Reprinted with permission from the blog Homeschool Atheist Momma
My mother and I recently read a blog post called “Why are Homeschooled Kids so Annoying?” Basically it states that if a long-time homeschooler decides to go to school, they will automatically be tagged as “weird” because they are an actual person. You know, with a personality. I happen to have been one of them. A kid who went to school.
In 2011, I decided to try middle school. I don’t know why the thought came over to me; I guess I wanted to see what “pop culture” was and how it worked. I was not impressed with what I saw.
From the moment I entered my first classroom I saw the looks on their faces as most of them judged me. Some of the girls who I sat near were old classmates (from third grade). They didn’t recognize me, or they acted like they didn’t. Which gave me a hint that they knew I had been homeschooled. Or that they were waiting to see if I was “ok” to be friends with.
I went through the day seeing people who I had gone to school with before and those kids not knowing it was me. The next day was different. I made friends, but not the “higher up” friends on the food chain. The popular kids. The way we said it, the weird, outcasts. The kids who mostly don’t even talk to each other. They took me in as much as they could, which was not much. One of the more popular and well-liked girls of the school gave me a test drive, but she didn’t really give me a chance.
So, I spent school either seeming to be invisible or with my little group of misfits. Four or five friends from kindergarten (six months) or third grade (two months) greeted me and we caught up a bit. That gave me a little bit more confidence, but not nearly enough.
As I think back on it, I remember the way the kids would look at me or not look at me. I was weird. I was the Homeschool New Kid. I tried to be me when talking to other kids, expressing my love for K-Pop and British sci-fi dramas, but as soon as I did the kids started ignoring me OR tried to get me to love Justin Beiber. Only one girl, in one class, was actually interested in the fact that I knew more about Korea than just it’s name. I know it’s culture, music, some language, even the time of the day in Korea. Everyone else found it weird.
I’m not even sure some of my teachers liked me.
The thing is that schooled kids don’t get individuality, I think. And that’s the best thing about homeschooling is getting to be yourself. What I saw in middle school was Justin Beiber, Twilight, and boys who acted arrogant.
The schooled kids always asked about socialization, whether I know enough, and if I have any friends. The truth is, we do have lives and we are actually people! You may find that shocking and totally unbelievable, but you have to face the facts that there are people who live quite happily, thank you, outside of pop culture.
When I went to school, I was immediately discarded. Put into a position that I couldn’t talk to anyone without making them weird or making myself more weird.
I currently have some good friends who are going to school after being homeschooled. They are what kids would call weird. They’re what I would call “Interesting”. Or WEIRD, in a good way. Like something you would call your best friend!
They are throwing themselves into school in the middle of the year, just as I did in 2011. I think about them and their personalities and how they act around people and then I think about the kids at school. And then I think, ‘Oh no, they’re screwed.”
I don’t want these people, these really good people, to get screwed up by school kids who probably don’t even know what individuality even means. I fear for them, honestly. I don’t want them to go to school, show their true colors, and have people discard them for being weird.
For homeschool kids who are very out there, like my friends going to school, I’ve been to school and I know what could happen. These are very interesting and nice people who smile and talk to everyone. But when I tried being social, I found myself sitting in the back all by myself.
Even now, I have no idea what “normal” actually means to those kids because I, for one, am not normal. I am as far from normal as you can possibly get. And I’m proud of it and I hope my friends will be proud of their weirdness too.
In school kids eyes, being weird is something to be feared. For homeschoolers, it’s a compliment.
Even if my friends are sitting alone in the back, I hope they don’t dread it, going to school. I hope they think “It’s not because of me, it’s because of them. They just don’t get it.”
Karen is a peaceful, loving, neo-hippie in the Burbs, homeschooling, atheist mother of two wonderful children, and regular blogger about atheist homeschooling. I’m THAT blogger.
Read more of her blog posts at: http://taytayhser.blogspot.com