Saturday, March 29, 2014

Socialization

"Wow, you're actually normal!"

Can't tell you how many times I've heard this. Now, I'll admit the people are probably joking but there's always a grain of honesty in a joke. Yet, that comment still makes me think....



(but then again, maybe I'm not normal)

But why do people think we're sooooo different from themselves just because homeschooling carries the connotation that we don't see the outside world or know how to interact with it? I'll let you in on a little secret...... people are people are people. This means that every person carries their own baggage of insecurities, different moral standards, and different cultural norms. Being educated at home comes along with its own baggage. Now, I was homeschooled K through 12--at home with my mom and my siblings but yes, I did see the outside world and I and other homeschoolers are "socialized" this is how:



  • We interact with people. It's not like we live in another universe. We have neighbors, church friends, and other homeschoolers (we have a secret society complete with secret handshake).
  • Because we aren't surrounded by our peers everyday, we learn how to interact with people of all ages. I noticed this phenomenon in my homeschool group and recognized it in myself that we are drawn to adults as well as children--not just our peers. 
  • While many homeschoolers have earned the stereotype of being nerds, that term carries many undeserved connotations. Removed from the peer pressures to do what is cool, homeschoolers are able to cultivate their own passions (from Lord of the Rings, Debate, Music and the like). Anyone that is more focused on a particular idea will come across as odd to other and quite often will awaken jealousy that manifests itself in meanness. 

Socialized? 
Yes. 
Culturally adept?
Is that really important when that ineptness stems from insecurities that everyone has or from a specialized skill set?


I'll let you answer that question for yourself. 
I, for one, am puzzling out whether my experiences in my childhood and teenage years set me at a disadvantage to my peers. Because quite often the jokes/comments imply that. 

Please leave me a comment with your thoughts!
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homeschooled With Siblings

Family is the people I lean on, love unconditionally, sit quietly with, throw snowballs at, and trust with important life discussions at all times. As a home educated alum, I spent the majority (basically 24/7) of my time with my family. Yet, I moved across the country to attend school. I feel a deep connection with my 3 siblings back home and it is hard to see them grow up from across the country as the develop their own personal talents and I'm not to be able to be a part of it or be an active supporter. This is why I begged my parents to let the older of my two brothers come out for part of spring break.

Abnormal, I know. Who wants to spend their precious spring break with their 14-year-old brother when they could be off in Florida soaking up the sun and getting turnt?


Well, I did. I had to rationalize it out and this is what I discovered:


I'm hoping this trip out will give him better memories. It pains me that he only seems to remember the rough times or the "bad" things I've done such as: "tan-in-a-can" or pining him down or the anxious high schooler I used to be as I dealt with the frustrations of being bullied. But he never brought up the fun car rides, the slurpees, the beach days, or when I would just take both him and the younger brother to the wild animal park or walks just for fun. I also hope to alleviate his learning curve as he enters the world himself.

His traversing the country gave me the excuse to become a tourist again. Seeing the city through the eyes of someone experiencing NYC for the first time helps bring perspective on the incredible sights and opportunities that avail themselves to me here.


I learned to relate to my 14-year-old angsty brother. And through that I learned many many more things about myself as I explained what being a leader means. He loves to give advice. He took great pleasure in hearing my relationship issues then turning it back at me saying: "Well you were freaking stupid, you probably scared him off." His unfiltered insight was refreshing. I knew the way to his heart was through his stomach so there was junk food for days.


Our adventures included wandering NYC, a day trip to DC (more details to follow), and watching Harry Potter. 


I hope this encourages you if you are a student far from your family or a sibling at home. 
And even though it's hard to say good-bye to my brother after a few days, not see my sister play the lead role in her play, or my other relate to his horse while playing polo, there's something freeing to return to building my life as a young adult away from my family. New York City may be rough, my classes may be challenging, my responsibilities may be strenuous--but this is my life and my family is always there. 


I would love to hear your thoughts on you and your siblings or friends.
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Divergent from the Norm







I recently read the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. It followed the recent cultural mania of presenting dystopian society divided in to factions (AKA Districts or Sameness and the like) in order to maintain the ideal society. It follows a strong-willed, independent girl who defies the constraints of this society and her struggles.

The book raised questions in my mind for the philosophy for raising children to fulfill their ingrained inclinations. In Divergent, there are five factions and each eats, drinks, wears, basically embodies heart and soul the value that they believe will best provide for the common good of their society. They are Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the Intelligent. At age 16, at the brink of adulthood, the teenager chooses which group they are going to join and once they choose they can never look back. Until that point, the family is the center of discipline and guidance towards the chief end of their particular faction. 


I compare this to being homeschooled or any kind of schooling in general:



First - You will be judged and stereotyped no matter what faction or educational background you are from. 


Second - There are parts of you that will echo where you came from. Not to get too deep, but things you hold to or distain quite often stem from where you came from. 


Third - There is a learning curve to entering any new arena and you can and will fail; but, unlike the people in Divergent, you do not fall into the "factionless." Who you are is more than what faction/arena/college you choose to enter. You have an identity and skills that will always be there. 


I greatly enjoyed Divergent and I look forward to bringing up other themes that run through the book (such as becoming dauntless).



You be dauntless in your life. 

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

I would like to remind my readers that the arena of people who homeschool is very broad: people of all races, religions, motivations and intentions choose to homeschool their children. As I write this blog I am speaking from the my own experience of being homeschooled for moral and family reasons; but, I also am attempting to rebut several stereotypes that are imposed on homeschoolers as I have received and others around me have relayed. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Common Concepts as Homeschoolers See Them

5 Concepts as Homeschoolers See Them

#1 Socialization - A (evidentially) crucial part of your education that is missing but your co-ops, carpools, and multiple extracurricular activities beg to differ. Most commonly used in the question "Oh! You're homeschooled?! How do you get socialized? Do you have friends?

#2 Community College - A rite of passage freshman homeschoolers suffer through as they sit with adults and high college students to learn ASL, Spanish and Stats. 

#3 Pressure - Homeschoolers know they're different. Pressure to them is wanting to go to prom, play sports, appear cool, and as they grow up, follow or disregard the training their parents drilled into them.

#4 Family - This term heavily relies on age-order. To the oldest sibling, family is the snot-nosed siblings that they help carry, take care of, and sometimes run away from. To the youngest sibling, family is constantly hearing "So, you're so-n-so's little sibling?" Ultimately, the family name becomes a badge of honor that must be protected and defended at all costs. 


#5 Mini-Van - desk on wheels, where you find yourself learning about politics (through talk radio), the slight differences between Bach and Mozart, a new language and even, if you're lucky, listen to Adventures In Odessy or Jonathan Park. Need a water bottle, a pair of shoes, a bandaid, a granola bar your school books, or a basketball? The mini-van has it.

Please feel free to leave me a comment and I hope that this sheds light about homeschoolers.

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J