Someone said this to me recently when I was telling them about our new homeschool journey and I didn’t quite have a rebuttal. “Well, to each their own, I guess,” is all I could muster up in defense. But if I had that life remote that Adam Sandler had in the movie, “Click”, then I would definitely want to rewind to that conversation to change my answer. (By the way, I watched this movie when it first came out and when I was still a “kid” and boy did I have a different experience when watching it as an adult with kids of my own. Insert tears here.)
If I were able to rewind to that moment, I think I would like to thank that person for sharing her humble opinion. I would let her know that my newly homeschooled kids are probably going to end up “weirder” than most homeschooled kids too. Why? Because not only are they homeschooled, but they are largely unschooled as well. Yes, we loosely follow a curriculum (so technically we aren’t full on unschoolers). Yes, we keep state standards in mind. But, they are also choosing their daily learning paths and making decisions on how they want to approach such paths. Because of their ability to choose their own learning, they are not remembering the facts for a test. Instead, they are remembering them for life. Homeschooled (and unschooled) kids may stand out as “weird” because it seems that they go against the grain of what society deems “normal”. They seem to march to their own beat, but have you stopped to listen to that beat? It is the most beautiful sound!
Some may say that homeschooled kids aren’t socialized as much. But what if that is their personality to begin with? Trust me, Kid #1, will make sure she gets some socialization in, even if it is through FaceTime. Kid #3 though, she prefers to be by herself most times, so we aren’t going to force her to do something she is naturally uncomfortable with. Again, empowering the child to make his or her own decisions.
Some may say that homeschooled kids think they know it all and think they can do anything. What if their perceived boastfulness is more just a great self efficacy? A self efficacy that they could have only obtained because they were given the freedom to choose what they wanted to learn and then given the same freedom and time to get really good at it.
So here is my new response: ” Thank you so much for that wonderful observation! If my homeschooled kid is considered weird, then that makes me one proud Mama Bear. I can go to sleep at night knowing that I have allowed my kids to be free to feel all of their own feelings. To own all of their own thoughts. To take responsibility of all of their own actions. And to be in charge of making sure they are actively engaging in their learning moments. All in hopes that they become caring and productive members of society. Hey, they just might even be able to lessen the stigma that being weird is a bad thing. Because between you and me, I would much rather be considered weird, than normal nowadays.”
**If I’m being quite honest here, I used to be one of those people. Yep, I was Judgey Mc-Judgerton back in the day. And by “back in the day” I mean before I had kids. Before I knew just how wonderful homeschooling and unschooling could be for my kids and for my family. I want to stress though, that I do not think that it is a “one size fits all” approach and that I am not opposed to ending our homeschooling and unschooling journey if it is no longer working for my children. Flexibility is the only guarantee here.