Monday, June 11, 2007

Special Challenges

You want to hear something funny? I noticed this comment on the "Homeschooling Alumni" website:

"I have finally embraced my identity as a home school graduate, along with all of the special challenges and opportunities that background has created. I was encouraged just to know that I have a community of fellow alumni..."

That’s not the funny part.

The funny part is this: it wasn't until just now that I realized I had special challenges.

Once the terrible truth sunk in I immediately began to investigate the challenges of dealing with special needs persons such as myself in order to determine how best to advise each of you to treat me from here on out. I found an excellent text on a related topic at, so I took the liberty of editing it for our purposes.

What can be more frustrating than harsh realities are subtle realities for homeschoolers and ex-homeschoolers. Living as an ex-homeschooler is difficult but can sting even more when people encountered are:



Impatient people try to rush ex-homeschoolers through life. A man who was behind me in the grocery line one day tried to unload my cart for me. The gesture would have been welcome if it had been rooted in kindness, but it was obvious I was too homeschooled for him in this fast-paced world we live in.

Inconsiderate people can be found using handicapped bathroom stalls and parking spots, facilities specifically designated for people with disabilities and homeschoolers. Inconsiderate people do not hold doors open, a simple action that can make things much easier for a homeschooler in hoop skirts or petticoats on her way to harpsichord lessons.

Rude and insensitive people are often found staring at homeschoolers during school hours. They seem to not like what they see, or imagine themselves in the role of the little homeschooler. It creates an uncomfortable situation unless you either ignore the person who is staring or scream until they leave.

Demanding people and those who lack understanding about the realities of your homeschooled life can also be provoking. A friend of mine had a surgical procedure which restricted her ability to milk a cow for a period of time. My friend's mother called to tell her she needed to go milk that big 'ol cow before it kicked over a lantern or something, disregarding the restrictions that were given to my friend. She had to tell her mother she couldn't help her. Needless to say: Chicago burned - all because of a homeschooler.

Pessimistic people can annoy and be hurtful. Pessimistic people focus on the negative aspects of homeschooling instead of trying to build up, encourage, and praise the accomplishments of homeschooleys. Pessimistic or negative people don't want to learn about the realities of pretending not to be a homeschooler. They have preconceived ideas and often treat little homeschoolitos as if they are faking or lazy. Even worse, negative people sometimes treat homeschoolers as if they have no abilities at all - even when they demonstrate excellence in life-critical skills such as chess and spelling.

Unhelpful people are yet another category of people who can annoy and frustrate homeschooled people. For able-bodied people, most tasks are effortless. The same task for a homeschooler is perhaps an impossibility. Changing lightbulbs or air conditioner filters, scrubbing showers, getting a large load of groceries - it's just part of daily living. Who does it for the homeschooled person, since they don't have electricity or cars?

What you can control, whether you are able-bodied or homeschooled is: yourself. All humans face challenges, it's just that puny homeschoolers face different challenges. You will not rid the world of impatient, rude, insensitive people, but you can control how you react to them.

Impatient people cause you to be more patient. Insensitive people cause you to be more sensitive. Negative people cause you to react with positivity.

For each negative person you encounter, you have many more positive encounters. Surround yourself with people, things, and experiences which make you feel good and do good. Do you deserve less than that (even as a nerdy homeschooler)?

In summary if you are impatient, rude, insensitive, inconsiderate, pessimistic, or unhelpful to me in any way - you can stop that anytime. Go on and give it up.

After all, I have special challenges.

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