Why Are Homeschoolers So Weird and Unsocialized?

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You’d be surprised at how many people find my blog by searching that question or some variation thereof. So, I thought I would try to answer it. I will preface this post by saying that it is not my intention to come across as confrontational or belligerent. I hate confrontation and debate. This post is simply to give those unfamiliar with homeschooling some food for thought.

First, let’s determine what is meant by “weird” and “unsocialized.” According to Miriam-Webster, weird means of strange or extraordinary character.

(It also means of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural. I never knew that…and I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the definition to which anyone, even someone opposed to homeschooling, is referring when they talk about “weird homeschoolers,” so we’ll ignore that one. And, I have to admit, the “extraordinary character was a bit of a surprise, too…but I like the sound of that.)

Unsocialized is not in the dictionary, but socialized is and since we know that “un” means not, we can infer the meaning by defining socializedto make social; to fit or train for a social or to organize group participation in.

I’ll throw one final definition in here, for clarity’s sake. Social means marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one’s friends or associates; of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society; tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others of one’s kind.

Okay, so, let’s assume that your basic definition of a weird, unsocialized homeschooler is a strange kid who has not been trained for interacting with other individuals or a group.

Let me ask you this: how many homeschoolers have you observed on which to base your opinion? One? Two? Fifty?

And, one more question: If you went to public school, which most of us did, how many kids did you know who were “strange” or who didn’t really interact well with groups or individuals? I bet there were at least a couple. I know there were in my school. So let me offer this idea for thought: What if the homeschoolers that you have met, upon which you’ve formed your opinion of all homeschoolers, were just kids who, for whatever reason, would be considered “strange” period. Is it at least possible that their behavior would seem strange regardless of how or where they were being educated?

I’ve met lots of homeschoolers in my seven years of home educating my kids. I’ve met kids who are quiet and shy and kids who are talkative and outgoing. I’ve met kids who dress plain and kids who dress in the latest fashions. I’ve meet kids who are trendy and have all the latest gadgets and are into the latest crazes and kids who could care less about those things. I’ve met kids who would be popular in most any setting and kids who would probably be considered weird. And, meeting all of these kids has taught me one thing: kids are who they are mostly because that is the kid’s general make-up, not because of how or where they are educated.

The “real world” that my kids are often thought to be missing isn’t the real world at all. The things that go on in public schools each day are often things that would get a person fired or thrown into jail in the real world. At home (or at church, or on the playground), I can teach my kids to handle conflict (because when you have siblings, you have conflict) in ways that will serve them well as they grow to adulthood.

If you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on the socialization “problem” of homeschooling, you can do so here. For now, I’ll just suffice it to say that I think most of what the general public assumes about homeschooling is based on lack of knowledge and misconception. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooled kids, although not in a classroom all day every day are not isolated. People who aren’t familiar with homeschooling seem to have a difficult time comprehending that fact.

Let me, instead, offer you this definition of a “weird, unsocialized homeschooler” — a kid of extraordinary character who is being trained to to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others; the training is simply being guided, more often than not, by loving adults, rather than immature, often fickle or even cruel, peers.

It might also describe a kid who passes pleasant companionship with his friends. My kids have plenty of those — close friends with whom they talk on the phone, email and enjoy regular play dates. The fact that my kids don’t see their friends every day, five days a week, and have a chance to chat with them for five minutes at lunch, in the midst of gulping down their food, or ten minutes at recess does not diminish the value and depth of the relationship.

I have to confess that, having homeschooled for over six years and having met many, many homeschooled kids, I really don’t understand why people think these kids are weird or unsocialized. That’s why we proudly wear our “unsocialized homeschooler” t-shirts, because it’s so funny to us that people actually see these bright, friendly, respectful (most of the time!) kids this way. The kids I’ve met have, by and large, been anything but society’s version of weird or unsocialized.

I’m proud to be mom to three weird, unsocialized homeschoolers — kids of extraordinary character who frequently enjoy the company of their friends. I’m proud to be raising Christian kids of honor, faith and integrity who will hold to the values and morals of our family as they grow into adulthood. I’m proud to be raising kids who aren’t inherently different than their public schooled counterparts simply because of our educational choices.

And, for the record, I don’t believe that everyone should homeschool, nor do I believe that parents whose kids attend public school or private school are making wrong choices for their families. I believe that how parents educate their children is simply one of a multitude of parenting choices that are made with the best interests of the family and the child at heart.

I hope that the next time you meet a homeschooled kid, you’ll take a minute or two to talk to him or her. I think you’ll see that there may be more to this kid than you may have initially thought.

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.
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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I love this. Now that my family and friends are all aware that we will be homeschooling I am getting the, “The one homeschooled kid I knew was weird.” Uggg, it is hard to be patient with these statements. My post today is about this very thing. I decided to write it when a few days ago I heard the statement I mentioned above for about the 5th time. The statement usually comes from people who knew ONE person who was homeschooled. I hope you don’t mind if I link to your post.

