In a recent comment on this blog, someone said that at first, they couldn’t tell if I was for homeschooling or not.
I’m not for homeschooling. I am it. I wrote a column to this effect in Home Education Magazine. It’s still one of my favorite things I’ve thought of. That sounded sort of egotistical. I’m sorry.
I love talking with education reformers and passionate homeschooling trailblazers and people who are changing the world. I like watching education documentaries and reading about education in the paper. But I am not an education reformer. I am not choosing education as my career.
Thinking differently from most people about school is just part of my identity. How could I not? I grew up without school. My reality is different.
And not so different. I like some of the same exact trashy TV and junky pizza as plenty of people who went to school.
And yet fundamentally different.
Sometimes I’m a little annoyed by how I can’t see the same things as fine or normal or good as most people.
People are always saying things like, “Well, you deal with high school. That’s the point. It’s good to learn how to deal with shitty stuff.”
And I think, “Sounds bad.”
And then people say, “It’s boring. But work is boring.”
And I think, “I don’t want work to be boring.”
And people say, “I’m glad I had to deal with some truly terrible people every day.”
And I think that sounds like being trapped. I don’t think it is weird that they’re glad, or that they’re secretly not as good of a person as they think, or something like that. I just think I don’t really understand and can’t imagine choosing that.
And people say, “These girls told me I was ugly in middle school. You know, one of those middle school things, where they just cut me out of the group randomly and then made fun of me for a year.” Laugh.
And I think, “Oh my god. That is terrible.”
They think, “That is so terrible. She had to be around her family all the time… She probably never had friends.”
They can’t imagine having the free time I had. I can’t imagine having their classes. We can’t fully picture one another’s lives.
And it’s really OK, most of the time, when the occasional hater isn’t grilling me about whether or not my parents are sadists who want to torture children or writing an angry anonymous comment under a piece I’ve published somewhere, going, “Arrogant little losers. Public school was good enough for MY kids. They think they’re so much better than everyone else and they can’t even tie their own shoes. What is WRONG with this country? This should be illegal.”
(Look at those despicable child-torturers!)
Most of the time, though, I just see the world kind of differently, by accident, reflexively, and I’m not fighting for anything. I’m not standing up waving a flag and yelling for the troops to follow me. I’m not against it. I think thinking differently about normalcy is healthy. I think challenging things that seem not to be working well is critical.
But it’s not my mission. It’s just a part of who I am.
(It also might be part of the reason I can cut all my hair off when I feel like it…)
P.S. This piece appears, slightly altered, on the Huffington Post here.