Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Byproduct of Public School

As I noted before, the idea of a person being a "product of the public school system" is one that makes me shudder. I attended 9 years of public school (plus 1 year of private school, and two years unschooling), but have never considered myself a product of the school sytem. Perhaps, though, I am a byproduct of public school.

A member of my statewide discussion list, VaEclecticHS, noted that in school she became "tired of being the weird one," and she tried "very hard to 'look stupid'" in order to avoid complete alienation, so she could have some friends.

She was not alone. I did the same thing, to some degree. In one high school class, the teacher offered a dollar to whomever won the pop quiz of the day--which consisted of questions regarding any number of subjects. It was sort of like a simple version of Jeopardy. I usually won the buck, but quickly realized that I could not keep winning without being not just unpopular (which I didn't really care about), but becoming a target for aggressive acts. This is an example of "learning outside the curriculum."

Another thought expressed during the same discussion was that, in school, it is "near impossible to be accepted...and do what is right for yourself." In my experience, that seems true. While I was in school, I walked on that edge many times. Fortunately, for the most part, I did what was right for myself, even though it meant withstanding disapproval from teachers, administrators, and fellow students.

I am consistently drawn to people who are authentic. They somehow tend to also be the more colorful, more outspoken, more odd, more peculiar. The wierd ones. I love the weird ones, the people who refuse to pretend they are "stupid" or act like anything else they are not. Thank goodness for homeschooling, as it allows us all to be ourselves, in our own unique, weird ways. I am proud to be one of the Official Weirdos.

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