07 August, 2010

Homeschooling Stereotypes

I am in the middle of reading the book Angel by Cliff McNish. And then I started to think about the homsechooled character in it, and how it represents stereotypes putting homeschoolers in a bad light.

This girl--Stephanie--breaks every social rule there is. She dresses wrong. She talks wrong. She says the wrong things.

Now, I've noticed that in other books, the same thing in happening. It's always THE HOMESCHOOLER who ends up as weird, strange, or ugly. It's always THE HOMESCHOOLER whose having the problems. It's always THE HOMESCHOOLER who crawls back to people who've insulted them and tries to "fit in". It's always THE HOMESCHOOLER who has the crazy ideas and laughs at the wrong times and is gawky and geeky and awkward around people.

I--of course--believe in being nice, polite, respectful to others and letting opinions fly by. But I also have my pride at being homeschooled, and being taught in a different place with different techniques and with different materials. A lot of characters in books do not seem to have that sense of pride in being homeschooled, since they're always trying to become like the really popular kids--the kids who are stereotyped as being "perfect".

And that makes me mad. Because homeschoolers are JUST as smart, funny, friendly, etc. as EVERYONE WHO GOES TO PUBLIC school is, WITHOUT having to be like everyone else.

Another example of this in books is Alice, I Think. I absolutely despised that book. Alice--the MC--is this really wacky girl who has a weird list of "life goals" and doesn't make friends easily and whose home environment is strange.


I'm not like that at all. Sure, I'm not your average kid. But I'm PROUD about being different--and homeschooled. So maybe homeschoolers are different, but that does NOT mean that all homeschoolers are strange.

They're different in a good way. A REALLY good way. Homeschoolers are proven to be smart, do well with grades, go to college, lead productive lives . . . what's wrong with that? Why do books have to have so many of the geeky types who don't fit in with others? Why persist with this twisted version of what it's actually like to be homeschooled?

(I'm sorry if this was kinda rant-y, but I needed to vent.)

-----The Golden Eagle


olivia said...

I was homeschooled for 4th and 5th grade (living in the Caribbean), then went back to public school and have been there since. And I *definitely* think you're right! My good friend and neighbor, Sammy, has been homeschooled since 2nd grade and is a perfectly normal girl. She does school sports and takes art at our public school (one of the best in the state), so she's not 100% HSed, but still... though I *have* met some very... well, ODD homeschoolers, many more are lovely people.

Sofia said...

Having fun ranting, are ya Eagle? LOL :)
I never really thought about it, but you are totally right. Homeschooling just seems so different, and people who don't know anyone who has been or just never reaserched it thouroghly, or questioned bloggers who are homeschooled or... (okay, now I'm ranting...) think they are total freaks who are to insane to go to regular school. Ahem, but total stereotype! I'm positive that none of the homeschoolers I know through blogger are not insane peoples... If you think about it though, there are stereotypes for every single kind of schooling. From drop-put public schoolers, to insane homeschoolers, to snobby private schoolers! Okay, I'm at public school, and I'm smart, don't cuss, and I'm not planning on dropping out. I have three good friends who all go to private school, and all are really nice, not snobby at all, and tons of home-schooled blogger friends, who are not crazies! Okay, my rant is over... But I, like everyone else, do not appreciate stereotypes!
Its kind of like, stereotypes about boys and girls. Girls are stereotyped to be stupid, annoying brats who only ever think of themselves and makeup, while guys are stereotyped to be high-school drop-outs and smoke on street corners.
If this comes out mean to anyone, its not meant to be, I'm just starting to rant. Which I do often.
Okay, so before I do get someone angry, I'm going to end this comment...


Golden Eagle said...

Olive Tree: You lived in the Caribbean? Cool! LOL, off track from the topic. :P
There are certainly "odd" homeschoolers out there (since there are so many reasons for doing so) but yeah, most are good people. :)

Selena Gomez: I know about the whole girl/boy thing! It's like the different genders have to obsessed with different things . . .
Anyways, I didn't mean I have feelings against people who go to public school, like you, or anything. I'm open to everyone. :) I was just pointing out how many people DO think homeschoolers are weird.

Sofia said...

No offense taken :) And Olive Tree that is SO cool! There are not too many people homeschooled, where I live, at least, not who I know, but my school system has a really good special-ed program. It really bugs me when people call them "Speds" its just so mean. I have a friend who does that and I tell her if she won't stop saying it, at least don't say it around me. Because people say stuff like the "sped table" "sped bus" "sped classes" it makes me so mad. Its just like, you know, just because they aren't like you, you don't have to act like they are bad people, you know? *huffs angrily, then lets out her breath slowly* Okay. I'm going to stop ranting before I explode ;)

Icewolf said...

