Are YOU a Stereotypical Homeschooler? Guest Post by MaryAnna Cashmore

Homeschooling has been in the news a lot lately, and this has brought to light the fact that there are quite a few contradictory stereotypes out there regarding homeschoolers. Here are a few that I’ve seen (with maybe also a little artistic license taken by yours truly). But judge for yourself; are YOU a typical homeschooler?

1. All homeschooled kids are brilliant.
They win spelling bees, geography bees, play musical instruments, ace the SAT’s, get into the good colleges on scholarships. BUT they’re socially inept and their parents pressure them way too hard. Oh yes, and homeschooled kids’ GPA is a joke because the grades are awarded by Mom or Dad. (Generally I think people say this out of jealousy and to get their kids to stop begging to be homeschooled.)

2. All homeschooled kids spend all day outside playing. They never learn important things like the alphabet or how to count to four.

3. All homeschooled kids are well-mannered.
BUT that’s because mommy and daddy whip them all the time at home. And they’re too docile, incapable of independent thought.

4. All homeschooled kids are kept at home all day to protect them from evil outside influences. BUT their parents are incompetent as teachers, so the kids’ education suffers. Even if the parents are brilliant, the kids suffer because they need to be taught by someone other than Mom or Dad. They miss out on subjects that the parents don’t know. They miss out on things like science lab and the school bus and The Prom. The kids also suffer socially because they don’t have any friends. On the other hand (and I’ve actually had my doctor tell me this), they don’t need their immunizations as urgently, because they won’t be interacting with other kids. (!)

5. Homeschooling parents are the well-educated, financially elite of the community. This makes the schools suffer from a lack of privileged kids and dedicated parent volunteers/donors. Meanwhile the kids are spoiled, thinking they’re better than public school kids. The schools would benefit from forcing these kids back into the public school system, both financially and in terms of higher test scores; also, the children in public schools would benefit by association with these privileged kids, classrooms would be less rowdy, etc. And these parents would be devoting their energies for the good of all kids instead of just their own.

6. Homeschooled families pretend to be educating their children when actually they’re just taking advantage of the charter school funds to buy fun stuff and play around.

7. Homeschoolers could be child abusers who are using homeschooling as a ruse to keep their kids out of the public eye.

8. Homeschooling parents pressure their kids too much, forcing little Johnny to sit at the table for hours at the time, cramming all the subjects down his little unwilling throat, winning fight after fight, somehow getting him to get everything done every day. “I could never do that” is what we typically hear.

9. Homeschooling parents take their kids with them to run errands,
use the kids to get chores and farm work done, and then call it all “curriculum,” so actually the kids must not be getting educated at all.

10. All homeschoolers are anti-evolution and anti-tolerance. They use outdated books that teach wildly incorrect information and call it “science” and “history.” Public school kids should stay away from them, lest they be tainted by such evil ideas.

11. Homeschoolers are maladjusted and anti-social, harboring a grudge which could someday explode in the attack of a bitter genius against society. They need to be enrolled in public school so they can experience such character-building things as public humiliation, theft of lunch money, rotten school lunches, and getting their little (somethings) whupped. (Yes, I have actually heard this, many times.)

12. Homeschooled kids are out to make homeschooling sound like so much fun that they will lure your children away from public school. It is important to warn your public school children against homeschooled kids.

13. Homeschooled kids are sort of like the Amish.
They are in huge families, and they all wear toe-length homespun dresses, the boys all wear white shirts and ties with jackets, all of them march in file. Like Little House On the Prairie, they learn skills like sewing and farming and cooking from scratch, and they don’t watch tv or even own a computer, and only read books published prior to 1929. For some reason, there are people who mistrust families like this. (Maybe they think Waco and large stores of ammunition, or apocalypse.)

14. Homeschoolers are trying to make the statement that they don’t need anyone, that they are superhuman and can handle absolutely everything with regard to their children’s care all by themselves. If a homeschooling parent ever puts a child in daycare, or leaves him/her with a babysitter, or enrolls him/her in a class outside the home, or allows a child to attend school outside the home, this amounts to an admission of failure as a homeschooler. Every child who goes from homeschooling to public school is a “homeschool failure case.”

15. Homeschoolers are hippies.
They wear tie-die home-made shoes, and they have long hair, and if they get upset about anything they drop to the ground in lotus position and start saying “ohm….” They eat only organic foods. (I hadn’t heard of anyone like this before, but it’s in “Schooled” by Gordon Korman.)

16. Homeschoolers are extremely devout fundamentalists
who pray and read the Bible all day. (I put this one down as a separate item but my guess is that it’s probably usually in combination with some of the others above….)

17. Homeschoolers only associate with each other. This is because they think other people’s children aren’t good enough for their children to associate with.

18. Homeschoolers think that homeschooling is the only good educational option, and that everyone who sends their kids to public school is a bad parent.

