They are about the one group that so-called elites have no problem piling negative stereotypes upon. Thus, it usually comes as a shock to the system of folks who think that having a BA and watching CNN makes them well-informed to learn that homeschoolers don’t fit the stereotypes that they have come to regard as fact.
For example, this growing legion of beneficiaries of the ultimate in private education includes girl-next-Suite Brenda Song. Song may play an airhead on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody but is surely not one between takes.
Even on camera, a true space cadet could not deliver lines with the comic precision that we usually only associate with veteran comics such as Bob Newhart or Andy Griffith. Nor could such a space cowgirl, a`la Song, stay in character with the iron discipline of such legendary comic actors as Groucho Marx and the Great One himself—Jackie Gleason.
Because misconceptions abound about home schooling and those who are, homeschoolers have circulated a “wish list” on the internet. If you homeschool, you may want to see if you can identify.
If not, you should look to see if you are guilty of any of the following:
1. Please stop asking us if it’s legal. If it is, and it is, it’s insulting to imply that we’re criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
2. Learn what the words “socialize” and “socialization” mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you’re talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we’ve got a decent grasp of both concepts.
3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
4. Don’t assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a “reality” show, the above goes double.
6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
7. We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
9. Stop assuming that if we’re religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.
10. We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn’t have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don’t need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can’t teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there’s a reason I’m so reluctant to send my child to school.
You can read the complete list here.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.