I was homeschooled from 6th grade onward, and I’m 20 and in college now.
My mom didn’t want me exposed to the behavior in public schools. It wasn’t religion – we’re a decidedly non-Christian family – but she felt that kids didn’t stay innocent for long enough. And when she was in high school, there was a ton of gang activity, and girls getting stabbed in the bathrooms on a regular basis. When we moved to NVa, where she had grown up, I would have been going to the same high school had she let me go; I’ve heard from people around the area that at that particular school, they arrest you if you breathe wrong.
For a long time, we lived in a small town, and the only homeschool support group was Christian. I didn’t have anything in common with the other kids, who all went to church together, and I’m pretty sure that my mom got nagged to join a church. When we moved here (northern VA) we didn’t fit with any of the groups here, either. Misfits among misfits, I guess you’d say. We never had the money to spare for things like martial arts or dance lessons, so I didn’t get any social contact there. I was in a bowling league from 13-16, but I didn’t get a whole lot of socializing myself… I had a short-lived friendship and a dysfunctional boyfriend, but that’s about it. Since I was 13, I’ve gotten most of my social contact on the internet. Making friends just isn’t something natural for me, and I’m still very lonely.
For the educational part, my mom ordered distance-education courses – the material was sent to the house and I mailed off my assignments. By 9th grade, I was miserable and hated being completely on my own. I wound up getting a GED because I just couldn’t get the work done. The only reason I enrolled in the local community college was because I needed both hands to count the number of people who were nagging me to do it. Sure, I enjoy going to class now, but now I’m kind of the exact opposite of what I used to be… I stress myself sick over getting everything done and getting it done perfectly.
I feel I’ve missed out on developing my identity. It’s been in the past two years that I’ve started to think of myself as separate from what my mother wants, and it was a rather painful process. It’s been /very/ recently that I’ve stopped being a mommy’s girl. I still live at home 'cause I’m attending a community college, but transferring to a university in the fall (and really hoping I get housing). Living at home has made it difficult, until recently (talking within the past few months here), to see myself as “RFBlues, Whoever That May Turn Out to Be,” rather than, “RFBMom’s Little Girl.” I am still waiting for the day I know myself, and still dealing with the residue of arrogance… I told myself I was better than everyone else because I was different, to help me deal with the solitude.
Which isn’t to say that homeschooling would be a bad choice for everyone. And I’m not sorry, much, because I got the perspective on college that I have now. I just feel like I’m a long way from knowing who I am and how I fit into anything, and I still have lingering feelings of isolation.