19. Homeschoolers don’t know anything at all about public school.

20. Kids who are homeschooled have an unfair advantage when it comes to having more time to practice their sports training for competition, musicianship, dancing skills, etc.

It’s hard to think of any family that fits all (or even any, exactly) of the above stereotypes. It’s also hard to think of any family that, on a cursory glance, wouldn’t be considered to fit under one of the above. If you’re smart, aha, typical homeschooler. If you’re kid is struggling academically, aha, typical homeschooler. If you’re wealthy, aha, typical homeschooler. If you live on a farm and work very hard and are dirt poor, aha, typical homeschooler. If you spank your kids, or if you spoil your kids, aha, etc. If you use a very rigid, challenging curriculum, aha, etc. If your kids are playing outside today, aha, etc.

You just can’t win.

MaryAnna Cashmore is a typical homeschooler with 3 children. She is a frequent contributor to the popular homeschool ezine, ClickSchooling. MaryAnna is also the webmaster for the “Sense of Wonder” science website with tons of terrific resources for homeschool families.

Note: Would you like to be a guest blogger on JustEnough? Contact Tammy Takahashi to submit a guest post.

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13 Responses to “Are YOU a Stereotypical Homeschooler? Guest Post by MaryAnna Cashmore”

  1. el burro Says:

    I read this post with my 14-year old homeschooled son and we had a good cackle over it. I’ve heard most of those points over the years, but it took me seeing them all lined up together to realize how contradictory many of them are. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. sunniemom Says:

    You’re right- one of the things that wearies me is feeling like I can’t say anything without it being misunderstood. If I talk about my kids doing chores or helping out with coupons and price comparisons at the store, then they are Stereotype #9. If I say that we took a day off to relax and regroup, then we are Stereotype #6 (even though we do not receive any funds from anyone). If we hang out with other homeschoolers because they also have a flexible schedule, then we are Stereotype #17.

    People believe what they want to believe. Don’t upset their apple cart with facts or reasoning.

  3. Alasandra Says:

    Loved the post.

    I am so sick of all the stereotypes.

  4. Rose Says:

    Loved it! You even found a few I’d not heard before and I thought I’d heard all of them after 9 years of homeschooling.

  5. The Overachieving Homeschooling Quiz « Just Enough, and Nothing More Says:

    […] Read Posts The Real Cons of HomeschoolingAre YOU a Stereotypical Homeschooler? Guest Post by MaryAnna CashmoreConfidence Begets ConfidenceGreat Article About California HomeschoolingFree Textbooks […]

  6. johnpreiss Says:

    Nice post My theory is that a child can be taught something all the time. Our attitudes are important. If a Mother gets excited and makes learning fun then the child will think it is fun. Good work.

  7. Let’s Go to the Carnival . . . of Homeschooling, That Is « The Expanding Life Says:

    […] about Parade magazine’s recent homeschooling article (that one got my feathers ruffled) and the one about homeschooling stereotypes (see how many do and don’t apply). Heck, they all look interesting. Get the “ride all […]

  8. Susan Gaissert Says:

    Let’s see, I think my daughter’s brilliant, but I believe in evolution, but I associate with non-homeschoolers, but I like long skirts (which I guess makes me Amish), but! but! Thanks for the very fun-to-read list. : )

  9. Melissa Drew Says:

    I LOVE your post. No. 14 especially as I am homeschooling one child while the other attends middle school. The fact that he made all honors classes aside, I must have “failed” somehow in my schooling. Since he made the decision to go to public school it is obvious I must have been abusing him and he wants to escape. Especially since he is incapable of independent thought. OK, my head is ready to explode.

  10. Cadence Says:

    Ha, #11 cracks me up! I once mentioned to an education-major friend that I was painfully shy as a child. She informed me that if I had gone to public school and been made fun of when I was young (which I would have because I am certainly not “cool”) I would have gotten over my social anxiety. Or, you know, developed even more of them.

  11. Crimson Wife Says:

    Don’t forget the charge that homeschooling is anti-democratic. As if traditional government-run schools are in the slightest bit democratic, either in their governance or in who can attend (with extremely limited exceptions, only those families who can afford to rent or buy within the district zones).

  12. AztecQueen2000 Says:

    Actually, around here, most of the schooled kids fit #13. Most Orthodox Jewish girls’ schools require a uniform consisting of a loose-fitting oxford shirt, an ankle-length pleated skirt, black stockings, and flat shoes. I want to homeschool because the tuition is cheaper than Bais Yaakov and my kid would learn more.

  13. Rebekah Walton Says:

    I am a homeschooler. Now you’re #12 is one I have wished homeschoolers were. I have even and still am contemplating eventually living like Amish when i grow up. I am not exactly smart. I am sort of average. I am not great at spelling. But I love writing stories. I do not get a whole lot of time out side, but I do talk to both homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers. I have noticed you can have a lot more animals if you are homeschooled. My mom was a physics major as well as a math major. But I don’t really enjoy or do well in math.

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