Of all the millions of times I’ve answered questions about being homeschooled, there are somethings I just haven’t said. Some things are only for other insiders, people who understand and won’t judge. Some things you try to ignore or forget. And some feelings you just want to bury deep and never let loose. But eventually, you have to let go and let your experiences help others.
First of all, I want to confirm that homeschooling really has been a blessing to me in so many ways. I can see its benefits in my relationship with God, my relationship with my family, my education, my social life, and my independent thinking, just to name a few. Homeschooling’s truly allowed me in particular to blossom in ways I don’t believe I would have without it. Of course, one thing about this form of education is that every homeschooler is different and uses different methods, so it’s impossible to say that one experience matches all.
That being said, my particular homeschool experience wasn’t all lilies and roses. The one thing I rarely discuss is all the insecurities I had to deal with. When people ask me what’s the worst thing about homeschooling, what I really want to say is that it’s often the people who aren’t homeschooled who make it difficult. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me thoughtless questions, like “Oh you poor thing, how do you make friends?” or “You must hate it, don’t you?” or “Have you ever wanted to be a normal child?” or just, “What’s wrong with you?” People suggest all the time that I’ll never do well in life, I’ll never make any friends, I’ll never fit in, or that my parents are crazy and are cheating me out of basically everything good in the world.
Even when I was only 8 years old, I would get remarks like these from my friends, relatives, and adults I looked up to. Although I’m sure no one meant any harm by asking understandable questions or expressing their opinion about how they raise their own kids (sometimes very passionately), I began to feel unsecure from an early age. Maybe they were right. Maybe there was something wrong with my friendships since they weren’t made in a public school building. Maybe I really wouldn’t succeed in life because of my innocence or uncompromising views. Maybe mom and dad were wrong.
Over the years, these tender childhood fears only escalated. I began to think of myself less and less because I was different. By the time I was in middle school, I secretly felt that everyone I met was judging me. I was especially insecure around kids who went to public school. Because of numerous bad experiences, I expected them all to share the same feelings about me. Even though I really liked being homeschooled, I wanted to go to public school just because I thought it would make me normal. But of course, I didn’t let anyone see it because it might add to people’s bad opinion of homeschooling.
It wasn’t until high school when I realized how low I really was. I realized how stupid it was to measure myself by what other people thought made me right or “normal.” As I looked at my life, I began to really appreciate the difference in my lifestyle. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided that I wouldn’t let other’s opinions shape what I thought of myself.
This was much easier said than done. Undoing a mindset of 7 years hasn’t happened in an instant. Every day, I struggle to find my own identity outside of the one often unknowingly thrust on me. People still ask weird or thoughtless questions or use a tone that brushes me the wrong way. Are they right? Am I the unsocial, naive, booky gal they think I am or should be? It takes a lot of prayer not to give in to their pressure.
I wanted to share this because I know that there are other homeschoolers who have been in the same situation. And there are people all over the world who are secretly struggling with insecurity in general. No one is alone. And no one can overcome it alone. Christ has come that we can have life, and have it more abundantly. How can we be content and joyful and trusting in God if we allow other people’s opinions to control us? How can we walk in our purpose if we haven’t come to terms with who we are? I am so, so, so thankful for how far Christ has brought me and the acceptance I’ve found in him.
What are some experiences or testimonies you have about being insecure? What have you experienced as a homeschooler? Please share by pressing the comment button to encourage others.