I have nothing against people being homeschooled. One of my friends is/was (I'm not quiet sure) homeschooled, and he's just awesome! So yeah. I'm stereotyped as the quite shy one who sits with her nose in a book and has a high grade, but really I just do that in classes that I really don't want to interact with (like Independent Living, and I think I'm going to do a post on that), and I struggle for the grades I get.

Also, my friends class me as the random werewolf. *laughs* I'm often the center of wolf related jokes.

So I know how you feel being labeled.

Golden Eagle said...

Selena: I've never been the target of Sped jokes . . . but I can see how that would be really, really stereotyped--and mean.

Icewolf: Labeling's just as bad! It's the same thing, only in a slightly different form.

Brooke said...

I'm homeschooled, too! And I've never been to school... yes, I've been stereotyped about that a lot. "She doesn't want to go to school because she's never been there."-"You've never been to school? That's all."-"Do you know 2 plus 2?"-"Let's see if you know how to spell scissors-well, can you?"
AHG! Yes, all of those things have been asked to me. And also, the famous "Why don't you go to school?" has been asked. And ever time I go to a store during "school time" the person asks "Why aren't you in school? Do you like homeschooling? Are you sure you're not supposed to be doing a test or something?" and it drives me nuts!
Also, on a lot of reality T.V shows they make us look like nut-jobs. But oh well, what can you do? I wish people could just understand that I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING and not ask a billion questions about it.
The same thing happens when I tell people these three words: I'm a vegetarian. Not all people-many people are respectful-sadly many aren't.

~*Brooke*~ (AKA the homeschooled vegetarian-LOL!)

★ Sylvine Srevlis ★ said...

Well said! You should read the Veritas Project, they make the homeschoolers the HEROES in those books. :)


Brooke said...

Really? I'll have to check that out Silverstar!

Have you checked your email yet? I haven't heard from you in a while. :-D


Brooke said...

Silverstar, I hope you check your email soon. I think the one I sent you just now is more important than the others I've sent.


Shelley said...

That's weird, I think some of these authors need to meet people like you and get their story straight! :)

Blueicegal ♥ said...

I think its silly that home schooled children are stereotyped, i have mate who is and she is the brightest girl on the block, people just like to assume, and that's all they are doing assuming and stereotyping, i completely agree with you :)

Caroline said...

The questions targeted most freuquently at homeschoolers:

"Do you have friends?"

"What's it like not going to school?"

"Do you get socialized enough?"

and lastly,

"I would DIE if I couldn't see my friends every day!"

LOL, I would probably die if I DID see my friends every day. I hate those questions and I hate it when I tell people I'm homeschooled and they're like, "Oh, I don't think I could stand that! I have to my social outlets!" When people don't know anything about the subject they're putting down, it drives me NUTS...well said, Eagle. You conveyed it perfectly.:)

Adria said...

I agree...though many homeschoolers are "weird" or "Odd", there are still a lot that are "Normal", and you just wouldn't know it!

In fact, just last month I was hanging out with a boy on my swim team and he asked about school and I told him I was homeschooled.
He said: "Really? I had no idea!"
I said "Yeah, I get that a lot..."
Then he said:"I don't like many homeschoolers; they don't know anything about the real world"
I said, "You haven't met very many have you?"

I didn't get mad about that...I mean really all you have to blame is TV, movies, and Books for making us seem like dorks who have no friends.

There's a girl on my swim team that's homeschooled and you would never know it. She wears way too much eyeliner, she's always flirting with guys, and she talks to everyone!

I'm glad you posted about this! :)

Golden Eagle said...

Brooke: I think being vegetarian is cool! I've known kids who were vegetarians and they were nice. :) I hate it when people think homeschoolers are dumb or something; we're NOT. HSers are as smart as everyone else!

Silverstar: I've never heard of the Veritas Project--I should check it out!

Shelley: Yeah, authors should meet homeschoolers! But I guess they don't much, since tours and things like that seem to focus on schools--and obviously, we HSers don't go to public school.

Blueicegal: Assuming is exactly the word! People tend to assume and assume and assume but they don't really LOOK.

Caroline: Me too. All that talking and calling and socializing might get on my nerves . . . :P

Adria: True! It is mostly the media and whatnot that puts homeschoolers in a bad light. A lot--most, in fact--are just like the kids who go to school, only they're in a different environment for most of the day.