Saturday, May 11, 2013

Eight Statements You Most Likely Agree With If You Were Home Schooled: A musing

Growing up as a member of the first big generation of home schooled students, I have spent a lot of time discussing experiences with fellow home educated alumnus guys and gals, and it is always interesting to watch and listen as we talk, as several similarities and quirks tend to begin to show up in our histories. I have assembled a list here that is by no means complete or extensive, but still should make many of you in my friends circle who called your school your house as well, smile, chortle, or nod in agreement.

You have always kind of had a curiosity for what it would have been like to ride a school bus each day
Off the bat, this one applies exclusively to the ‘lifers’ as I lovingly refer to those of us home schooled folks who were educated in this manner from Kindergarten to our senior year in high school. From the time I was six years old, I often wondered what it would be like to hop on one of those yellow and black high off the ground vehicles with a plethora of small square windows and trek off to school five days a week. Later, I would think about how blessed I was not to have do that in the winter when it was cold outside, but on a sunny spring morning, I would still wonder sometimes…

You actually love to read even now that most of us in the first generation are in or out of college, and you enjoy both fiction and non-fiction work
The more I think about it, the more I realize that so many of my close home school heritage friends love to read! In fact we often talk about the books we have read. There are staples of course; you weren’t home schooled if you didn’t read “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Lord Of The Rings” (as a side note, I didn’t read “Lord Of The Rings,” one of the rare inconsistencies I have with my other HS friends). You also had to read at least “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” at some point in high school, and if you were a bit more progressive like me, books like “Dateable” and “I Gave Dating A Chance” too. 

You Possess A Very Varied Vocabulary
Let’s face it, no home schooler who is worth his or her salt is a boring person to have a conversation with. We have a tendency to use different descriptive dialog with good diction, and we know many a synonym for many commonly said words and statements. This ties in with the fact that we love to read, and read a lot as well. Reading classic work by classic authors and theologians forced us to look up words in the dictionary growing up, and while we may have hated it at the time, we are better conversationalists now because of this.

You Interact Well With People Of All Ages
Being home schooled meant that you would spend more of your time each day than other children your age around your Mom and possibly your Dad as well. This means you learned how to interact with them in a more mature manner faster than most children do. Then when you were around other adults at church or home schooler co-ops, you found you enjoyed talking to them as well. Oh don’t get me wrong, you could interact with children your age, but they tended to be less interesting than the adults, or your fellow home schooled peers as well. Basically “Brick Heck” on ABC’s hit sitcom “The Middle” said it best in a episode that aired back in January: “I am going to be spending most of my life around adults, so why shouldn’t I learn to talk to them now at age eight?” Home schoolers with few exceptions of course, seem to grasp this concept well at that age!

“Adventures In Odyssey” was the coolest radio drama ever!
I think I can honestly say that every single home schooled alumnus I know has this one in common. Whether it was during your lunch break, Car trip, or recess time if your Mom gave it to you, you listened to Focus On The Family’s wonderful radio drama series “Adventures In Odyssey” where you learned life lessons that were biblically centered from the main character of “Mr. Whitaker” who owned an ice cream shop and invented crazy contraptions like the “Imagination Station” that allowed you to time travel back and live out bible stories! From this series, you learned that the older a person is, the wiser they are, and thus you should respect them. You also learned that a show aimed at children was so often just as entertaining and enthralling to adults, as many times your parents would join you in listening along!

The words “Saxon Math” still can make your right eye twitch uncontrollably
It seems almost inevitable that at some point during your home-schooled journey through each grade, your parents decided to purchase a popular math curriculum used in schools known as “Saxon Math.” It was highly touted in the mid-90’s, but as so many of us soon learned, if you weren’t a person to whom math came easy, this curriculum flat out stunk! Not nearly enough explanations of how to do problems, or examples either. Talk about frustration to a level ten, this curriculum was it! Thankfully, after a year or two of this, most of our parents sought out other more underground but more well written math curriculums, and our hearts could beat a little less fast, and our eyes stopped twitching…except of course when we hear the name ‘Saxon’ today. Eye twitching yet? Oh, sorry!

You Have Confidence In Who You Are
To be honest this is one thing that one of my traditional school alums pointed out to me that I had never noticed before. He told me that I am extremely confident in who I am and that I don’t struggle with insecurities that most other folks do. This surprised me a bit, and he went on to tell me that this is both a blessing and a curse, as confidence is huge when it comes to surviving in society, but it is a downfall when it comes to being understanding that others around me are often not confident in who God has made them to be, and I therefore must not let this confidence lead to pride. As I reflected on this more, I realized that all my home-educated friends tend to have this confidence. We are a little weird in terms of our humor at times, and our certain nerdiness, but we like that about ourselves and we don’t worry too much about whether or not others around us like that side of us or not. Overall, I think it is a good thing, but something we all should be aware of as well, just as my friend cautioned me J

Ultimately, We Know That We Owe Our Parents, Especially Our Mom’s, A Debt Of Gratitude We Can’t Ever Repay!
Face it friends, our parents gave us a huge gift when they made the controversial decision back in the early to mid-90’s to home school us instead of putting us in traditional school. Back then, homeschooling was still a relatively new idea, and if your parents are anything like mine, they endured some scrutiny among friends and extended family members over this decision. Our Mom’s especially sacrificed a ton, as most of them gave up full time jobs and careers to stay home and educated us children! I know I can personally say that in those early years, I gave my Mom a very hard time when it came to doing school each day, especially when it came to math, the subject I hated with a passion! She tried everything from having my cars talk to me while doing math, to finding music to dance around to and recite my math facts in tune, but I still hated it. However, without my parents decision to home school me, I know I would not be the same person I am today. Certainly my faith in Christ wouldn’t’ be a solid, and my confidence in who I am wouldn’t be there. I also wouldn’t be able to say that I have friends of all ages, or have the close relationship I have with my parents, had they not chosen to sacrifice and educate me at home.

So yes, ultimately, this post is a way of me saying a very special “Happy Mother’s Day” to my Mom and all the home school Mom’s out there! Thank you for your dedication to us, for not giving up on us, and for pushing us to do our best, and instilling in us a confidence in who we are, both in our personalities and our identities in Christ!

Also, Mom, thank you for teaching me to read J