The Article below is from the recent issue of The Messenger, NYS LEAH’s quarterly magazine. We’ve gotten terrific feedback from our readers in response to this article so we wanted to share it online as well!
CONVERSATION IN MY MIND WITH THE NEXT PERSON WHO ASKS THE “HOMESCHOOLER MISSING OUT” QUESTION:
So, you wonder if I missed out?
Yeah, I missed out. It was terrible.
I missed out on extreme peer pressure, on cussing and bathroom talk. I did not have the opportunity to get high and lose my innocence at a wild party with my classmates. I never got to try my hand at that incomprehensible geometry in a big classroom with noisy students and a grouchy math teacher. I never had the chance to get teased about my skinny arms, or my hideous bangs, or in later years, the tooth that got pushed out by its neighbor. I never dealt with being picked apart during my insecure teenage season, and never experienced the delightful sensation of sobbing my sensitive, anxious heart out in the girl’s room after being excluded from my lunch table. To this day, I have never been bullied.
Yes, I missed out. I missed out on a one-size-fits-all system of education that would have taught me nothing but that I was a hopeless misfit. I missed out on long school bus rides and longer nights of homework. I missed out on worrying whether some idiot would sneak into my classroom with a gun. I missed out on friends who would talk behind my back as soon as it was turned and on trying to keep up with the latest social media trends. I missed out on being just another student. I missed out on the constant hustle and bustle that would have drowned my thoughts and suffocated my creativity. I missed out on being spoon-fed evolution and left-wing philosophies that would certainly have colored my young thinking. I missed out on having my faith attacked before it was strong enough to withstand the devil’s darts.
Do you think that I was not well prepared for the world? That I was sheltered? It is because I was sheltered that I am strong. I am well prepared for the world. I have a solid foundation under me, laid in the years of my childhood, under the patient tutelage of my own two parents. I have wings that grew from the books I read and the freedom I had to explore my own imagination. I was allowed to be a child, simply a child. Within the sanctuary of my parents, I have been trained for battle since the day of my birth, crafted both from their love for me and their reverence for God.
You worry because I never had the chance to “fit in.” Why, may I ask you, are we raising kids to fit in, when they should be raised to stand out? The world needs those people, homeschooled or otherwise, who are not afraid to think for themselves, to stand when others sit, and to speak when others are silent. Our parents taught us that when we were still very young.
Dear person, I’m glad you are concerned about me, but you should not be. I was the kid in the yard playing capture the flag with my homeschool buddies when the big yellow bus went by at three. I was the kid on the swing at the playground while the other kids were at desks in the classroom. I was the kid drawing Crayola pictures to illustrate the poems she wrote, the kid gluing bark to the model Iroquois longhouse during a history lesson, the kid with the cowgirl boots and the prairie girl bonnet, acting out the story as her mother read.
So, do not feel sorry for me. My school years were about as good as school years can get. Instead, feel sorry for all the little girls and boys who missed out on what I had.
~Please note that I am not condemning parents who choose not to homeschool, and I am not saying that homeschooling is the one and only way to raise a child. I am simply putting forth on paper my internal response to what has often frustrated me upon my entry into the wider world – the misunderstanding many people have of what the homeschooling life is like. #GoHomeschoolers!
Bio – Emma Hall is a homeschool graduate attending Hudson Valley Community College. She’s your typical epic, offbeat twenty-year-old with a knack for languages, art and writing. Emma also has a reputation as a semi-fanatical Mets fan. You can reach her at email@example.com. She’d love to hear from you!