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By Mary Pride
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #72, 2006.

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Mary Pride


Another school year has begun. Fifty million American children are grabbing their backpacks and lining up for the public school bus.

Two to three million are not.

These children are the lucky ones.

They are homeschooled.

Too Good for School

People sometimes ask, “Do you think your kids are too good to go to school with our kids?”

I finally thought up a good response to that question:

“Actually, I think your kids are too good to go to school, and hopefully someday you’ll agree with me!”

Whatever you might think about today’s American public schools (and, increasingly, schools in other parts of the world), they do not fill children with:

  • Love of their country
  • Hope for the future
  • Respect for hard work
  • Admiration for scientists, inventors, engineers, and mathematicians
  • Rejection of materialism
  • Love of others before self
  • Love of God
  • Love of learning

Instead, kids learn in school to be ashamed of America’s past, to fear an ecologically apocalyptic future, to disdain hard workers and “brains,” to worship fads and money, to ignore God, to put themselves first, and to consider education dull and boring.

All kids are too good for this.

Love the Library

Libraries are an often underacknowledged, key to homeschool success.

Although it’s theoretically possible to meet a homeschooled student who hates to read, they are a rare breed.

Homeschoolers who take home sacks full of books from the public library are much more common!

This has led to the stereotype that homeschooled kids have large, Shakespearean vocabularies.

Since a large vocabulary is one of the best predictors of success in business, I’m willing to live with the perception that our homeschooled kids are smart.

And that a lot of them are bookworms.

Since the only downside to being a bookworm is getting called names in school, and hey, guess what, our kids aren’t in school, we’ll just have to settle for those large college scholarships and future career success.

Maybe someone could come up with a bumper sticker: “If there’s a car attached to this, thank my childhood librarian.”

Being Cool

It has occurred to me recently that there are two ways for kids to be “cool.”

One way is to slavishly follow every fad foisted on them by slick Madison Avenue and Hollywood adults, as outlined in David Kupelian’s excellent book, The Marketing of Evil. This way is actually rather precarious, since if you’re one day out of step, you are instantly un-cool.

The other way to be “cool” is to actually excel at something considered cool. This varies among social groups in school. The drama club thinks football is dumb, and the “in” crowd thinks art and drama is geeky. But if you’re really good at something, someone will think you’re cool.

Homeschool kids excel at being good at something. They have lots of time to find their niche and to practice it, and usually endless parental support in doing so. This can range from rock climbing, to playing a musical instrument, to sports, to juggling, to stage magic, to building your own airplane in the back yard (no kidding!), and the list goes on.

Kids who never had the chance to learn any of these “sweet skills” will be secretly impressed by them, providing the homeschooled child expert can manage to be “cool” about it, e.g., low-key and not showing off. So “not showing off” is one social skill our kids would all do well to learn.


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