As soon as you mention "home school" to some people you get the "look." You know the ok-what's-wrong-with-you???" look. People get really weirded out by the fact that you were a home schooler. Or the get really condescending. Or they just pity you for missing out on all the wonderful experiences of public school.... Yeah, I totally missed out when those bullies were pushing kids around the playground every recess :P. I feel so deprived!!!! My childhood was incomplete, because I never had my lunch money stolen!!!!
OK. I'll try to rein in my sarcasm. LOL. I know public school isn't all about bullies. It's about recess too!
Disclaimer: At this point I just want to say that I'm not a public school hater. If you go to public school, I won't do you the disservice of stereotyping you, because I know how that feels. Not every kid that goes to public school turns out bad (I know some home schoolers actually think that). While I would never, ever in a million years send my kids to a public school, I believe that every parent should have the choice of how their child is educated. That choice is only the parent's choice and no one else's. But if you ask me, I'm going to say home schooling is the best option for education. Just my opinion :).
Now that I've taken care of that... There's a lot of stereotypes surrounding home schoolers. I remember my friends asking me if I got to do school in my pyjamas all day. That's right, I just said friends. I actually had some despite that fact that it is well known home schoolers are terribly socially deprived. I guess I didn't fit that stereotype. Sorry if that disappoints anyone. Oh, and I NEVER once got to stay in my PJ's to do school :P.
There's the idea that home schoolers don't get a real education, that they don't have the same opportunities for sports and extra-cirriculars that public school kids have, and that they never learn proper social skills. There's a mentality that if you home school your kids you are setting them up for social failure, and that they will never learn how to function in the "real world." Question: who decides what the "real world" is anyways?? I never was quite sure what that meant?
I spent four years in public school: kindergarten to grade 3. I didn't much enjoy public school. I found it boring. I got teased. I never got sent to the principles office. I got straight A's. I had friends. My Mom wouldn't allow me to go on the field trip to watch a stage production of Grease. The boys tried to kiss me EVERY recess. I told the teacher, but she didn't do anything. I told my Mom and she told me to tell them she would spank them with her wooden spoon if they kept chasing me. I tried telling them that, but they just laughed and kept chasing me. I liked winter, because I could pull my toque over my face and then they couldn't kiss me. Once, a kid in the grade above me dared me to stick my tongue to a metal pole in the play ground in the winter. I tried it, but only just put the very tip of my tongue on the pole and then took it right off. I ripped a few of my taste buds off, but it wasn't too terrible. My friend wasn't so lucky. I remember watching the teacher pour warm water on her tongue for what seemed like hours before it came off!
Home school on the other hand was much different. I never got teased. I still got straight A's. I had friends. I didn't have to worry about feeling left out, because I wasn't allowed to go on the field trip. No boys every tried to chase me and kiss me! What a relief! Besides that, my school work actually challenged me rather than boring me. Of course, there was still some stuff that was boring. There was a lot of stuff I didn't like to do too. Math got hard. Sitting at my desk all day wasn't that much fun at times. Home schooling wasn't all perfect, but it was a much better alternative! I usually finished my work by lunch time. I got long recesses in the afternoon. I never had homework after supper. I got days off to go to piano lessons. We went on field trips. I even finished high school in three years and graduated at 17. That was awesome!
I'd like to think of myself, along with my brother and sister, as living proof that home schooling can be successful. All three of us went on to get post secondary education. My brother is a heavy equipment mechanic. My sister is a stay-at-home Mom. I own and operate my own business that employs myself and 7 other people. We all home schooled. We are able to function in society. We actually have pretty good social skills. We know how to talk to people! We've all made it in the "real world." I graduated from home school thirteen years ago, and I've never been without a job. I have a house, a car, and a business. Imagine that! And so many people believe home schoolers will never make it in the "real world." Here's another thing. I don't feel like I've missed out on anything by home schooling. I've had so many amazing life experiences that I never would have had if I had been in school. I've gotten to go places and do things and learn things just as much, if not more than, a kid in public school. I went to Europe when I was 16. I was able to work part time jobs when I was a teenager, because I could be flexible with when I did my school work. I had much more time to practice piano and get my Grade 8 RCM certificate.
So, if you're a home schooler ignore the stereotypes. There's nothing wrong with you just because you do school at your kitchen table instead of in a classroom with 25 other people. If you're a home school parent, you might be getting a lot of criticism for your decision. Ignore it. You are making a good choice. Your child will not suffer at all! They won't miss out. You will be able to create opportunities for them that they never would have had in public school.