If you really knew me . . . .

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Mama’s Losin’ It

You'd know I was homeschooled.

I know I've mentioned the fact in passing a couple times in the blog before, but here's the skinny: when I was in third grade, my parents decided they were done with public school for my brother and I and from fourth grade through high school graduation, I learned at home. The reasons why my parents decided to homeschool us aren't really worth the space or time to explain, but suffice it to say, we were probably the only family in 100-mile radius who didn't homeschool for religious reasons. Which made the whole homeschool family gatherings kind of awkward. Really, my trolls with jewels in their belly buttons are the devil's playthings and attempting to suck out my soul? Really?!

Real homeschoolers don't play with troll dolls

For the first few years my parents served as my instructors, but from middle school through to graduation, I enrolled in the North Dakota Division of Independent Study which allowed me to study in the comfort of my own bedroom. It was correspondence study, so each "semester" I was shipped textbooks and study guides. After reading assigned texts, I'd complete worksheets and write essays, then send them off to a teacher in Fargo to be graded. I really do have a high school diploma (rather than a G.E.D), from North Dakota, which was a state I'd never visited until Andy and I took a road trip out to Portland, OR, in 2009. 
Ah, beautiful North Dakota. Not a tree in sight. .  .
In the early days of homeschooling, I always figured I'd head back to public school for high school, but I was good at the independent study thing (except for, you know, math) and my mother's piano teaching business, along with plenty of extracurricular activities, kept us interacting with our peers on a regular basis. My senior year of high school, I took a college-level history course with some of my public school peers, so I figured I had a vague idea of what a typical class room setting was like before heading off to college in Fall 2003. And luckily, I had a cute new haircut to guarantee I blended right in with all of the traditionally schooled kids at college. . . .
I should have sued my stylist . . .
By the time I got my degree, my hair had grown out and the fact that I was homeschooled had become a laughable excuse for why I wasn't good at something. ("I can't do _______; I was homeschooled!") Two other people who worked on the college newspaper with me had been homeschool at some point in their lives as well and offered a sense of solidarity. I wasn't the only homeschooled jungle freak out braving the real world! The newspaper's last issue every year is traditionally a gag edition filled with fake news articles and in 2006, we published an article about socially maladjusted homeschooled kids taking over the newspaper. 
Omigosh, were those kids HOMESCHOOLED? Quick, go get them some social skills!
Now that I'm pretty firmly planted in the world as an adult, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my homeschooling past; it has very little impact on my everyday life. And I don't really think that I missed out on anything by not having the traditional high school experience,but one look at my movie collection indicates I'm still trying to identify with the four years of life that everyone else is most trying to forget.

How else do you explain the fact that I own 10 Things I Hate About You, Save the Last Dance, Orange County, and Mean Girls, or that as of late I've become obsessed with Netflixing Glee?

"Is that what it's like?" I'll ask whoever I'm watching the particular high school movie/show with when a particularly dramatic incident occurs.

"Yeah, no so much," they'll say.

"Well, what is it really like?" I'll ask.

They shrug their shoulders. "Not like that."

That so does not answer my question.

It's looking like I'll never really know what high school's all about. So until someone wants to spell out the knitty gritty details, I'm going to keep believing it's a place where Rachel McAdams is the queen bee, where you go through a metal detector when you enter the building, where Lily Tomlin is the guidance counselor, and where people spontaneously break into song in the hallways.


  1. I love this Ada! I'm going to share this with my homeschooled kids :)

  2. You're so hilarious! Glad I found your blog. And the troll dolls with belly button rings are so cute. I am now following you thanks to Thirsty Thursday Blog Hop and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog:)
    And don't forget to check our new Blog Tutorial going on today. It's very easy and it would look amazing on your blog:) See you there!
    Happy Thursday

  3. Swinging by from Mama Kat's. High school is JUST like you see on Glee! (not!)
    I personally learned nothing in high school. I goofed around for four years. I would have been better off homeschooled.

  4. I never knew that troll dolls were the playthings of the devil, see you learn something new everyday! Lol! Great post, I really enjoyed it. I loved High School, but as my father often told my sister and I we didn't go to a High School we went to a country club. I graduated in 1983 and I went to a progressive high shcool, where you had over 100 english classes to choose from, a completly open campus, a smoking section (if you can belive that) and no subs, if your teacher was out for just a day or two you could go to the libary, one of the 10 music practice rooms, or the common area and watch a movie. My kids will go to the same school, but it is different now. No smoking section, thankfully. The campus isn't open, and there is a sub if your teacher is out, but they have left a lot of the courses and the arts are very big still. Thanks again for a great post.

  5. SO hilarious! I love how nonchalant you are about the whole experience. I was only home schooled for 2 years in high school and people think that is so bizarre when they found out. As if those 2 short years somehow make me different than them. Laughable.

  6. Trolls rather than Waldorf dolls? I considered homeschooling my boys and not for religious reasons either. Ultimately, I decided to send them to our public schools and I have been happy with it so far. We live in a good school district. This is a cute post...there are definitely preconceived notions about homeschooled children. I don't think traditional high school is for everyone anyway. Sounds like your way worked out just fine.

