unsuspecting stranger asks me where I go to school, I can never hold back a smile as I say, “I'm homeschooled.” I keep smiling as the person opposite me usually expresses surprise. I used to wonder why it always surprised people to hear that I was homeschooled. I had never really known anything else—all my friends were homeschooled and we almost never associated with the school kids-- to us a foreign species who were always loud in libraries and seemed to be glued to their electronics. Of course, the stereotypes my peers and I held of school kids were, for the most part, hugely mistaken. But we didn't know that. How could we? We used to look at them with disdain as we quietly shouldered our backpacks and exited the library after a day of co-op classes.
Another thing I deeply enjoy is the onslaught of questions I get when I pronounce the unheard-of word, homeschooled.
“Do you like it?” asks the person, somewhat doubtfully. I never understand the doubtful part.
“Of course,” I reply. Why else would I be smiling?
“Do you get to sleep in?”
“Sometimes,” I say offhandedly, neglecting to mention the fact that I, unlike some homeschooled kids, don't even have a specific time I'm supposed to wake up at.
“Do you get to do school in your pajamas?” I always see this one coming.
“Yep,” I say, trying not to sound too smug. By this time the other person is looking at me with something closer to envy than incredulity. Sometimes the conversation ends there. But occasionally the person is really interested.
“How long does it take you to get your school done?” or,
“Does that mean you're really smart?” or,
“Will you ever go to school?” or,
“Do you have friends?”
Okay, I've never actually been asked that last one, but I can imagine it. I've gotten questions fairly equivalent to it. It always confuses me. Why would being educated at home mean I don't have friends? Sure, I may have fewer than school kids, or be more picky about which ones I actually consider my friends, and not just acquaintances, but I don't understand why the concept of homeschooling is so frequently associated with social tactlessness and the like. There are examples of anti-social people in schools, too.
Just another strange aspect of society to ponder, I suppose. All the same, I wouldn't trade my home education for anything. And people's surprise amuses me more than it perplexes me. I would like to say to them, “There are more of my kind than you may think!" (Cue unconvincing evil laugh.)
|Me in the first week of school. Notice the lack of snow outside...|