Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homeschooling misconceptions, part 2

Yesterday I addressed a couple of misconceptions about homeschoolers. Today I'd like to address the last one I mentioned, the one that I decided needs a post all of its own.

"They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Really. Really? Really???

I think the real criticism here is that homeschoolers never have to deal with people who give them grief, because we're too sheltered. But you know what? That assumption is just plain wrong.

I knew a girl who desperately wanted to be accepted by the "in" crowd (yes, our homeschooling organization somehow had a popular crowd that was "in"...much to my disgust) and she cried after no one showed up to a party she hosted. Well, ok, two people showed up. Me, because I liked her, and a guy who later said that he only came because he felt sorry for her. We also found out that the "in" crowd people purposely boycotted the party because she was hostess.

Yes, we can be sheltered. Ask my boyfriend, he'll tell you that I was sheltered. (And also that he's un-sheltering me.) But there's no protecting homeschool teens from people who don't like them, and if you get a big enough homeschooling community you'll run into politics, "in" crowds, and cliques. I assure you, these can be quite painful.

For another example, what happened to me. I had a friend, we'll call her "Jessica," and we weren't liked by the popular kids. Fine, she decided, she could start her own group. It would be a group that anyone could join up with. The plan was for it to become bigger than the "in" crowd, and I think to become the popular crowd.

Jessica was my best friend. Pretty much. My other best friend was someone I met at her birthday party, but Jessica was really the one in charge. She's the one we looked to when making plans.

Problem was...I didn't like many of Jessica's friends in her new group. I didn't want to spend a lot of time with them. I also didn't like some of what they did, such as playing spin-the-bottle (I was the only one to sit that game out) and cross dressing for the heck of it in a place with a high crime rate. (For the record I have no problem with cross dressing. But doing it just for the heck of it in a place with more than average crime? That seems to be asking for trouble. I chose to not participate in that adventure.) I did some things with the group such as ice skating, and I attended the first slumber party for both genders, but eventually decided that I didn't want to be part of it.

I asked Jessica if I could hang out with her, just her (and our other friend), sometimes. The answer seemed to be no.

In retrospect, I think things started to go downhill when I didn't play spin-the-bottle.

I can't tell you how painful it was for my best friend who had been rejected by the "in" crowed to eventually reject me, mainly for me not liking her crowd. There may have been a few other things going on, but that was the big one.

The really ironic thing? Jessica's crowd eventually rejected her, or found a way to run her off. I'm not entirely clear how it happened, but she eventually left the group because she no longer fit into it. And I think that hurt her as much as losing her hurt me. the day after writing the above I have reconsidered whether I should go forward with publishing it. It is rather personal, and this is online for everyone to read. But it's not anything I have trouble telling anyone about, and it's nothing that anyone involved didn't already know. And my sharing it does have a purpose: to show that homeschoolers can be exposed to just as much drama as public schoolers, and that the criticism I received is irrelevant.

I didn't enter adulthood with no idea of how to deal with drama. I also had to deal with people who outright disliked me. (There was one adult telling lies around me and another teen behind our backs. Now that was fun.) I'm sure every homeschooler has had to deal with problems like these. So erase the argument  "They never have to deal with people who don't like them" from your reasons of why homeschoolers are at a disadvantage.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh, those painful childhood and teen experiences of inclusion/exclusion -- it seems no one is spared. It's such a hard way to learn how the world works, isn't it?

Sarita Rucker said...

I wish the world didn't work that way.