  7. I'm afraid I can't help you out there. Also homeschooled

  8. Hmmm...well, I can attest that there are, in fact, Queen Bees. At least there were at my school. Not so much on the singing part though.
    As for social maladjustment, there are plenty of people who I attended high school with who suffered from that problem!

  9. This is very interesting.... I was not homeschooled, but it does fascinate me. Especially in your case where it wasn't religiously driven.
    I did got small private schools, which seems to baffle my public school peers....... but your experience is something completely different!
    Not to say one is better than the other- I think it has to be a case by case situation.

  10. meh- i skipped school so often that I practically don't know what it was like. Um, a place to see my friends without having to make the effort of making plans? A lot of my social life and "real life lessons" came from my after-school jobs at that age too.

  11. I was sort of homeschooled... (long ugly story) and sort of not. As a homeschool mom though (my youngest) I've got to say I love it. We belong to a co-op. Though I will homeschool her all the way through, we've seen amazing things come out of the previous graduates so my worries are completely at ease...
    Before becoming a homeschool mom though, one of my main reasons for never doing it
    (other than the continued assurance that i had no lost my sanity) was that i didn't want my child to become a maladjusted mutant freak. ha! homeschooling gets a bad wrap but you are proof that it's not so bad.
    (as for movies- i am addicted to them too. Easy A was my FAVORITE movie last year. have you seen that one? It's a great high school movie that also helps me understand WHY I homeschool. :) )

  12. My husband was homeschooled K-12. We're planing to homeschool our kids. :)

  13. Had to come back and let you know my kids read this grinning from ear to ear. I also chose to homeschool for reasons other than religion. We know what that is like.

  14. I'm thinking of homeschooling as well. Not for religious reasons, because I don't think our local schools (public or private that we can afford) can offer what my kids need. Or that I want them to learn Polish over Spanish.

    Btw, I still watch "Dazed and Confused" and "Pretty in Pink" as they were the closest to my high school that I can find. We had the preppy clique, punk clique, goth clique, jocks clique, nerds clique, etc. But they all got along and blended well together, I think.

  15. that is awesome! i always wanted to be home schooled-- not because of bullying and stuff, but because i thought it'd be more challenging.

    the thing that frustrates me about glee? trust me when i say that ALL nerds banded together-- glee, band, poetry, drama... all of us in one giant, pimply, weird family.

  16. haha I think I prefer your idealistic world of highschool! Sounds a lot more fun than the one I attended!

  17. You know, I had never really thought about the pop culture aspect of homeschooling vs. traditional education. Interesting to ponder. I have considered hs'ing my kids but so far public elementary school is working ok for us. Like everything else in life I think there are going to be issues no matter what path you take. Thanks for visiting my3littlebirds earlier and leaving such a sweet comment.

  18. I used to wish I could be home-schooled during my high school years.
    It was torture!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog =]

  19. Great post! I've always known that troll dolls were evil ;).

    I always wished I could be home-schooled growing up. I hated, HATED high school. Yeah, that's pretty typical, but I seriously think my high school years affected the person I've become...so I guess I wouldn't trade the experience for anything now. I would have loved high school if it had been a little more like Glee. I think they get the whole "loser" thing right, but the star quarterback would never look twice at the over-achiever in real high school...at least not mine.

  20. I homeschooled my 2 kids for one year-- it was NOT "our finest hour". School was always something I wanted to feel I belonged to, but for whatever reason, I always felt like I was just visiting. Painful times interwoven with some good times... sure wish I could have attended a prom though....

  21. Still giggling over the troll dolls! :) What a great post! Loved reading about your experience. Isn't if funny that none of us seem to be able to adequately describe high school? Hmmmm...just keep thinking Glee...it's more that way!

  22. Hi! New follower stopping by from the blog hop. Have a great day! :-)

  23. woah, those trolls just gave me a huge 90's flashback. what did we see in them? lol.

    good to know homeschooling doesn't have to be this negative stereotype... seems like you turned out just fine :)

  24. The trolls bring back so many articles! So fun reading about how differently people are raised!
    Thank you for posting! I just found your blog through the sits/blogfrog link up discussion! I am following you and can't wait to read more. I am a new blogger and I'm having so much fun with it!
    Hope that you have a great week!

  25. I was homeschooled for 1st and 2nd and 4th - 6th grades. Not really for religious reasons either, although I am a Christian, but more because my parents didn't like the district we were in. Lol. Turns out my mom didn't particularly like teaching us, so come junior high, we were back at school and she went back to work.

    So while I can't completley relate to your missing high school, I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to grow up with one set of kids. I went to one school for the tale end of 2nd and then all of 3rd, and then another school district for 7th-9th. We actually moved then and I finished high school at yet another district.

    I still find myself discovering things that I missed out on in the 80's though. Since I was homeschooled most of that decade, I did miss a lot of the cool fads and movies. I don't think it showed as social-backwardsness in junior high (at least I hope it didn't), but I do wish now that I had more of those social memories from when I was younger. It's nice when you meet people in college to have certain things in common... "Oh you watched Punky Brewster as a kid? Me too!"

    I guess watching tv shows isn't completely related to homeschool, but I think to a certain extent there is a certain social pressure at school to know/watch certain cultural things. So without that pressure, I didn't know what was "cool" to watch or which toys were "cool" to buy, etc. If that makes any sense.


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