My metacognition (thinking about my thinking processes) about home school starts with enjoyment and leads to a superiority complex that has been humbled and disbanded over the last few years. I enjoyed learning at home with my parents and my siblings! I thought I had the best deal during my whole home-school experience. I got to stay home, learn about geography with my siblings, read books I loved, and paint as many pictures as I wanted?! This is a good life. (Not until after I finished college was I willing to look into the negative aspects of being home-schooled).
One negative aspect of home schooling I’m not sure where I picked up, but I did, was having a superiority complex because of being home educated. I thought I was better than those poor kids who had to go to public school. My aunt taught at a public middle school, so I did get to see inside the building; I never saw it in action until I was in my teacher-training in my twenties. If I had visited public school while a junior high or high school student, I might have liked it, but I had this bias that held a wall between me and public school, until I attended a community college and loved it.
How can one fight this “home-schooled superiority complex”? One way would be to encourage your students to take band or join sports teams at the local public school or community college. Exposure to those “other” people breaks down the wall. As parents, don’t put down public schools; you may not agree with them, but you don’t need to be negative about them. My Dad attended public school and hated it (he would rather be fixing cars or driving a tractor), and my Mom attended private school and loved it (she went on and earned two Masters degrees!). My Dad’s influence did infiltrate my thinking more than my Mom’s thinking.
Because my parents chose to have us live out in the country, we were isolated from kids who attended the local public school. We went once to a high school play and once to an eighth grade graduation there; I thought it seemed interesting, but I didn’t want to attend there. A couple years ago, some of that old bias was still lurking in my thinking and came out in an unexpected way: I interviewed to teach at that high school, and I made some comments I should have kept to myself (about encouraging students to go explore the world–implying that they should leave living in the country), and not attending there did not help my standing. I did not get the job, but it uncovered my bad attitude toward that place, which I now have changed, and realize that the school is doing the best it can to serve the country students.
I did not get taught by my parents to think I was better, but I chose to think that way for a while. That kind of thinking was rooted in pride (I thought I was better) and fear (I was afraid of the unknown). Now that I’ve worked in public and private schools, I’ve been humbled because I see why larger schools exist. I see that these public institutions can do some parts of education better than home schools. Working in schools has balanced me out, so that I enjoy my memories and reflections on being home schooled, and I’m a fan of home schooling, but I appreciate all the learning that comes out of public schools!
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014