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  • Tim Lieber

It's True; Homeschooled kids ARE Weird!

We all know the stereotypes. We've all heard them before. "You're gonna homeschool your kids? Won't that make them weird? They need to socialize! You should let them go to school so they can make friends and be normal!"

I haven't been in the world of homeschooling for very long, but I've already heard this from almost everyone I've ever talked to about keeping my kids out of the public school system.

I'm guilty of this too. I only ever knew one homeschool family growing up, and yes, their kids are legitimately strange. That was the typical outcome because I had never seen anything different.

The stereotype is that homeschooled kids stay locked away in their basement while pouring over homework that their parents give them—never seeing the light of day, just becoming goblin-like in appearance and demeanor. People imagine public school at home and never slow down to consider any educational alternative.

Luckily the lid is being blown sky-high off this stereotype.

I was in the middle of student teaching when I first considered homeschooling. My program was going so poorly that I swore I would never let my kids within 500 feet of our local school system. Everything had been all wrong. The teachers were too busy complaining instead of properly mentoring me or any students. The students were out of control because discipline and respect had been thrown out the window long ago following the fallout from the coronavirus lockdowns. Students were given packets of busy work instead of intellectually enriching material; worst of all, I seemed to be the only person who cared.

None of the established rules or norms were being followed. From the dress code, common courtesy towards peers and teachers, and the inability for the school to go longer than one week without having to close a bathroom due to be vandalized for Tik-Tok clout. Keep in mind that I was student teaching at a good school too!

Public school kids get plenty of socialization, but not the kind that's good for them.

I had started to lose faith in ever becoming an effective teacher. Fortunately, my entire perspective changed the second I walked into our local homeschool co-op for the first time.

I was nervous walking into the church and meeting with the co-op director for the first time. I opened the door without knowing what to expect and was blown away.

There were dozens of kids all around, but these kids weren't the sort of kids I was used to. These kids were well-behaved, dressed normally and appropriately, happy, well-adjusted, and friendly.

My jaw hit the ground.

What kind of magical place did I enter?

There were kids there of all ages, from babies to high schoolers. The students between classes either talked politely to their friends, studied independently, or played. The co-op director gave my wife and I a tour of the church where they met for school.

Walking through the hallway and peeking into the classrooms, I immediately noticed the teachers teaching. They were actually honest to goodness in front of their classes, taking information out of their brains and putting it into students' brains! Not a packet in sight!

Then it truly hit me. Homeschooled kids ARE weird. Compared to a typical kid raised in the public school culture, a group of homeschooled kids should be seen as a sign of relief. There is hope for the future!

If you had two groups of 100 students sitting at opposite ends of a room, one filled with public school kids and the other comprised of homeschoolers, you'd be able to correctly guess which was which in about three-tenths of a second.

I've been amazed at how intelligent, curious, deep, and fun the homeschooled kids are. I treat them like college students. I let them get up and go to the bathroom whenever they need, never have to spend any time managing misbehavior, and am always impressed with their level of academics.

What helps is that these kids are not constrained by a system demanding conformity. Instead, these students are encouraged to engage with wisdom, ask questions, and truly develop a deep love for learning. Not to mention many of them come from Christian homes that teach the values and wisdom of the love of Jesus.

Classes at the homeschool co-op are only sometimes separated by age. Younger students are intermixed with older students, allowing them to become role models and mentors or learn to act like older kids.

Imagine a seven-year-old in the same class as a ten-year-old. The ten-year-old is practically an adult compared to the younger student, so he would act more mature to prove to the older kid that he can be in his social group. The older kids remember what it was like to be younger, so they happily take on the role of leader in the class.

Public school kids are the ones who are constantly told to sit down and be quiet. They are told what books to read and when. They have to raise their hand to speak. They must ask to use the bathroom, and sometimes the answer is no because we all know they want to play on their phone in the bathroom. Until high school, students only interact with students their own age, and the social hierarchy devolves into cliques, comprised of the preps, freaks, geeks, and those stuck in-between.

Which of these groups is becoming better socialized?

Of course, some homeschool students struggle with socializing and fitting in, but you will find that in any organization involving people. From my firsthand experiences with public school kids and homeschoolers, I'll take the homeschoolers every time.

It's true; homeschooled kids are weird. But in our secular culture focused on self-esteem, equity, and following your bliss, being weird is good.


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