  2. The other part of the stereotype may come from the fact that many hs’d kids I know are the ones who didn’t fit the mold when they were in school – it’s a big part of the reason they were brought home in the first place. It’s entirely possible that there are more “extraordinary” kids who are hs’d – allowed to shine in a more supportive environment, where their quirks aren’t an issue. We’ll keep our “weird, unsocialized” homeschoolers!

  3. Great post!

    Probably one of the kindest things anyone ever said to me was when a guy at our church, after having been around my family for close to a year, said, “I used to think hs’d families were weird. In fact, I thought hs’ing was wrong. But your family changed my mind.”

    As your kids grow and as you stick with it, people will see the great results in your family, and the tongues will cease to wag!

  4. Oh if I only had a dime for every question, comment and why? I’ve had to explain in my 4 years of homeschooling, I’d never again worry about the “pay” from being a stay at home Mom 😉 I appreciate your insight and just so wish others would see the value in our children without making instant judgements…

    Thanks for commenting on my “yearbook” post on THC Blog…I hope you’ll find that it really is an easy way to keep things up!!

  5. This is such a true article! Loved it! I have also homeschooled for six years now. I have also met a variety of kids. We are all unique. I think people feel homeschoolers are unsocialized because they think we’re recluses, but we’re not!

    Have a great day!

  6. LOL You’re absolutely right! Sadly, I knew that, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been working on memorizing a Stevenson poem with the kids for a few weeks (The Land of Nod) — “Louis Stevenson” just automatically comes after Robert in your mind.

    I’ve had this posted for months and you’re the first person who’s caught it…or maybe everybody else was just chalking the mistake up to us being one of those weird, uneducated homeschooling families. 😉

    Thanks for pointing out the mistake. I have it fixed.

  7. I'm not upset now, nor was I at the time I wrote my response. I don't consider anything I said any more rude, disrespectful or presumptuous than telling a total stranger all the problems you see with their life choices. When you comment on a homeschooling blog and, in your first sentence, say that you "extremely disagree with this blog," do you not expect to get an equally passionate answer? Passion does not equal anger, nor does offering a completely opposite belief equal bickering.

    You're right. What feels good is not always right. I can guarantee you that I do not wake up every day with a warm, fuzzy feeling about homeschooling, but I know that it is the right choice for our family. How many children do you have? Do you "feel good" about every choice that you make for them? Do you never second guess yourself? I bet the answer to both of those questions is no, but would you be lukewarm in your response to a complete stranger who implied that you were doing them a disservice in the choices you've made as you raise them?

    I am currently enjoying a quite tasty glass of sweet tea. My blood pressure is low as it was when I responded initially.

    If you'd like to dialogue, rather than give me your strong opinion and cry foul when I respond in kind, I'd be happy to do so.

    Do you really see the public school system as the means to insuring happy, well-educated, well-adjusted members of society, rather than the broken institution that I see? In what way do you feel that public education teaches kids "how" the world works? There have been volumes of books written about how broken our educational system is. Surely you don't feel that the microcosm of society in the public school system is an accurate indicator of life in the "real world." I remember many of my fellow public school classmates finding a very rude awakening for themselves after graduation. They were no more prepared for life in the real world than their homeschooled or private schooled counterparts.

    I can tell you that our initial decision to homeschool had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting or sheltering our children and everything to do with providing a quality education after finding the public schools lacking.

    I know many relatives, friends, acquaintances, and former public school teachers who homeschool, have graduated homeschoolers, or who were, themselves, homeschooled and I have seen very little that makes me believe that homeschooling is not just as valid an educational and social option as public or private school. And, with all due respect, the voice of one total stranger is not going to convince me otherwise, just as, I'm sure, I'm not going to convince you.

    The truth is, however, it is neither my job to convince you, nor your job to convince me. It is our jobs to do what is best for our families under the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. I will answer, someday, for my actions and choices to God, not man, as will you.

  8. Hello. I was reading your blog for the first time this morning, and i find it very well-written and informative. As a parent who has never homeschooled, I have a question completely unrelated to socialization, but rather to academics. What happens if your child wants to go into a more challenging career, such as law or physics? There's no way one parent can teach everything about the entire high school curriculum. Do you think this reduces your child's options for higher education and certain specialized careers? Or is there a way around this I'm not thinking of?

  9. Anonymous,

    Thanks for commenting. My first thought is, why can't a parent teach the entire high school curriculum? Many schools make available, online, their course descriptions, so I think well-educated parents *could* use that information to design a college prep level high school curriculum in their homeschool.

    However, I'm guessing you're thinking of those classes that strike fear into the hearts of most of us (lol), such as upper level science and math classes (physics, trigonometry, calculus).

    There are curricula available for teaching those courses at home and many parents chose to do so. However, for those who feel unprepared to do so, or simply prefer a different route, there are many other options such as:

    *Homeschool Classes – in our area, there is a homeschool "school" where kids can go to take the more challenging subjects or subjects that require a specific skill or a group, such as drama or art. This is not a co-op, but an option in which parents pay for their kids to take these classes in a classroom setting.

    * Homeschool Co-op – Similiar to above, but usually taught by parents. In a co-op, parents usually teach classes based on their particular skill-sets.

