Sunday, April 10, 2011

Following the Herd

"Some folks are comforted by following the herd and so when one of their own ventures off, it freaks them out, makes them question their whole herd-following mentality."

Over a decade ago I worked with a high school girl whom I was very fond of. She was white and she was in a relationship with a black guy. I won't use the politically correct terms African American or European American because it highly annoys me when roads, buildings, or race names are changed only to make it more confusing for someone to know what to call it/them. Face it folks, we are red, yellow, black and white with a little drop of each mixed in us all and leave the damn road and building names their original names..end of story.

This was during a time when it was not so popular to be dating a person of a different race. Well, at least in the behind the times area where I lived.

She used to complain almost daily about getting looks and comments from people when she would be out in public with "boy". "Boy" is the name she would call him when she referred to him. Once I asked her what his real name was. She said G-Lover. Whatever....anyway, I would often tell her when you are doing something that is out of the norm you attract attention from the conformers.. Whether it is right or wrong makes no difference, it's just out of the norm.

I just had a realization the other day that homeschooling attracts the same attention from the less knowledgeable.

I'm old and wise enough to know how to put folks in their place when they start analyzing our life choices. Summer has alot to learn and probably a long road ahead of her.

Everything she has done and ever will do is under a social microscope because she is homeschooled. She is scrutinized daily no matter what she is doing, how she is acting, and even her whole persona.

Here are just a few examples off the top of my head:

If she spells a word wrong, doesn't know the answer to a question, or doesn't know how to multiply easily it's because she is homeschooled. She has to always be on her toes lest be critiqued by the judges.

She is asked to be a performing monkey by naysayers on many occasion to "prove" that she is learning something. If she does not measure up it's because she is homeschooled.

I can't even tell you how many times an adult has asked her when she is going to "school". Or why she doesn't want to go to school with all the other kids.
As if we keep her locked in a dungeon during the day.

The questions go on and on. Anytime you stray from the norm you get questions, looks, and unwanted advice.

I guess alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic, Summer is most importantly learning how to deal with being different.

I always use this analogy with her...If you want a cat and you go to look at a litter of cats and all the cats are black but one of them happens to be a cat with a white patch around his eye and orange stripes on his paws which cat are you going to want? The cat that looks like all the other cats or the one that is different??

She will survive...and so will we...


  1. Extremely well thought and reasoned. I would want the different cat too.:-)

  2. Interesting. Sometimes it's the same way WITHIN the homeschool community too. Think unschoolers vs. box curriculum users vs. virtual schoolers vs. people who like standardized tests vs. test objectors, etc. We all think we know the right way to do it, right?

    My favourite run-ins are with teachers. *sigh*

    Archie was cutting up in his sunday school class and I was approached by the class helper who happens to be a private school teacher. She was explaining to me that he was misbehaving because he didn't know how to act in a classroom situation because he is homeschooled. No. It couldn't be because he is a nine-year old boy who thinks poop jokes are really funny right now. No. Not at all.