Home Schooled Students Sometimes Think Like Super-Heroes a Bit Too Much

Don’t worry, I’m not insulting home schooled students, because I had the super-hero mindset until a fateful day twelve years ago. However, where do home schooled students get this “super-hero” mentality where they believe they can do anything and perhaps even do no wrong?

Well, their biggest model is their parents, and their parents were the ones who chose to go against the system and educate their children themselves.  Why wouldn’t these kids think they can do anything!?

In traditional schools, the “superhero” belief gets knocked out of many students through peer mocking and rejections, or teacher feedback; then many students focus in on what they are good at and don’t try doing things they might not be good at. (This saddens me because I like trying new things; sometimes I fail, but the broadening of my mind and life is worth it!)

One element that adds to this mindset, it that home schooled students can have a smaller community to compare themselves to, so it is the phenomena of “Big fish in a small pond.” Once they grow up and see all the people out there that are not like them and that don’t care about them, then the “superhero” mentality gets muted to a healthy level.

From my experience of being a “Big fish in a small pond,” I didn’t have many nay-sayers growing up (I got the opposite: lots of praise from adults), and if I did get a negative response, I just kept going. My superhero mindset received a healthy moderation and dose of reality one November day twelve years ago when I did something I thought I, the wise home schooled student, would NEVER do.

I had hung out with friends the night before, not sleeping as much as usual and my brain showed that; I got caught up on focusing on an open spot along the edge of the parking lot. The lot also had a driveway to the welding/ floral design classrooms and a place where drivers picked up Meals on Wheels (food deliveries for people who are shut in). As I drove into the campus to attend my floral design class, I fixated on that open spot and turned toward it right into a van full of food.

Dazedly I saw my red hood bend up toward me, heard scraping of metal, then the cursing at me started.

That guy was cursing at me!? I had been such a good girl I had never had someone tell me off like that before. It shocked me. This accident introduced me to another side of the adult world.

We exchanged information, and the accident cost me money; however, it taught me that I, too, make mistakes that hurt others.

I, too, can pay for the consequences of my actions and learn from it.

I, too, am part of this imperfect world and don’t have to be perfect to be loved.

As I processed these revelations, I sat under a comforting, leavy tree, crying and then accepting my humanity: I wasn’t a super-hero after all. I was human like everyone else. What a relief.

By M. H. Campbell    Copyright 2014

26 thoughts on “Home Schooled Students Sometimes Think Like Super-Heroes a Bit Too Much

  1. I wasn’t homeschooled myself, but I went to a large public university after graduating from a tiny college: suddenly, I was the small fish in a big pond, and it was humbling. So, the big fish/small pond syndrome isn’t limited to homeschooled students. It can be very helpful for homeschooled high schoolers to take classes at a community college — sort of a wake-up call for my homeschooled kids.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, well said, Sandi. A friend reminded me this morning that I need to be careful not to just generalize and dismiss certain groups–we all are individuals. Like you said, the “Big fish in a small pond” experience can happen to a lot of us.

      Yes, attending the community college was a wake up call and a great experience in many ways. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been public-schooled all my life, but I can relate to part of what you said, about public-schooled students getting a lot more criticism. I was bullied for all three years of middle school. I remember considering asking my parents to homeschool me, but not only did I know it would never work out (they both work full-time and my grandma has lived with us and taken care of me since I was two), I was deathly afraid of change. I was *used* to bullying and didn’t know how I would handle it if it suddenly disappeared from my life. As it turned out, I was eased out of it—into high school. That worked because it was a change I was expecting. High school was the inevitable and had it not been thrust upon me, it would have felt as weird as starting homeschool up. I was also looking forward to it as a new beginning, a place where the students were mature. And that’s exactly what I found there. I was lucky. If I’d been met with more criticism, I don’t know if my self-esteem would have survived. I can’t wish I’d been homeschooled earlier, though. I met some of my favorite teachers there.

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      • It would be if my blog had anything to do with my personal life. My blog isn’t a diary. If it was, I’d go by my real name because everything about me would be open to the whole wide world anyway. My blog is a collection of my literary works and things I want to tell the world, and I’d prefer if people *didn’t* know me for those unfortunate experiences that I have since learned had *nothing to do with who I am*. I’m an astronomer, novelist, equestrian, rock climber, and tons more. But not a victim.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is really well said! Appreciate you sharing this very personal part of your life. You achieved heaps. And I will put you on my list for my daughter. A list I am putting together dor her about rolemodels.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I have questioned my decision to homeschool my kids because of that very thing: certain teachers encouraged me and built up my self-esteem. Overall, I think homeschooling has worked for my kids, but it can help when someone who is not your parent says, “I believe in you.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much Mary for sharing this! It is really interesting to hear your side.
    As I’ve told you in an email, we try to get our kids “out there” as much as possible. Mainly to avoid to a certain extend that they hit a wall.
    They do heaps of group activities and all of them with kids who go to school. For a while I was trying to find a homeschooling group, but then decided against it. I wanted my kids to be around kids who go to school. We wanted them to have the exchange with kids, who do the “regular” school. And so far it works well…

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  4. That’s so interesting. I was homeschooled all the way through college and I had both a similar and opposite problem. I DID think I needed to be perfect to be loved but I DIDN’T think I was superior to anyone else. It took me a long time to accept that there are some things I actually have talent in some areas and can also not have talent in something and still have fun with it (going back to the having to be perfect thing).

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    • Kaya, (I’m assuming that’s your name!)
      Thank you so much for reading and responding!! I enjoy hearing your response and experiences with home schooling all the way through college (what did you study? I studied writing and then education).
      So the educational perfectionism isn’t just me…we had different versions of it… I’m so glad we are both processing it and learning that we are loved no matter what we do.
      Thanks for stopping by! I’m going to head over to your blog right now. 🙂

      -Mary

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      • I studied biology and psychology then occupational therapy. It’s that darn fear of failure that I try to notice so it doesn’t hold me back from opportunities. I could be perfect… At sitting on the couch. But I’d rather make mistakes and live a little (most of the time I’d rather do that anyway :D)

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  5. Pingback: Blast From The Past – Homeschooling And The Life Out There | A Momma's View

  6. Pingback: Homeschooling And The Life Out There | A Momma's View

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