    * Tutoring.

    * Dual-enrollment. Most colleges offer a dual-enrollment option whereby high school (whether public, private or homeschool) students can take classes for college credits. Many students take advantage of this option, completing classes needed for high school graduation, while simultaneously earning college credit.

    So, you can see, there are many options for homeschooled students. There is no reason why any homeschooled student can not graduate prepared to enter college and pursue any major that they should choose.

  10. I am a new homeschooling mom and I also work part-time. My husband and I juggle schedules and it is very very hard. I am already thinking this is not meant for our family. Everything in me thought I wanted to home-school and I was buying things three years in advance but with little ones and a baby I do not feel like any of my kids can really get their needs met. It is really showing in their behaviors, REALLY. And to top it off……I do counseling and I have to tell you. I have a large portion of student cases where they are struggling with depression and anxiety, relationship issues, etc and several of them were home-schooled. I am not trying to be critical of ANYONE. I am just as concerned. Like I said, we are currently home-schooling. But we women are smart and intuitive and maybe it is time we really look at how 18-23 year olds are adjusting to college life. Now, I do have lots of students who come from public school, yes that is true. But to have such a high number of home-schooled kids in my part-time job absolutely freaks me out. It is hard to believe that they all just happen to have a "negative" experience. Can anyone else give me some feedback??? My other question has always been that if it is a God-ordained task or commandment to educate our children, what would our world look like? We would be a huge mess. Think of all of the families who are just crappy parents. Come on, you all know who I am talking about? I mean it would be really unfair to some kids, especially in abusive home environments. So please please help me with some foundation of truth here b/c I am very very tempted to enroll my child in public school in Jan 2010.

  11. @ Allgirls,

    I've gotta tell you, I sometimes feel physically tired of debating this issue. I'm not saying that to be hateful or confrontational, because the truth is, I hate confrontation. I don't like debate. That's probably why I get so tired of defending homeschooling.

    The truth of the matter is: there is no commandment that says we have to home educate our children. There is no #11: Thou shalt home educate your children.

    I don't believe that homeschooling is right for every family or even every child. I have never said that. We are doing what is right for our family — or, at least, what we strongly feel is right. Might our kids wind up in therapy some day? Sure. Might that happen regardless of their educational background? Yep.

    So, as far as I'm concerned, it all boils down to doing what you feel is right for your family — what God has called your family to do, not mine, or your cousin's, or your neighbor down the street.

    It's a fallen world. Period. That's why there are crappy parents. That's why there are abusive home situations. That's why people wind up in therapy.

    I have interviewed several homeschool graduates for my blog. I've been interested to see that all their reflections on homeschooling aren't roses and puppies. All but one of them have easily given me a laundry list of things they wish their parents had done differently…but *all* of them have said they do or will homeschool their own children.

    I wonder if you noticing all the homeschooled kids is like a pregnant woman noticing all the other pregnant women. They were always there, but now that you're in that situation, you're more aware of them and it seems like they're everywhere.

    Maybe that's not it at all, but I do know that it boils down to you have to do what you feel is right — and what you feel God has led you to do — for your family, for the kids He's entrusted to you. And that may not look like what He's called the person next to you. For your family, that may mean your kids go to public school. Only you and your husband can make that decision.

    I've expressed what works for my family and what has been my experience with the kids I know. Do I know families who I feel don't have any business homeschooling? Yes, I do. Do I know parents who don't have any business having kids? Unfortunately, yes. Some days I wonder if I'm one of them. 😉 Most days, though, I know that I'm doing what is best for my kids to the best of my ability. That's the best I can do.

    I only know of two foundational truths: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.

    If you follow those two truths, you'll always be doing exactly what God expects of you, no matter how your kids are educated.

  12. I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading your blog and your responses. To be honest I am not sure I would have dealt with them with much grace.

  13. Thank you, Paulette. What a refreshing comment. I love hearing about homeschoolers who have gone on to lead very successful lives, both socially and academically. Thankfully, as more and more kids are homeschooled straight through high school, those stories abound.

    I believe you hit the nail on the head when you said that, once homeschooled kids begin driving and working, they "catch up" and adapt. I was observing my younger two the other day and the word that came to mind was "innocence." Homeschooling has allowed them to maintain their innocence a bit longer than some of their public schooled peers.

    And, I don't think that 's a bad thing.

    My older daughter, on the other hand, is almost 15 and she is starting to see and experience things that she had previously been sheltered from — and it's not blowing her completely out of the water. We're talking, guiding and discipling, and she's adapting just fine.

    I appreciate your comment. It was very encouraging and insightful.

  14. Kris I love your blog! We start homeschooling in August and I am very excited! I completely agree with your comments above. People can have bad experiences with public, private, home school or whatever way they choose to educate. People are so analytical of homeschooling but excuse everything that happens in the public school system as the "real world"… Honestly if the alternative to public school socialization is for my kids to be nerdy homebodies… BRING ON THE NERDS!!

  15. I love your thoughts, Caitlin! You're exactly right — if it happens in PS, there are a million excuses. If it involves a homeschool kid, there's only on excuse: homeschooling.

