those weird homeschoolers!

Recently on the Mothering.com forums there's been a discussion going on about the mainstream perception that homeschoolers are "weird", and in particular that homeschooling makes them weird. I addressed it as an issue of egocentrism in this post. Some of the other responses I've been enjoying look at it from a different perspective -- that of embracing the banner of "weird" and seeing it as a positive thing. I'll let them speak for themselves.
[...] my own family lovingly calls me "weird". My husband calls me "eccentric". I am open-minded to unconventional things. I have zero desire to fit in with anyone or to conform just for the sake of doing what everyone else does. Subsequently, my kids not only get some of their personality traits from my genes but they are also being raised in an environment where their parents make unconventional choices and don't care about conforming. This describes MANY homeschoolers I know, by the way, people of all walks of life.

Sometimes, I think that public school parents must represent more of a Bell Curve, since they have the most numbers. And I think that homeschooling parents must be a somewhat self-selected crowd. So, I'm probably not saying this clearly at this time of the morning, there probably is a higher degree of weirdness in the homeschool group, but this weirdness would have otherwise been in the public school sector. I don't think homeschooling really causes weirdness but it probably just gives already existing weirdness an equal opportunity to exist, whereas it would be stomped on in public school.

Personally, I like being weird. After 30 something years, I have come to embrace my weirdness. If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge or started binding their feet for fashion, I would not follow. I think for myself and I don't care what the other Moms are doing or what they think about me. I'm raising my kids the same way: be whoever you want to be and feel good about it. They would have been weird public school kids too except that they would have crappy self-esteem from all the tormenting. The choice isn't between weirdness and coolness. It's between creativity and conformity. And it's between development of self and hating of self. It's between being who one naturally is and hiding who one naturally is. --Kerry H.

.......

I went to an unschooling convention type thing and I was shocked at how weird the kids were. I came home in a panic and talked with my S/O and a friend about it. My thoughts were, "what if my totally cool kid turns in to a weird kid?" I know, I'm silly. What makes him cool? He can hang with the best of those other commercialized kids, knows all of his pop culture and can recite most spongebob lines to perfection.

My S/O and friend surprised me. The said "It sounds like those kids were just not too afraid of being themselves." I thought about it and it was true. The kids that I saw being weird were having a really good time with each other. They weren't standing in a corner, trying to be cool. They would be the kinds of kids who would actually be the first to get on the dancefloor, ya know? They were accepting of each other too.

So, if my son becomes weird, I'm ok with it. I'd much rather he be himself and weird than conform to what he thinks is cool according to his school peers. I'd rather that he like something, or be some way because it's what he truly feels, rather than "everyone else likes it or acts this way, so it must be right." --Lisa D. in Seattle

.......

"Normal" people do not change the world. They don't take chances, they don't stand out. The "average" person is almost completely invisible.

I want nothing less than absolute weirdom for my children, they deserve much better than to simply be "normal". --Shaggydaddy

.......

My son was weird when he attended public school and he's weird now that he's learning in his homeschool.

What has changed is that he's a more joyful, spontaneous, peaceful weirdo.

He doesn't worry about other kids harassing him because he enjoys reading Steven Hawking's books or plays D&D on the weekends. He doesn't have to listen to other kids teasing him because he doesn't participate in an organized sport. He doesn't feel pressure to keep quiet so that attention isn't drawn to him in the classroom.

Homeschool didn't make him weird, but it did make him free. --anonymous

.......

Well, I was public schooled and I'm weird. My kids sleep in and out of our bed. I nursed them for years. I gave birth at home. They are not vaxed. We eat traditional foods: raw milk, grass fed beef, (gasp) BUTTER! I homeschool. I'm a flipping freak in this society. My family is all the healthier and happier for it.

My kids are not as shy as I was at their ages and feel perfectly comfortable asking to join in with stranger kids at the park. My 6 1/2 year old daughter went up to the librarian, with no prompting from me, to ask where the Froggy books were. She doesn't know she's supposed to be nervous and cowed with adults. My son doesn't know that since he doesn't have all of the "cool" stuff public schooled kids have he really shouldn't feel so confident and enter into conversations with his soccer team mates, cracking them up with stories of his father's boyhood.

Yep, my kids are weird too. I think they will lead and not follow because of it and have a happier, more self possessed awareness.

Weird is really OK. --Laura G.