As a family that homeschools our children, we’ve become quite used to “The Look“.
It’s that look you get from people when you tell them you homeschool your kids. It’s the look that all homeschool parents are familiar with because we’ve all seen it.
“The Look” is a look that’s given and conveys a lot of information without any words actually being spoken. It’s similar in function to the look you used to get as kids from your mother when you were acting up in public. You know the one. It says “You better cut it out or I’ll roll your head across the floor”, without any words actually being spoken.
The homeschool “Look” conveys so much more, however. “The Look”, when applied to homeschooling, communicates: “You crazy, anti-social, right-wing, Christian fundamentalist, denim skirt-wearing, no TV-watching, bible-thumping, abortion protesting, big white van driving, pajamas to school wearing, no deviled egg eating, weirdo with a bunch of kids that can’t spell or socialize with the rest of the “real world”…..They all seem to think they’re the ones that understand the “Real World” and we don’t.
Even my kids have come to recognize it instantly in the eyes of the disapproving when asked where they attend school.
Not everyone gives “The Look” when asked where the kiddos attend school. Some are genuinely interested or at least neutral. However, we can spot a teacher in an instant by “The Extreme Look”. It’s also quite easy to spot atheists, self-proclaimed intellectuals or people employed as scientific types. “The Extreme Look”, rather than being a slight look of skepticism like “The Look”, is actually initiated by a slight raising of the nose followed by a look of contempt with a dash of disgust thrown in.
We actually became familiar with “The Extreme Look” almost immediately after announcing our plans to homeschool because of our close proximity to several teachers in our circle of influence. One teacher-friend actually begged….I mean begged….my wife not to follow through with homeschooling.
A couple of weeks ago in San Antonio we were standing in line to take a water taxi down the San Antonio River. While standing in line my wife struck up a conversation with a gentleman in front of her. He asked her where our kids went to school and of course my wife told him we homeschool…..She received “The Extreme Look’ followed by a chuckle and “So….What are you going to do when you have to turn them out into “The Real World”? (There you go, the ol’ “real world” comment again). My wife responded something like “I’m not really sure about the little one, but I guess since my 16-year-old is already in college getting A’s and B’s and taking college level courses in her homeschool group she attends, I would say she’s already in the real world, much sooner than most kids her own age.”
This is a common perception among those living in “The Real World”; that we’re raising a bunch of undereducated, anti-social kids. However I have to be honest because, of course, many homeschooling families are, as I’ve stated here in this article. But it’s no different with homeschooling families than with public school families. In other words, “garbage in, garbage out”. You get out of it only what you put into it. Homeschooling is hard work.
In public school, some parents are involved and see to it that their kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing in public school. Then there are those that aren’t. I can assure you there are plenty of undereducated anti-social kids being pumped out of public school also. How stupid is it to believe that merely because you attend public school you’re automatically going to be highly educated and properly socialized.
All it takes is a kid with a lisp, or a weight issue, or some other non-typical physical feature to become the focus of intense bullying. I know some would say it toughens them up, but all it does is prep them to become recluses in the least or serial killers in the extreme. How could anyone think that only another 15-year-old could be a good role model for a 15-year-old?
Jesus said in John 16:33 that “In this life you will have trouble”. The troubles of life will come at us whether we protect ourselves from “The Real World” or not. God will see to it as He brings His purifying fire upon our lives. It makes no sense to me why a parent would think “The Real World” is the place to nurture a kid, though. How could a person who is blinded by the lies of satan, who doesn’t honor Jesus as their Lord, who doesn’t seek after the true Word of God possibly view “The Real World” correctly? Are they not viewing the world through a lens distorted by their own lusts and satan’s lies? They can’t because they don’t have the wisdom of God. Their god is their belly.
“The Real World” doesn’t really live in the real world. They can’t because they’re the ones that are blind.
So when you ask where our kids go to school and you give us “The Look”, we understand. We’ve seen it and heard it all before.