Homeschooling Teen

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Honest Advice with Sugar and Spice

NEW COLUMN! By Olyvea and Ethan

Hi, my name is Olyvea Pancerella and I’m with my best friend, Ethan Faulkes. We would like to give you advice on some of the questions every teenager has asked themselves.

I will be giving the female perspective and Ethan will be providing male insight. We will also be taking questions, so if there is anything you would like some advice on feel free to email us at polyvea@gmail.com. For our first post we are writing on the top ways homeschoolers are put under a microscope and how to deal with it.

I think we can all agree people like to exam homeschoolers to make sure they are up to “Social standards”. Whether it’s academically, socially, or however else they think we are abnormal. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had experiences like these:

That question “Do you have friends?”

Olyvea,

I have gotten this quite a bit and I am almost always offended by it, but through the years I’ve learned it’s best to pretend you don’t even notice how patronizing it is. I mean no one asks public school kids that. Just because I’m homeschooled doesn’t mean I live under a rock, but I digress. When people ask a question like this I have found it’s best to say something like, “I have plenty of friends, I just have to look for them harder than most kids.” If you say it nonchalantly enough they will usually leave you alone.

Ethan,

I agree with you to a point. Through my earlier school career my parents took the more organic approach to homeschooling, so we traveled a lot. For example, to learn about the civil war we went to Gettysburg. Because of this I really didn’t have many friends. I have met people from all over the country and keep in email contact with most of them, but I don’t have one close group of friends. Instead, I have a lot of acquaintances. To me, it’s worth the trade-off; therefore, I fully believe it is perfectly OK to say that having a lot of friends is not the most important thing to you.

Feeling like you have something to prove.

Olyvea,

I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem. I remember when I was in elementary school, and people would find out I was homeschooled they would immediately start quizzing me. I don’t get quizzed now that I’m older, but I still sometimes feel like I need to make sure I am ahead academically of my friends or else I’ll be giving into a homeschool stereotype. Although, I still struggle with this I think the best way to handle it is to try to remember to never compare yourself and it’s not your problem to try to live up to what other people consider adequate.

Ethan,

I disagree. I think brushing it off isn’t for everyone. If it’s channeled the right way negative feelings can be a good motivator for bettering yourself.

I also had random quizzing sessions when I told adults I was homeschooled. I would always freeze up when this happened and after a while I started to feel like a failure. I’ve found that the best thing to do is turn that feeling into something positive. I took something negative, such as not feeling good enough, and I’ve made sure it’s just another thing to keep me motivated when school gets tough. As I’ve gotten older I don’t feel like a failure anymore because I know I’ve surpassed their expectations for me.

People asking “Wouldn’t you rather go to real school?”

Olyvea,

I would like to point out what a ridiculous question this is. Mainly, because if I wanted to be in what you call “Real school” I would be. It seems to make some people very uncomfortable when you are doing something different from the way they do. The best response to this is a plain and simple “No.”

Ethan,

On this one I could not agree with you more. I hate it when people ask that and even when you say “No” they start saying all the reasons they think public school is great. More friends, prom, sports, etc. The one thing I always think is how absolutely shallow their reasoning is for why I need public school. If we are being completely honest, I usually can’t help telling them that those are very shallow reasons, but just saying “No.” is probably better.

Best regards,

Olyvea and Ethan.

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Olyvea Pancerella and Ethan Faulkes are both 16 and both going into 11th grade. Olyvea has been homeschooled since first grade and Ethan has been homeschooled since third grade. They will answer questions on homeschooling, dating, and life in general. Olyvea says, “One of the most unique things we can contribute is male and female perspectives.” Send your questions to them at: polyvea@gmail.com

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