A lot of you already know that, on some level or another, but I want you to tell me your reaction. What biased did your mind jump to when you read that sentence? What are your preconceived ideas and judgements?
See, I still don't really seem to get it. Over the years I've bragged about being a home schooler. Now it's less relevant to my life (hello adulthood. You and I are old friends now) and I prefer to think of it as advocating.
I'm also starting to realize what home schooled actually means. Or, rather, what people think it means. And, yes. I am personally aquainted with some of these stereotypes. The ten kids, denim jumpers, headcoverings. Classical piano, Rod and Staff (err, that's a curriculum), and repressed social development.
But... But, that's not what home schooling was for me. There were a lot of "normal" experiences that I didn't have. A good chunk of my sex ed came from magazines and late night talks with my friends. I never shoplifted gummy candies on my lunch break or smoked cigarrettes under the stairs. Personally, I don't think missing this out did me much harm. Most of my "home schooled" friends have grown into functional, responsible, intelligent adults. The ones with the most trouble are the families I've known that have been extreme (see above paragraph). Honestly, those kids often go crazy, but do you blame them?
Those of us with a better balance may question our social roles a little earlier and learn to make out in the backseat or a car a little later. But, in the end, we usually seem to work things out just fine.
Education at home is a concept that has continued to capture my attention. I have no interest in working in education, but the idea of alternative education fascinates me. I have little tolerance for anyone closed minded enough to override home school as even a possible beneficial option without any previous experience or reason.
Do I think everyone should be schooled at home? No. Not every parent is anywhere near capable of that commitment. Do I think home school is ideal in every way? Not even a little bit. I do, however, think the public system only serves a certain portion of the population very well. Obviously, it's a one size fits all, and has to be that way. And that, essentially, is why I continue to support home education.
The potential for a personally tailored education is endless. So much so that I can see how mistakes could be made, and parents could easily feel overwhelmed. There is much to take into consideration. This is also why I'm bothered by such a sweeping generalization of home schoolers. There is no norm. I have some of the typical traits, but not many. Where I'm from almost has a separate culture just for us. We always walked the line.
I, personally, am thankful for my home tailored education. There is much I would do different if I went back. Would hope to do different if I were ever to have children of my own. And high school should be (and was for me) a personal option. Proof of academic achievement and a social structure are two aspects of home schooling that must be thought out where there is rarely need in a public school.
Just, please, tell me this. What do you think when I tell you I'm a home schooler? Is all this defense necessary?