    Good luck in your first year! It's a really exciting time.

  16. I need to link up this post on my blog b/c it's one of my biggest pet peeves about the way people look at homeschooling. My brother is one of them! When he found out we intended to homeschool our kids he said to my mom "But mom, homeschooled kids are so weird!" And my mom said to him "Chris, were you homeschooled?" and he looked at her like she had lost her mind b/c we all went to public school and he said "no!" and I loved her response (it was so classic!) she said "Well, there's probably plenty of people out there who think you're weird!" (I LOVE my mom!!!)

    But in all honesty I think alot of times you have to look at the parents more than anything else. If the parents are weird and kind of backwards, the kids are going to be weird and kind of backwards, whether they go to public, private or homeschool.

    And then the issue is, are they really weird, or is it b/c our perception of what life should look like in this country is all tied to going to school for 12 years and then going to college, leaving home to start your own completely separate family, and you leave everything else behind (except for holidays!!) That's not how the rest of the world does it and their divorce rates are lower and their levels of happiness are WAY higher than ours! We share a home with my mom so people probably already think we're weird, so we might as well go all the way and homeschool too 🙂

    Anyways! I loved this post and thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  17. My issue with Homeschool families is not so much the kids, it's the parents. We know a large number of them in our area. There are several in our Scout Troop.

    Being "different" from the average Joe is one thing, and then there is the general definition of "weird". My kids will tell you that the Homeschool kids are "weird", but me personally, I don't necessarily think the kids are any weirder than some of the Public School kids. There are going to be "weird" kids no matter what school you attend. Some are, some aren't.

    However the one thing I find most common in just about every homeschool family I have ever met is that the parents are arrogant and send a major message to everyone they come in contact with that they are much "better people" than non-homeschool parents. The arrogance from them is so obvious they are almost impossible to work with. They have such a superiority complex that they are "always right", because they "must be" so much smarter than the rest of us. No one else wants to work on any committee's with them. Oh sure, they want to "help" and be involved, as long as their decisions are the only ones we follow. The superiority thing often (not always) funnels into their kids, thus other kids don't like being around them. One homeschool family had to send their child to Public school after 3 years of homeschooling for an unforseen circumstance, and the child was placed in remedial just about everything. Sure, she could tell you every sea creature known to man, knew basics of a foreign language, how to identify many trees, and carry on a good conversation with an adult. However, this girl that her mother said was a "genius" and "didn't belong in a public school" discovered she couldn't do math and had writing skills were comparable to a 1st grader by the state standards. Some of these blogs on this web page sound just like the families I know, stating how "extradorinary" homeschool kids are. See the arrogance already?

    To me, the kid can't get "weird" without the parent's help. Defending something you believe in is something we all have every right to do. But to put those of us who don't do it down, and wear your arrogance on your sleeves makes homeschool families just like those who pick on you.

  18. Yikes – you have had some very negative comments on your blog. Sorry you are having to deal with those! We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling. I appreciate your blog and your words of wisdom from an experienced homeschooling mother to a novice, like myself. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!


  19. @ Chewinggum

    It seems that you have a beef with a particular person or two, who happen to be homeschooling parents. Perhaps you should go talk to them, instead of venting on random home education blogs?

    As far as 'arrogance' goes – we (parents) were talking about this just yesterday at our (home ed) swimming class. Someone commented about the 'politics' currently going down at a local alternative school, which caused someone else to laughingly suggest that Steiner parents were obviously just as opinionated about their kids as we were 😀

    I respectfully suggest that home ed parents, when they come across as belligerent and annoying (and I'm not implying that we all do – just that sometimes I'm sure we may), are that way because we are sick unto death of people ignorantly disagreeing with every decision we have made about our kids and feeling the need to 'set us straight'. We can feel defensive and combative about an interaction before we even start.

    Having said that, I know nothing about your local situation, chewinggum. You may indeed have been lumped with some really annoying people in your Scout Troup. I'd prefer not to be tarred with the same brush, however. Thankyou.

  20. Just found your blog through a friend and I love it – subscribing now! This post is so great – thanks for being awesome! 🙂

  21. re: Kris @ WUHS and Eclipsed said…
    It's been my experience that arrogant people occur on both sides of the fence.

    Yes, Kris, but you missed the point. Sure there is arrogance everywhere you want to find it, but in my experience every single homeschool family I have ever dealt with ooze the fact that they think they and their kids are better and smarter than the rest of us. Every one.

    And the homeschool family that had to send their child to public school and she is now in remedial classes, they don't blame homeschooling, they insist that the public school is too stupid to teach their "genius" child. ………right.

    This is my point. It's the "were better than the rest" attitude that the homeschool parents feed into their kids that make other kids see the homeschool kids as "weird". In my experience, this is true as it gets.

    If you wish to homeschool your kids, I think that is totally your right and have no problem with it. I'm just saying that if you are defending your decision to do so, whether it be to relatives, or strangers, someone you know socially, watch what you say especially in front of your kids.
    You're little genius' are repeating everything you say on the playground whether you think they are or not. And it doesn't paint a good picture about homeschoolers.

