Are you worried your home educated kids will turn out weird?

“Aren’t homeschooled and unschooled children a bit…weird? Don’t you worry yours will grow up like that?”

Firstly – yes, that is a question I have actually been asked (more than once). Secondly – let’s clarify the definition of that word ‘weird’, which I think is intended to mean ‘different’.

In that case, I guess my answers are: yes they’re different, no I’m not worried.

Think about it. How could a child living in an entirely different life paradigm to the majority who are walking along a well-trodden path not be different? Saying that children who aren’t educated in a school setting are different from what you’re used to is a bit like meeting a person from another country and saying they have a different accent. Is it really that surprising?

Home educated children have stepped off what is effectively a mass production line. The second they do that they’re on a different path. They will experience life at a different pace. They will have different influences, develop different standards, and be part of defining their own individual measures of success. They will become a different product to what the factory is producing.

By virtue of fewer hours under instruction in a classroom they will have more time to discover what truly drives them, what makes them tick, and – importantly – what doesn’t. They will have more freedom to be who they are with less social consequence, and in my experience are more likely to stand strong for what they believe in the face of social pressure.

It’s a completely different way of developing as a person, and naturally produces a completely different result.

The key thing here – and this applies to every aspect of life, and frankly it blows my mind that we’re still having to talk about it – is to stop looking at differences between people as a bad thing. We should be embracing them, encouraging our children to do the same, and breaking out of the cookie-cutter mould that conditions us into thinking we should all be conforming to one standard. One accepted version of life. One definition of normal. One ‘right way’.

One of the many colourful dictionary definitions of the word weird is ‘someone with extraordinary character; fantastic’.

Yes, my children are weird. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

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