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Feir and Wit: Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

February 4, 2013

There’s a common misconception that every home-schooled child belongs to an Amish sect, baking bread for their lunch with grain they milled themselves. They ride their horse-drawn buggies to town with their parents and eight siblings as they hide behind the brim of their bonnets and shun society.

Modern puritanical bliss.

Yes, I may have had an affinity for prairie-style skirts at one point in my life, but it surely wasn’t my mother’s doing. I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder for that.

I was homeschooled until eighth grade.

Kids not only made fun of me, they practically shunned me when they weren’t staring at me or asking idiotic questions, like the following:
“Did you get to wear pajamas all day?”

“Did you get to sleep in as late as you wanted?”

“Did you even have to learn math?”

Unlike Lindsey Lohan’s character in “Mean Girls,” I was not a popular homeschooler right off-the-bat. I received glares from the “public school moms” when I attended Campfire Girls in second grade because I, 7-year-old Meghan, was the cause of the elementary school not getting more funding from the state due to my absence. I was the problem child – a freak of educated nature. So, they did what they saw fit: They glared at me and ne’er spoke a word.

It used to be considered odder and was associated with being socially awkward more so in the past than it is today, but home-schooling has definitely been a controversial subject. Many people mention this practice with an air of disdain for the practicing family’s “extremist” ways. There are always exceptions, but when will people realize that home-schooling families aren’t judging them for allowing their children to be in the public school system?

The people who choose to home-school their kids are doing it due to personal convictions on how to properly raise their children in a pretty crappy world. It should be commended when parents are so concerned with the formation of their children’s minds and well-being.

Yes, I have met homeschoolers who are not my proverbial cup of tea, but let’s not bunch everyone together. Just as with parents who have their kids enrolled in public or private schools, there are many types of home-schooling parents.

They’re individuals, too, in fact. In life, there will be people you like and people you don’t, and though it may come as a shock, some of the people you don’t prefer have attended a public school.

Home-schooling isn’t a new practice. People have been educating their children at home for centuries. We look back on those families and commend them for placing such a high priority on learning. Many judge the same practice today and think of awkward prudes, as they continue to look down upon “alternative education.”

One of the most popular questions posed is how homeschoolers will learn proper social skills.

My question to you is this: What’s your excuse for the socially awkward children enrolled in a “normal” school system since preschool? Aren’t they getting enough socialization?

I’ll leave you with this to mull over in your brain, a list of only a few of the many historical figures who underwent “alternative education” during the majority or entirety of their academic years:

The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Irving Berlin, Florence Nightingale, Claude Monet, Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein … need I go on?

Feir is a senior at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her column appears Mondays.

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