  22. @ chewinggum — The fact is, my kids aren't super geniuses and they're well aware of this fact. They know their areas of struggle as well as I do. In fact, I've posted about their areas of struggle many times on my blog. I have never said my kids are super smart, but I'm sure not going to start telling them they're stupid so that they'll be sure to be humble enough when they run into public school kids and their parents on the playground.

    I think you may have missed the point shared by home handymum — if homeschool kids or their parents come off as belligerent or annoying, it's probably because we are so used to being on the defensive and debating our parent choices to the majority of people who don't homeschool. Perhaps you ought to take a closer look and get to know some of these parents as parents rather than judging them by a handful of encounters, some preconceived notions, or a couple of blog posts because, honestly, the majority of us are not judging you based on where your kids are educated.

  23. Homeschooled kids aren't weird; or not any weirder than anyone else. I do think that one thing that hinders the relationships they form with non-homeschooling children and their families, is that often the homeschooled child is told by his parents that his education is superior. That comparison can lead the homeschooled child to form opinions of schooled kids that are less than flattering. So what comes across when they meet is those less than flattering opinions they've formed of schooling and people who choose it. They can leave different people with different impressions because of their own comfort or lack of. The problem isn't telling a child their education is better. It's telling them it would be better for others. I tell my children their education is better for them. I don't tell them other children aren't receiving as good of education as they are, because for them, it might be as good. We are individuals and unless we teach our children that they cannot judge other's choice, we'll continue to see one another as weird or arrogant and frankly, we will be to one another.

  24. I realize this is an old post, but I stumbled across it today and felt the need to comment. I could not believe some of the rude comments made by others! I myself was not homeschooled, neither was my husband, but we intend to homeschool our children. (I will be staying at home doing most of the schooling, while he works, but he will be a part of it as well.) We both graduated from college with our bachelors degrees, mine in elementary education and his in math and mechanical engineering. My husband is also currently attending school to be a preacher. I am not giving this information to say that we are more qualified than someone w/out a college education, I just want to point out our background. I certainly do not believe you must have a college education to homeschool your children!

    While we do not currently have any children, we are expecting our first due in four months. We are choosing to homeschool our children for various reasons, many of which are the same reasons you homeschool yours.

    Being a licensed teacher, I have worked in various school systems, and have thoroughly enjoyed it! I love being able to watch children learn and grow. However, the public school system today is a far cry from the best situation for our family! My husband and I want to teach our children from the Christian view, not the humanistic view that is the basis of the public schools today. I am not saying that Christian parents should not send their children to public schools, only that it is not the best option for us. We want to homeschool our children so we can give them a solid foundation so they can stand firm in their faith. There are so many things that go on in the public schools today that we do not want our children to be exposed to. Some may consider this sheltering our children, and I'm OK with that. There are things I did not know until middle school or high school that I hear students in elementary school talking about almost on a daily basis!

    I know a number of people that were homeschooled, and yes a few of them were overly sheltered and weren't exposed to much outside the home. This has been the exception however, and not the rule! Many times homeschooling children have seen more in the "real world" than children who attend a public school because they have the opportunity to go out into the community during the day and get "real world" experience.

    This post may seem like I am rambling, and I'm sure I was, but it is late and I'm OK with that. I basically just wanted to say that even as someone who went to college to become a public school educator, I have chosen to homeschool my own children. 🙂

  25. Thanks, Lydenfamily. I really enjoyed hearing your perspective. I've heard much the same from many public-school-teachers-turned-homeschooling-parents. Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your first child. I wish I'd known so early on that we'd homeschool.

  26. When we meet new people now I introduce our family as "weird homeschoolers" because of your blog. I actually had a school teacher tell me that it was not so weird. LOL!

    I do not defend our family choice to anyone. If they do not like it I let them know that it's none of their business anyway.

    If you don't feed my family, house us, pay our bills, or pay our taxes then what we do is literally none of your business.

    If someone using the public school insist on confrontation, I simply point out that I pay taxes for their "free" school and I pay for my own children's education. Homeschoolers save tax payers money. Go search for another group of people that by their own choices save the taxpayers money. I can not think of a single one.

  27. I homeschool our two sons, ages 6 & 8. And while I disagree with the idea that homeschoolers aren't socialized well, I have come to terms with the fact that there are more "weird" homeschoolers than you will find in the general population.

    You can read my post about it here: https://homeschool-chronicles.com/?p=35

    What do you think? Is it okay to admit, even celebrate, the weird kids we are raising?

  28. Thank you for the encouragement … I stumbled across your blog after a challenging day of homeschooling … perfect timing and what I needed to read at this moment … thank you for addressing this and look forward to following your blog.

