When do you stop being a homeschooler?

Am I still a homeschooler?

I have a Master’s degree. I’ve taken a lot of tests. I’ve handed in a lot of homework.  I’ve been out of grad school for a year. I work. I’m married. I live in an apartment with my husband.  I’m not a student anymore.

When do you stop being a homeschooler? When people ask me for basic personal information, it doesn’t include, “What grade are you in?” or “Where do you go to school?” They ask me, “What do you do?” They ask me, “Where do you live?”


It seems like school is something everyone gets over. You grow up. You move on. You define yourself. Once in a while you think back and go, “I can’t believe I survived that.” Or “Those were the days…” But you’re mostly thinking about other stuff.

I still feel like a homeschooler. I think I might always be a homeschooler.

I think this is because my strange education feels relevant to everything. The way I think, the decisions I make, the things I’m good at, the things I’m terrible at, the way I understand my place in the world, the way I understand other people– it all starts with my education.


This is always true. Just like it’s always true that the way you think starts with your family. But for most people, family and education aren’t mixed together to the extent that homeschooling necessitates. And for most people, education doesn’t distinguish you from everyone else. It makes you more similar. It attempts to equalize, and in some ways it succeeds. From a outside perspective, a homeschooled perspective, the experience of school sometimes seems practically uniform. It isn’t, of course, but school is still an experience that most people have in common.

Sometimes I think that the reason why I will always be a homeschooler has less to do with the way I learned academic subjects and mastered basic skills and much more to do with the way I didn’t do the thing that all kids are supposed to do. The sheer radical enormousness of actively refusing to build my life on the expected foundation impacts everything about me. My life is built on something else entirely. I can’t even tell how steady it is, because the numbers haven’t come in yet. The statistics haven’t been collected. I might be floating. I feel kind of free.

I will always be a homeschooler. And I’ll have to keep figuring out what that might mean as I go. Sounds pretty fun.


10 comments to When do you stop being a homeschooler?

  • carlyle

    I don’t think it’s unusual or “incorrect” to still identify strongly with your schooling experience. If movies have taught me anything, it’s that high school was the most significant time of my life and I’ll always remember and be defined by it.

    I think you’ll always be a homeschooler, just like others will always be jocks or nerds or Washington High Bulldogs – but your identity is a lot more distinct and cool than theirs!

  • Suzanne

    I love that you might always identify yourself as a homeschooler. i went to public school but feel alot of my learning came from the enormous amount of reading i’ve done in my life. i’m a self-schooler and proud of it! cheers!

  • kate

    I like that. Way to be a self-schooler!

  • It’s a fact, I normally forget until something about school comes up, then it feels like a secret that makes me smile. My parents instill the desire to learn in me, and I think that is one of the most valuable lessons ever. So I won’t ever stop being a home schooler.

  • Yep, I’m also still a homeschooler, even after going to college, living on my own, getting my MS, and currently being in the early stages of a Ph.D.

    Though I agree with darci’s comment, I forget about this fact sometimes, despite the fact that it’s so greatly affected the way that I think about and approach everything I do. Mostly I remember it when people talk about their school experiences. Or about popular culture things that I completely missed because I was too busy off doing my own thing. (Yes, my lab-mates still tease me about being homeschooled whenever I miss a reference from their childhoods. And then I remind them that they’re several years older than I am, so I wouldn’t know the reference anyway…)

    Also, I’ve been meaning to say how much I appreciate this new blog of yours! Always good for me to remember how interesting/important it was for me to homeschool.

  • Yup, same here: even though I’m now past the compulsory schooling years, I still identify as an unschooler, and don’t see that changing anytime soon!

  • Momof3

    This site is really inspirational and fun! I’m a “homeschool mom” with two boys that we plan to homeschool through high school and sometimes I wonder(code word for worry)what they’ll think about their homeschool experience. It’s good to get a glimpse of the future. Great writing!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this. You have put into words something I feel but have never been able to explain very well. I, too, still feel like a homeschooler.

    I read your article on AOL yesterday and decided to check out your blogs. I’m glad I did.

  • Beatrice Medeiros

    I loved everything you wrote.
    I am a homeschooling mom. You really have to be smart to be a homeschooling mom. So you can think of your mother as being extra smart because she did something that most people don’t know how to do.
    As a homeschooling mom I was under the compulsory laws of Massachusetts from 1985 to 1995. My daughter graduated from college summa cum laude, which made me very proud. After all, everyone now looked at me as the one who brought her to that level. I can remember my daughter delivering her speech at one of the graduation ceromonies. “The first day I came on the campus I was nervous and scared,” she said. “I had been homeschooled all my life and this was the first time I was going to sit in a classroom. I had never taken a test and now I was to be tested on everything I was going to learn.” The dean of the school was sitting near me, her eyes nearly popped out of her head, “You homeschooled her?” she asked me. I shook my head up and down. “Wow!” she said, “That’s great!” It’s these little things that meke us happy. Your article about homeschooling and un-schooling made me happy, too. Always promote homeschooling. The more homeschoolers the world has, the better world it will be, especially for the child.

  • Ah, see, this is what I want for my children, for them not to be able to distinguish their life, their sense of self from their education. I want them to feel their education is a part of them, not seperate from them.

    I am officially addicted to your blog!

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