Category Archives: Childhood

Homeschooled…Not Shy

Twice today, someone stared at me and said something along the lines of, “You aren’t very shy, are you?”

And twice today, I opened my mouth to deny it but ended up saying, “No, I’m not.” 

The questioners didn’t probe further but if they had, I would have answered, 

“I’m not shy. You see, I was homeschooled.” 

Although homeschooling has become more mainstream, a definite stereotype exists about homeschoolers. And as far as I know, “not shy” is not one of them. (Unless you count socially awkward as not shy?) But really, I owe a great deal of my “non-shyness” to the fact that I was homeschooled. Here are 3 ways homeschooling made me a confident adult:

  1. No peer pressure. From a young age, I learned to like myself for who I was. There was no one to tell me different. Oh, sure, sometimes I felt quirky when around other kids my age. But I also made friends who shared the same interests and values as me, most of them homeschooled too. I think a huge reason I’m “not shy” is that I’m simply confident in who I am, and that is in great part thanks to the early lesson I had in being me. You don’t like me? Your loss! I like me
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  2. Friends of all ages. When you don’t spend X number of hours a day with kids the same age as you, you don’t get the false idea that friends must be the same age as you. Old(er) people are your friends. Younger people are your friends. Your siblings are your friends. Your neighbors are your friends. Incidentally, this is one reason I think the “socialization” question is silly. You don’t stop being around people when you are homeschooled. You just get more opportunities to be around different types of people.
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  3. Learning to deal with people early on. When you’re homeschooled, everyone has an opinion about your parents’ manner of raising you. Some people are more vocal about it than others. And those people can be very vocal. As far as I know, people don’t feel the need to ask public school kids if they have friends or if they use books. Yet I bet almost any homeschooler has gotten some variety of both those questions…and countless more. So you know what homeschooling taught me? How to deal with rude, well-intended questions. It gives you thick skin. And if you gain that early on, it becomes part of your personality and very little in life can intimidate you. Certainly not strangers. 

I realize this wasn’t everyone’s homeschooling experience. It looks different for every person. But for me, these three reasons represent some of the countless ways I’m grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to educate me at home. I can be “not shy.” I can be me. 

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It Takes Two

“We’re watching It Takes Two,” said my housemates, all 8 crowded in the living room together. 

It sounded vaguely familiar – maybe a popular chick flick? – so I flopped down to join them. And then the movie began and my childhood came rushing back. 

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The movie was one long déjà vu. It also reminded me of a favorite series of mine growing up: 

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Their dog made the most lasting impression on me. Good times. 


Happy Birthday, Anna!

I know a girl/Whose full of grace/she’s got red hair/and a happy face

Her name is Anna/she loves bananas/someday we know/she’ll be in a drama!

She’s our lima bean/but as you can see/she is Anna Keen! Dunt dunt duh! 

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Y’all, I officially have the coolest 21-year-old sister on the planet. I can’t imagine life without her.

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Anna, I hope you have a spectacular day and a wonderful year. Let’s drink responsibility when I get home! 


Parental Programming

My siblings and I have long been firm believers in the theory that if a parent walks in the room, whatever you are watching on the TV will suddenly take a turn for the worse. As children watching PBS programming, we would enjoy a show for weeks without the slightest qualms, but the moment our Mom watched the show with us, there would be an episode full of dark magic and death. She would then ban us from watching the show, and we would feel justifiably wronged. 

As we have gotten older, this problem has persisted. Perfectly clean movies will suddenly get sketchy when Mom comes home. It doesn’t matter if we are watching DramaFever, Netflix, or a movie from the library. Something gets inappropriate the minute she walks in. 

Last night my sisters and I started a new Korean drama while my Mom was out. Bethany insisted that we watch only until Mom got home, because the minute she entered the house it would get weird. I laughed at her superstition. She grew more frantic. The drama was upbeat, bubbly, and extremely funny. I told her there was no reason to worry. Our Mom came home and walked in the room…and out of NOWHERE a creepy, evil guy kidnaps a girl and chains her to a bed in his basement. I kid you not. 

Murphy’s Law isn’t quite the phrase for this, but there must be one like it. Something like, The Parental Programming Law: no matter what you are watching, it will get inappropriate the minute your parent walks in the room. 


Sibling’s Day!

Many years ago, my 4 siblings and I came to a hard realization: there were no holidays between August and Christmas. (Apparently we forgot about Thanksgiving and my Mom’s birthday…but neither of those events involved us getting presents, so it is excusable.) To remedy this, we decided to celebrate a Sibling’s Day on October 10th and give presents to one another. 

Now, Sibling’s Day is an actual holiday on April 10th, but we didn’t know it at the time and I don’t think it would have altered our purpose any if we had. We needed something to celebrate between Elijah’s birthday and Christmas. So Sibling’s Day was created! 

It has been over a decade since we first started exchanging gifts, but it is a tradition we still hold to. This year we have the joy of adding a sibling…our new sister-in-law Amber!  Though busy schedules means we can’t always be together on this day, October 10th remains a wonderful reminder of how fortunate I am to have such great brothers and sisters. I love you all! (And I can’t wait to exchange presents! 😉 ) 


Never Forget: Remembering 9/11/01

I’ve never tried re-blogging something before, so we’ll see how this goes.
This is the first year freshmen in high school are learning about 9/11 as a historical event, not something they lived through. 5 years ago today, two friends and I sat down and tried to express our memories of 9/11. We were young (both when it happened and when we wrote this.) However, the echo of that day shaped who we were and who we became. I want to keep alive a little bit of our memories if only to make sure I don’t forget. 

Out of the Air

They say you will never forget where you were on September 11, 2001. The date will go down in history as a tragedy to rank alongside the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the sinking of the Lusitania, or, most comparably, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Events and tragedies that shook our nation and forever changed the way we look at our world.

That is what this day means to us.

AMY – I was doing math when Mom came running down the basement stairs on the phone. I even remember the table I was sitting at. She turned on the TV, flipped through the channels. Arthur was on. I wanted to watch Arthur. Instead we watched the news, as the image of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers played over and over again.

I didn’t know what the World Trade Centers were. I certainly was too young to…

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A Few Favorite Authors

Here is a very non-exhaustive list of some of my favorite authors (because whether you knew it or not you wanted to know): 

  1. C.S. Lewis
  2. Georgette Heyer
  3. Elizabeth George Speare 
  4. Helene Hanff
  5. Elizabeth Marie Pope
  6. Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  7. Robin McKinley
  8. Emmuska Orczy 
  9. Theodore Dalrymple
  10. Gail Carson Levine
  11. Christopher Yuan
  12. Peter Greer
  13. Gerald Morris
  14. Elizabeth Peters
  15. Franklin W. Dixon 
  16. Dorothy L. Sayers
  17. Jaclyn Moriarty
  18. Arthur Brooks
  19. Megan Whalen Turner