Why Are Homeschoolers Weird?

Here’s something I like to do: When I’m with a group of people discussing our childhoods, such as where we went to school, sports we played, etc., I’ll say something like “Did you know any weird homeschooled kids?”

People will often say some of the stereotypical things about homeschooled kids.  Things like: they’re odd ducks and socially awkward; they make their own clothes and electricity.  I’ll usually throw in a few wisecracks like “Oh, and they don’t bathe” or “they’re usually freaks!”.

Then, once everyone has poked fun at homeschoolers, I’ll say: “I was homeschooled.”

Silence.

The awkwardness is pure awesome.  But it’s true.  My mom homeschooled me until the seventh grade.

Inevitably someone will say, “Oh.  That.explains.a.lot.”

Wait a sec.  What does that mean?  I’m not offended, but over the years I’ve heard a number of commonly believed things about homeschoolers.  Some are true, others are blatantly ignorant.  Like anything, there are pros and cons.

I don’t know about other homeschoolers, but here are a few “pros” homeschooling gave me:

  • The realization I could teach myself anything.  I think this is the most important gift my childhood education gave me.  This might be why I don’t understand what people mean when they say, “I don’t know how.”  I have a hard time understanding how this is possible, especially with the accessability of information (have you heard? they have internet on computers now!).
  • How to interact with adults.  This came in handy years later as I made my way through my first few jobs, and while starting a company in my late teens and another in my early 20’s.  I never really felt out of place (in fact, I usually felt more at home with older people).
  • How (and why) to work at something I love.  My first passion was music.  It required hard work, dedication, and sacrifice — but I saw results.  Being exposed to this cause-and-effect dynamic equipped me for the work required by entrepreneurship.  In addition, I was blessed with the gift of learning that fulfillment can be found in doing something you love, despite the hard work.

Those are just a few of the things I believe to be true about my homeschooling experience.  Each of these things have deeply impacted me.  Now that my wife and I have a child of our own, we’ve discussed what kind of schooling experience we want to give our daughter, and whether homeschooling might be an option for us.

What about you?  Do you think homeschoolers are weird?  If so, why?

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About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

6 Responses to Why Are Homeschoolers Weird?

  1. Joseph Manos says:

    Dave- great post and I don’t feel you can put people in buckets based on their education type or the school they went to…Most successful men and woman are successful for many reasons beyond the type of education they received.

    I could share some of my experience with team members I have hired from some of the best schools in the nation and you would assume they would be great but in some cases they are not.

    I don’t think home schoolers are weird and I have met and worked with many.

    Yes education is critical as a foundation for learning because we never stop learning… There are some exceptional teachers BUT there are many that have their own perspective on the world and try to impose it on their students. I sure wouldn’t want my kids dealing with a teacher like that.

    We just never really know what is completely going on in the classroom. I paid for private school for my daughters through high school and even in some cases there were issues with some teachers.

    If a child is home schooled – who cares more for their development (into a well rounded contributing individual) than a parent – that insures a consistent approach to learning and in many cases it is a very positive experience. The parent is motivated to make it a fun and positive experience (on multiple levels) – is the average teacher?

    As long as the hime school education is balanced with outside interests that allow the child to interact with other children for those development areas of need then in most cases it probably is very positive.

    With some of the horror stories I have read about what’s going on in today’s schools I think it is a valid consideration for the growth and success of your child…

    • Hey Joe, I agree with you — it’s not terribly useful to put people in buckets. One reason behind this post was that I typically receive the same sort of feedback about home schooled kids — and sometimes, when people find out I was home schooled, they’re surprised. “You don’t seem that weird!”. I’m not sure why people have this stereotype.

      I agree with your statement around the child’s education needing to be balanced. That’s one thing that I think I may have lacked just a bit.

      Thanks for the thoughts — Sarah and I enjoyed reading them!

  2. Renee Turner says:

    Great question, Dave. I have seen tremendous success with home schooled children – not only in their individual development but in the familial, cultural and community bonding. I agree that exposure to a wide array of experiences and learning opportunities is imperative. The foundation formed for a family – where it’s obvious that parents are invested in the education and success of the child, as well as the child developing the profoundly important bond with her culture, her faith and her family – how can that be a bad thing? As a parent – I couldn’t do it. I don’t have the patience, but in the scenario you and Sarah have – it seems an excellent path to allowing the strongest foundations before potentially enrolling her in like-minded schools later on. I’d love to “listen in” on the journey if you choose this path. Maybe Sarah can blog while Abby develops the next green technology for her 6th grade mid-term 🙂

    • Hi Rene!

      That’s interesting. How many home schooled children have you known? I find that the “average” person doesn’t know too many (if any at all).

      I think as Joe said, it is important to have a good balance for the child, and homeschooling might provide an avenue for doing this. I would love to be able to bless Abby and our other children in that way.

      Thanks for encouraging us to share our story as it evolves. We certainly will, and we’ll encourage Abby to work on that green technology ASAP 🙂

      -dr-

      • Renee says:

        Actually, I know at least a dozen – Home schooling was becoming very popular in the San Francisco Bay Area when I lived there – and now, in rural Georgia – I find that many households opt for home schooling so that the family’s faith can take a prominent role in the education. There also seems to be a shortage of affordable, faith-based education in this region. One close friend of mine has home schooled all three of her children – now ages 14, 19 and 23 – the latter two are honors graduates from UC schools.

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