Different is not wrong.
Before coming to JBU, I was part of a large community of homeschoolers. My mom was the leader of a major homeschool group in Northwest Arkansas. My first boyfriend was homeschooled (and three of the four to follow). My youth group was made up of a large number of homeschoolers. Almost all of my friends were homeschooled.
JBU was my first classroom setting. It was my first time to use a Mac computer, to have a hard deadline, and to get more than my parents’ feedback on my writing. I will be even more transparent: I was spoiled and did not have to write one single research paper in high school.
Some students want to hide the fact that they had a far different education experience than the majority, but I do not think that being homeschooled is ever something someone should have to hide or be judged for.
I am pretty sure that when people who went to “real school” find out I was homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade, they have visions of denim dresses, large families, and firearms running through their minds.
I’m always curious to know where these “public-schoolers” met these people since homeschoolers are supposedly so anti-society. I guess even anti-social freaks shop at WalMart.
After that first reaction, they start asking questions. Typically say one of three things: “You don’t seem like a homeschooler,” “did you wear pajamas to class?” or “will you homeschool your own kids?” The last one seems to be the best way for people to gauge my unique upbringing.
The answer is most assuredly, yes.
It is because homeschooling made me a fighter. It made me unique. It protected me from growing up too quickly. It gave me an opportunity to bond with my parents and siblings. It taught me to rethink “typical.” It gave me chances to have a life outside of school. It made me rebellious.
I’m sure I live up to several of the stereotypes, but it was worth it.
God used the way my parents educated me to mold me into who I am today.
I would never say that homeschooling is the only or best way, but it certainly is an option that many overlook because they only see the stereotype.
The reason I write this is not to suggest that the JBU community is oppressing homeschoolers. I also do not want people to think that I am writing an advertisement for how great JBU has been to homeschoolers.
I think that this campus, like most of the world, needs to remember that God has made variety among His people. We are not to be all the same. In the same way that we need to check ourselves so that we do not become a racist generation, we are also to be careful not to judge those who do things differently from the way we would.
God calls his children to do things that many would not understand. God has a unique role for all of his people. It looks different in every person, yet we as believers still struggle with the desire to make everyone the same.
My prayer is that JBU would be an example for the world of what true community looks like.
It looks like variety.
It looks like diversity.
It looks like a bunch of homeschool freaks mixed in with the rest of the freaks.
Different is not wrong. Different is just different.