The word “homeschooler” can come with some assumptions. Socially awkward. Sheltered from real life. Just generally odd. Some of this was true 50 years ago when homeschooling first started to catch on. But that was 50 years ago. Most people definitely wouldn’t say kids today are the same as they were in the 1970s. So why is it a common assumption that homeschoolers are the same as they have always been? What are homeschoolers like now?
Many people assume homeschoolers still miss out on all the social benefits traditionally schooled students receive. With all the opportunities for home-educators offered now, this is simply not true. Most take classes at a co-op, a group of homeschoolers that meet once a week and take classes on a wide variety of subjects. It’s a great place to practice skills such as note taking, navigating classes, and turning in homework on time. Though not all homeschoolers are religious, many find a steady group of friends at their church. Homeschool sports teams, conventions and even proms are common in the homeschooling world too.
Homeschoolers do get to miss out on the bullying and peer pressure that, sadly, many kids in traditional schools have to deal with. A small amount of teasing can be a healthy thing, but missing out on this isn’t a problem since most have siblings and good friends.
Homeschooling has some perks, too. Learning to manage a home, having time to get out in the real world and learn skills, and figuring out how to make your own fun are a few of the practical benefits. But a homeschooler’s life isn’t all work. Not having to schedule your life around school means trips to the zoo, spontaneous days at the park, get-togethers with friends and road trips in the middle of the school year.
So what are homeschoolers like now? Much different than we used to be. There’s so many more opportunities, perks and even more homeschoolers now. We don’t all homeschool for the same reasons, and we definitely don’t all homeschool in the same way. I hope the future is one where being homeschooled isn’t a stereotype, just a way of being educated.
Charis Brown is a proud Oklahoman and a freshman in high school who loves hanging out with her sisters, attending church, and making or listening to music.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Viewpoint: Homeschooling is just a way of being educated