  29. I really loved reading this.  I have been homeschooling for two full years, this will be my third.  I will have one in second, one in first and a four year old kindergartener.  This has not come without conflict from most anyone I know who thinks" I'm holding my kids back from the best time of their lives."Here's the clincher, when I take my children places, church, shopping. PO and such, I am complimented over and over about how well behaved, intelligent and sweet my children are….UNTIL I say "oh, they're homeschooled" Then the influx starts! LOL It used to bother me, but now I think it is funny….you couldn't drag my children to public school.  We attempted it for PreK for my oldest and he HATED it.  My children have friends, but they can also hold a logical conversation with an adult! I'm tired of making my argument. People can think what they want, I have always enjoyed living "out of the box" and now my kids can enjoy it too!

  30. Love it!  I get so tired of hearing about homeschoolers not being socialized!  Meanwhile, our "traditional school" friends and cousins don't look me in the eye when I make friendly conversation and barely mutter an answer.  This is "social"?  Our homeschool friends are so comfortable talking to adults and other kids that are not in their "grade".  And yes, of course there are strange kids in traditional schools and homeschool.  The only difference is that  strange school kids are  reminded  everyday that they are different, whereas strange homeschooled  kids  don't know and don't care!  Who will evolve into being a happier adult?

  31. prejudice is always based on ignorance. its a shame but true. the reason why the 'weird' homeschoolers stand out in memory is because the rest of the homeschoolers we meet are just like all other kids! i am proud to have the opportunity to interact with my kids on a daily basis. every time i look at society, i'm glad my kids are "unsocialized" LOL

  32. Great post. I'll be homeschooling my LO's for as long as we think it's helpful and good for them. After that? I don't know.

    P.S. I did come across this by typing in "Why are homeschoolers…" and Google added "so weird?" 🙂 

  33. Google is so helpful. 😉 I love some of the suggestions it comes up with for me — they give me a good laugh sometimes.

  34. A few other reasons why folks might have an objectionable view of homeschooled folks:

    – Homeschooled kids who aren't "weird" fly under the radar, so only the "weird" ones stand out, thus distorting the unscientific survey of a casual observer.

    – Homeschooling is outside-the-box still today, but was even more so in the past.  It took strong-willed parents who were willing to go against the grain of society to pull their kids out of public school where everyone goes.  As children adopt characteristics of their parents, they might also be more outside the norm and unafraid to express it, as they would regardless of where they are schooled.  So, there may be a correlation to higher incidences of non-conformity.  If there is a causal relationship, though, it may be that a-typical behavior can cause home-schooling, not the other way around.  Depending on what the "normal" behavior is, deviation may even be a good thing.

    – Finally, one thought that gives some credence to those who say homeschooled children are unsocialized in some sense.  We are all affected by our surroundings for better or worse.  If a child goes to public school all day, he will adopt some behaviors of some people, and the pool will be a wide cross-section of society, so the total effect will, by definition, tend toward normalization, in the statistical sense.  To the extent that children spend a majority of their day with their family, they will be affected by that smaller group, so will more likely deviate from certain societal norms.  Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Getting together with other families, going shopping, etc. will expose them to a broader range of influences, but we are fooling ourselves to say that's the same as all day at a public school.  In my opinion, it's actually better – having known, mature adult influences be dominant over immature influences from unknown backgrounds.  We aren't raising them to be children, we're raising them to be adults.  If parents are comfortable with their own level of social adaptation, then they'll have no objections to their kids turning out similarly.

    One more observation – we live in a college town, so we get to know a lot of different college-age young people who attend church with us.  There are quite a few kids we have known who were homeschooled.  This sampling, at least, other than being unusually fine, upstanding young people holding to high moral standards (like their public-schooled counter parts who also worship with us), seem like top-notch social participants to a public-school product like me.  Actually, some of them seem to "fit in" better than I feel like I do/did.  As you say, there are folks in public school who are "weird," too.

  35. This is the most shallow things about being home school, and just because u are home school doesn't it make u werid, it so u have a different way of having a education. I mean cmon on, people really? And people can make friends with out being in a public school. I am so proud to be a outcast and not follow the crowded.

  36. I appreciate that you addressed this issue.  However, I think quirky is a better term.  As a homeschooling parent and a former pubic school teacher, many of my children's homeschooling friends tend to be quirky.  They may even dress differently.  I think the primary reason is that they take their cues from their parents and are often around other homeschooling kids who do the same.  I find no flaw in this, but it does explain why they tend to stand out a bit among their public school peers.  I also think we need to be tolerant of these comments from others because it is very natural for us as a society to notice happenings in our environment that are different from what we are used to.  So, be patient with others and give some validity to what they are saying and have understanding why they say these things.  I have repeated the fact that homeschoolers do take their cues from parents and you'd be surprised how accepting others are of this statement when they can finally put their finger on it.  Its actually helps them to be more understanding when they understand what they are observing. 

  37. I was home-schooled and I find other people strange and vile and in need of vast amounts of attention.  I was raised around adults.  I can't relate to grown up kids.  If we are calling that learning how to socialize I would hate to see what they were like before they learned it.

  38. It would help if people would learn the difference between “socialization” and “socializing.”

    Socialization means learning the rules of behavior for your cultural group.

    Socializing means hanging out with existing friends and making new friends.

    Very simplistic definitions but fairly accurate for what they are, and more than adequately explain the difference.

