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I’m not really sure why homeschooling gets a bad rap. Sure some of us are weird, but many of us are “normal” too (whatever that means). All the statistics say it: we’re better prepared, better socialized and better educated. Sure there are the outliers, the weirdos, the ones who are just strange or smell bad. But honestly, I’ve met more of those people that went to public schools than were ever homeschooled. So let me break down some stereotypes for you; and whether you think homeschooling is weirdest thing ever, you’re just interested, or you’re a proponent of it, I’m sure you’ve heard most of these critiques of homeschool students.

We're Antisocial

“Judith, you’re such a social butterfly! I never would have guessed that you were homeschooled!” This is just one of the comments that is often directed my way when it happens to come up that I was homeschooled K through 12. A lot of people think that when you’re home schooled you sit in your house, stare at the computer all day in your PJ’s and on Friday nights you hang out with your parents. During my homeschooling years I took part in violin lessons, acted at a local theater, played basketball (for a recreation league, homeschoolers weren’t allowed to play for the school district), attended church activities, babysat, participated in 4-H, and went to camp. All the “normal” activities that students take part in outside of school, if not more since my days were a bit more opened to activities. Contrary to popular opinion, forced association by the government isn’t socialization, it’s a violent assembly style system that isn’t really educating and socializing anyone. Kids naturally like to be around other kids, we thrive on activity, indoors and out. While we certainly all have different styles of socializing, we as human beings still want to be around one another and homeschooling is not a hurdle to that but a catalyst. Being homeschooled allowed me to socialize with all types and ages of people; not just those who were my age and in my district. I socialized with these people virtually all day everyday and I’m a better person for it.

We're religious

Yes, I went (and still do go) to church. No I do not believe that Obama is the Antichrist, that gays are evil, or that my mom never wore a denim skirt. I’ve never worn a head covering, and my father never had multiple wives, nor were we ever involved in a cult. I believe in love and some may see that as strange.

We're either geniuses or idiots

Sure, some of my standardized tests scores were in the 90-95th percentile for many subjects, while for others they were below or at 50%. These tests can be used as a guide but they should not be used as the end-all be-all for smarts. There are many areas in which I can grow and learn and there are many areas that I’ve read and understood just about everything. The stereotype ranges from one extreme to the other. We’re not all geniuses, we’re not all stupid, and some of us are in between. Yes homeschooling does allow more breathing room for genius and children to become self-motivated, and independent but that doesn’t mean that all of us are going to grow up and be Nikola Tesla, but maybe with homeschooling that chance might increase.

We're sheltered

The stereotype is that we’ve never heard of Lil Wayne, don’t know what Instagram is, and our moms won’t let us get a Facebook account. The internet has opened up a whole new world for most young people, including homeschoolers and this includes pop culture. We like music and we like movies.We see the same things you do at the movie theater.

The next time you meet a homeschooler express interest, I’m a naturally curious person and I like to ask lots of questions too. But please refrain from asking if we do our school in our PJ’s or have friends. Because some of us do and some of us don’t, but it has nothing to do with our choice in education styles.