I was reading through all my homeschooling posts the other day and I realised I’d started three in very similar ways:
When I tell people we’re homeschooling, they say ‘What about…’
What about maths?
What about friends?
What about the stuff you don’t know?
And it made me think about our preconceived ideas about home education. In response to another post, someone on Twitter (sorry, can’t remember who it was) said that until I started homeschooling Harry, they’d assumed that the main reason for home educating a child was because s/he had been bullied at school. They’d never thought of it as a positive decision, only a response to an untenable situation.
I never thought that, but I did always think of home educating families as different. You know… a bit hippy, anti-establishment, knit-your-own-granola type people. As my friend Susan has pointed out to me, between homeschooling, Joe at outdoor preschool, and our camper van holiday, I’m well on the road to being that kind of person myself. And I’m absolutely fine with it. (Also, I had granola for breakfast this morning. But it wasn’t knitted.)
I also had an idea of home educated children as being a bit… off. Eccentric. Different. One day we rushed out to get something from the supermarket and Harry grabbed his old school shoes instead of his trainers. As we got out of the car, I looked at him – he was wearing a his favourite t-shirt (a threadbare Kermit number), a stripy cardigan, tracksuit bottoms and school shoes. And I thought “He already looks like a homeschooled kid.” And I’m fine with that too. I love this Meg Rosoff post: Be the Weird Kid. And while I was too self-conscious, too desperate to be a cool kid when I was at school (I mostly blame the Sweet Dreams books for this), my friends were the weird kids. The ones who didn’t care what they wore. Who pretended to be American and called each other Goose, Maverick, Iceman. Who helped me translate the Postman Pat theme tune into French (“Facteur Pat, Facteur Pat, Facteur Pat et son chat noir et blanc”). Who didn’t laugh at me when I cried over the Bucks Fizz coach crash. (Shut up. Mike almost died.)
But the thing is, just like all children are different and all families are different, all home educating families are different. Of course they are. I can’t quite believe I ever thought otherwise. How about you?