    Now ask yourself if you would entrust your six-year-old to be raised by a roomful of thirty first-graders. Because if you send your six-year-old to school–public OR private–that is exactly what you’re doing. Even if in the private-school scenario it’s more like fifteen or twenty first-graders, I rest my case; it’s still true that none of you would stand for it.

    It is the job of a child’s family to socialize that child. An institution cannot socialize a child properly, at least not without a lot of overhead involved, and most Americans are not willing to pay the overhead necessary to ensure a very, very small teacher-student ratio. On top of that, I have yet to hear of a school district that is willing to switch over to mixed-age student classrooms, which would also be a big help. Until those changes are made, school will never be a sufficient environment in which to raise children. Which is exactly what schools are doing, eight hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year–whether teachers or administrators want to admit it or not.

  39. Great post! I literally LOL. I am a new mom of a two month old baby boy. I know this may be a bit premature but I do plan on homeschooling my son and have been learning all I can about successful homeschooling. I find this blog very encouraging as people look at me like I am a nut when I say my children will be home schooled.

  40. You might find this rather strange. However, I am a homeschooler who has homeschooled our two children through high school….and I believe most homeschoolers ARE weird and strange.

    While I have found some to be quite “normal” (honest, mature and easy to get along with), I have also found very many who are quite mental. Many spend their time getting into trouble and tryiing to convince everyone they are little darlings and angels that would never do anything wrong. Others are caught up in politics to the point they are little clones and robots of their political party. Many others are just downright arrogant and think they are God’s gift to the planet.

    However, the biggest problem I have concerning homeschooling is with the parents. I have never met more anal retentive people in my life; control freaks, and, some downright borderline psychotic. Topping the list is the gossiping. Moms get together and bad-mouth other homeschooling moms who are really trying to raise their children in honor and glory for God. These gossips spread such ridiculous and vicious rumours, that the good homeschooling moms most often give up and go to public school. It’s a very sad situation: a bunch of old gossiping hens ruining the reputation of many good people. All the while, the kids of these gossips are following in the same footsteps as their parents….some of these little “Godly Angels” are even being arrested. I have seen it all; parents fighting with other parents, and dads intimidating other dads and even families simply because they feel their darling is the best to walk the planet. Unfortunately, I also noticed that many of these parents are major conspiracy theorists, believing the government is spying on them, everything that happens is due to the “government plot”, and some very bizarre beliefs. I have a theory about that but tht is for another time.

    And the sad thing is that most of these people do not see themselves in this way. In fact, if you told them all of this, they would probably respond “Poor dear! Come over to us! We would never act that way.”

    I am not talking about just a splattering here and there. In our part of the world. this is a major problem. So bad, it has caused many to not only give up homeschooling, but quit attending church alltogether because of the viciousness of many of the homeschooling moms in the community.

    Is this something that takes place only in the homeschool world? Of course not. You find this everywhere. But from my experience, I found more loyalty, warmth and compassion from non-homeschoolers…and even atheists and non-believers…than in the so-called “Godly homeschooling world”. Pardon my bluntness, but much of the talk of godliness in homeschooling is a bunch of hooey. It’s more like a group of stiff-necked, self-righteous people who think their darlings are the answer to mankind.

    Of course, there are many good homeschoolers. Unfortunately, I find them to be far and few between…and most often the victim of some very evil people within the very group that should understand them.

    Would I homeschool again if given the choice? Absolutely. However, I would definitely be MUCH wiser how I do it…and keep a FAR distance from most the homeschoolers I know simply because of the way they act. The saddest part is that my kids would probably never choose to homeschool their children simply because of what they have experienced and seen.

    Blessings to all of you trying your best.

    1. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a bad experience with the homeschooling community in your area. It sounds much like what goes on across all strata of society, though, not just homeschoolers. I have met some homeschooling parents who could easily fall into those descriptions. However, I’ve found that most of them are just good, honest people trying to raise their families just like everyone else. I think the problem could come for categorizing anyone – homeschool parent, public school parent, Christian, atheist – based on a label and not seeing their actions as just part of who they are as a person.

  41. I just wanted to thank you for your postings and your insightful responses to the comments either negative or positive. I believe you have handled a large amount of belligerence with a plethora of grace. You have shown a truly lovely spirit and a passionate heart through your defense of your faith and way of life. I’m sorry that such a defense is necessary.

    I have been reading several blogs on homeschooling and am curious about the entire concept, how it fits with family life, how it effects the kids as they grow into adults, and what their potential future challenges may be. All of these things have been addressed under your FAQ page either in a post or a comment. You have been a great resource for me.
    Granted, I don’t have any children and I’m not sure that my husband and I ever will. However, I have been considering the idea of homeschooling any potential children we have due to the lack of education we’ve witnessed with the public school systems in both the US and Canada. Plus, we don’t believe that our kids should be forced to swallow government propaganda at every turn. But that’s another conversation entirely.

    On another note, I disagree with some of the people posting comments here. Character is not built by public, private, homeschool or other educational systems, much less peer socialization. Character is developed through parenting and developing skills on your own through conscious interactions with other people. I believe, and I could be wrong, that the issue of awkwardness around peers is not a lack of socialization but more of a character flaw. If you can’t carry on a conversation with someone in the elevator, that has nothing to do with what school you went to or whether or not you have something in common (sure commonality makes conversing easier), but more to do with your conscious ability to look outside of your life for a moment and attempt to make a connection with another human being. If you regularly stand around in church or a public event and complain to yourself about how no one is talking to you, maybe that should be your queue to walk over and start a conversation with another person instead of hiding in the corner. For those introverts out there, these kinds of experiences can be frightening, and really I do understand that. I’m not an extrovert by any means, however it isn’t anyone’s responsibility but mine to ensure that I have meaningful relationships and that I can make connections with with world outside of my own front door. Yes, I’m weird! Yes, my friends are weird! And you know what, that’s fine by me. I’d rather be weird, awkward and interesting than fit the molds and stereotypes of the lost and lonely people looking to place blame on others for what their life is lacking that my society has a tendency to produce.

    I also believe that character is developed first through parenting. It is because of the efforts of my parents that I grew able to handle just about any situation that life throws at me (that doesn’t mean I always handle it with grace). My parents are the reason I was taught to consider the consequences of my actions and how said consequences will effect others around me before I make decisions. No public or homeschool experience in my life has taught me these things. Character has to be sculpted by the parents through discipline, faith and worldview studies, and logic to assist with the defense of these structures. That is probably a little overly simplified, and again I mention that I am not a parent and these are just my (not so humble) opinions.

    On public school (I have both homeschool and public school experiences):
    The few things that my experience with public school taught me are these: don’t break the status quo, don’t think about what you’re here to “learn” just regurgitate it, the teacher is always correct even if the facts aren’t in support of their opinion, sex and drugs are perfectly fine and without personal consequences, nutritional food is what we tell you it is, you should exercise though it should be done on your own time not while you’re here, got a problem? take a pill or find another sexual partner, oh, and here’s some condoms so you don’t get a disease or pregnant until you’re “ready.” personal responsibility isn’t something you should worry about right now, you gain respect by achievements not character….etc.

    No, it wasn’t a good public school experience and my experiences were different than some of my peers. There are plenty of people who attempted to convince me to stay in school for my senior year instead of graduating early because I would otherwise miss out on senior activities and a t-shirt. You’re kidding, a T-shirt!? What would I have missed out on? More sexual harassment from the principle aimed at anything that had legs, political power plays between the staff, teachers having sex with students, watching more of my friends fall into lives of alcohol and drug addictions, me continually confronting my teachers about their lack of facts and citing resources to do so, watching teachers change scores on tests to match the status quo so the government will throw more money at them….?
    No these things don’t happen in every public school. No, my high school wasn’t in a slummy part of town it was actually in a high class neighborhood and the student parking lot rivaled most new car show rooms. These issues didn’t stem from the public school board or crappy educators (well, some of them did), they stemmed from a severe lack of parenting and personal responsibility.
    You want to know a really sad statistic? I’m one of about 1/10 of my graduating class (2001) that went on to graduate college and earn a living at a job making a salary above the poverty line. Most of the rest of the people I knew in high school are still sitting in their parents basements, working menial jobs (if they’re working at all), lacking ambition for their future, taking drugs and partying on the weekends.

    So, with all of that in mind, thank you for choosing to do what you feel is best for your family and for taking the time and developing the courage and commitment to push through the confrontations and misconceptions about the lifestyle your family leads.

  42. I’ve had the experience of different schooling experiences, all over the world, as well as USA public school and plenty of homeschooled kids. I have to say they are “weird”. Enough so, that I had to really observe to try and put a finger on why it hits you so hard that they are. It really comes down to “there’s no book like experience”, and I can see that it is all kinds of experience that they lack, because you only grow from experiences. What you learn and talk about in a homeschool setting vs a large public school classroom (s)……..where so much more than the facts are explored. The enrichment that comes from the questions and comments from an entire classroom(s) of all different kinds of kids,their peers, their own age group, can not be replaced. So my experience being around the homeschool kids , was a clear sense of how limited they seem to be/act. Some of these kids I’ve been involved with from elementary to now graduated. The difference of a homeschooled 18 year old going on into the world vs the public schooled 18 years olds , was scary how naive and lacking experiences for a new adult. Get your kids ready for the world, to be capable adults. Don’t shelter and limit.

  43. I googled into this page via that question, but actually, in order to find some ammunition to answer it (to someone who just said it to me, as a cautionary tale, and if I’m honest, for my own family, as we struggle to figure out if homeschooling is for us or not).

    Thanks for this post!

  44. I think the fact they’re not around other kids us f-ing horrible. I would have hated homeschooling. I think more often it because their parents are too afraid to address the questions that will come up regarding sex, drugs etc.p personally and honestly think it’s EXTREMELY selfish to homeschool any child unless they have specific health needs. Just because you’re religious doesn’t cut it for me. It’s a total sham and I do not believe in homeschooling whatsoever. It’s a cop out one parents lack of dealing or wanting to deal with topics that may arise. Very selfish parents.

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